I would never insult a dog like this.
This week we talk to two free-thinkers. One is from the UK and the other from the USA and both are trying hard not to be defined by the religion they were born into and have subsequently rejected. Shire Network News senior religious affairs correspondent Tom Paine speaks to two ex-Muslims - Sheila (not her real name for reasons which are probably obvious) who lives in the United States, and Adil Zeshan from the United Kingdom. They talk about why they left, and why the fear the reaction from their former compatriots.
Download the podcast here.
My experience is significantly different, in two ways, than the paths taken by Sheila and Adil Zeshan.
1. I wasn't very religious before leaving Islam. I only prayed when my relatives dragged me to the mosque on either Friday or Eid. I have never fasted. I've enjoyed listening to music since 1988. I don't hate dogs. And so on.
I convinced myself that all these things weren't important because on Judgment Day such rituals won't make a difference. In fact, I thought that most of the tiny Islamic regulations were asinine. Things like: men not allowed to wear gold, divorcing a woman by uttering a few words, the ban on photography, interest being forbidden, gender apartheid...all of it just didn't make any rational or moral sense.
So, I simply neglected almost all of the rules. The crucial synapse didn't click till my late teenage years when I asked: Why do I call myself a Muslim?
2. I have visited a Muslim-majority nation after 9/11. Saudi Arabia, to be precise. There, in December 2001, I was saturated with hatred and loathing for the US. In my dad's workplace, everyone celebrated the news of 9/11 as if the Saudis had won the soccer world cup. Everyone except one Arab. This Saudi was sad because the Twin Towers didn't fall sideways which would have caused more death and carnage.
Here was an event where thousands were instantly obliterated and numerous families were fractured forever. The overall reaction from the center of the Muslim world? Pure, unadulterated joy. I knew then that these Muslims will not genuinely oppose the future atrocities committed by Islamists -- for why would they stand against the evil that brings them so much pleasure?
By January 2002, the final synapse had clicked.
There's another critical factor which comes into play: Proximity to Muslims. I went to an American high school in my mid-teens and later to a Canadian university. I was surrounded by infidels and I liked it! I wasn't close to my family before but then the connection thinned even more. Upon leaving Islam I didn't have to worry about being cast as an untouchable by both family (they don't know) and society (Canadians don't care about my religious views).
However, many unlucky ones who reside in the Muslim world have to live a dual life. One can imagine that such apostates still go to the mosque and listen to ridiculous sermons. They continue to praise the wretched life of Muhammad as the pinnacle of perfection. They sing the praises of the black hole called sharia while personally finding it abominable. Their minds had imploded on fully realizing the sham of Islam but publicly they don't, nay, they can't share their "impure" thoughts. For in doing so, they would lose their entire support structure -- family, friends, society -- and possibly their life.
For this reason it's important for ex-Muslims in the free world to share their experience and act as shards of light for Westerners who don't have the visceral feel for the evil at the heart of Islam.
It's the least we can do.
I wrote two year ago:
Whether the concerned societies like or dislike the burqa is not the issue. Do think about it. If the Muslim population in a Western country is 10%, then (assuming all the Muslim women cover themselves) around 5% of the country wouldn't show its face in public. That would be a security issue.
The countries which are not banning the burqa are in the wrong, not vice versa. Security in the Western world is more important than the oh-so-tender feelings of the Muslims.
Police are investigating an unusual robbery in Hiddenite. Someone dressed in a burgundy burka walked into the People’s Bank at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, showed the teller a handgun and demanded money.
The cops can't even tell if it was a he or a she.
It's quite simple: a face-covering is a security nightmare. Sensible nations and sensible businesses (schools and banks) should have a policy against this.
Click here for The Burqa Heist I: The Phantom Menace.
I would add commentary but I am too busy being appalled.
The leader of the Autobots grants an interview.
QUESTION: Where did the Optimus voice come from?
CULLLEN: I was actually impersonating my brother Larry. He had served in the Marine Corps. in Vietnam. A Purple Heart recipient, as well as the Bronze Star. And when he came home, there had been a significant change in him. His voice was the first thing that I noticed and so I quickly began impersonating that. And he would says things like [in perfect Optimus Prime], I think you're going a little far with that, Peter!
I can see and hear that.
Western Europe's highest mountain Mont Blanc is taller than ever due to snow piled atop its summit, in what experts meeting in France described as a climate-change related phenomenon.
The volume of ice on Mont Blanc's slopes over 4,800 metres high was first calculated at 14,600 cubic metres in 2003.
It dropped to 14,300 cubic metres two years later, but then almost doubled to 24,100 cubic metres in 2007.
I blame global warming. Er, wait...
I've been getting a lot of visits from Google today.
Searching for "Prophet Mohammed" brings up 33,900 results on Google Images. My blog shows up in the very first page.
I feel so special.
Searching for "Muhammed" brings up 305,000 results.
My blog shows up as the first link! Damn.
What a sweet photo. It makes one hate the Iranian regime even more.
Tarek Heggy: If I were a Shi'ite from Saudi Arabia.
If I were a Shi'ite from Saudi Arabia, I would make a huge commotion in the world, because the government spends millions of dollars on building thousands of mosques throughout the kingdom, but the Saudi government has not shared [in the costs] of building a single Shi'ite mosque or a single Husainiya since the establishment of the state. In addition, the Shi'ites are prevented from building their mosques and Husainiyas with their own funds, and they are punished for practicing their religious rituals - even though all the country's oil resources are pumped from their regions.
This is true for all non-Wahabbi religious affiliation. One cannot build a church, Hindu mandir or a synagogue in Saudi Arabia.
If I were a Shi'ite from Saudi Arabia, I would publish articles, one after another, about how the [Saudi] media ignores matters [concerning me] and my religious holidays - as if I and the Shi'ites did not exist in Saudi Arabia.
Many Christians, from Western nations, work in the oil industry in Saudi Arabia. Some years ago, Saudi Aramco gave them time off for Christmas which caused volcanic eruptions from the religious fanatics, so much so that Aramco reversed its decision. In its place, Aramco gave an extra week off for vacation to Western workers...which they largely utilized for Christmas.
It's not just religious events. Here's the Saudi position on Valentine's Day:
Each year shortly before Feb. 14, the country's religious police mobilize, heading out to hunt for — and confiscate — red roses, red teddy bears and any signs of a heart. In a country where Valentine's Day is banned, ordinary Saudis find they must skirt the law to spoil their sweetheart.
Back to Tarek Heggy:
If I were a Shi'ite from Saudi Arabia, I would make my voice heard in the world, because since the kingdom's establishment to the present day, there has been no Shi'ite minister appointed in the country - and, as of this writing, they [i.e the Shi'ites] are barred from working in the Foreign Ministry, the army, the armed forces, and the National Guard.
The Saudis employ millions of foreign workers, many of whom are Third Country Nationals (TCNs). These men and women come from mostly Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and numerous African nations. Many spend more than a decade in the country. Yet, jobs in the government are not open to them. They are paid 33-50% of the wages for the same work done by an Arab. The Saudi legal system is stacked against them. As Human Rights Watch puts it, "[...] migrant workers in the purportedly modern society that the kingdom has become continue to suffer extreme forms of labor exploitation that sometimes rise to slavery-like conditions."
Furthermore, these laborers are barred from buying property. They have to rent their living space. Saudi landlords have no qualms about raising the rent prices by 20% or more after a year which often causes these workers to move to a new place numerous times during their stay in the kingdom.
The vast majority of such workers are Muslim. When the Saudis treat their own "brothers" in such a lovely manner, it's hard to imagine what their behavior would be like to the much loathed kafir.
David Thompson comments on the dialogue fetish of syrupy Islamists.
The “dialogue” Ramadan forever alludes to, somewhat vaguely, is by implication a dialogue on strictly Islamic terms – which is to say, on terms that are censorious, often circular and profoundly unrealistic. In this, Ramadan is far from alone. I’ve lost count of how many people seem to imagine that it’s somehow possible to challenge jihadist ideology and related horrors without mentioning Muhammad’s rather central role in the origination, sanctioning and perpetuation of those horrors, and without offending an apparently endless menu of other ‘sensitivities’. But if one cannot – dare not – draw attention to the link between sacralised atrocity and the exhortations of Islam’s founder, then what kind of dialogue is likely to be had?
The one where you parrot the glories of Islam. Any other dialogue would be, of course, racist and Islamophobic.
We are cool:
It’s quite simple actually, if you believe any of these are true, yup, sorry to be the bearer of “bad” news but…
you might be an Infidel.
[Update: Warning: A reader gets a spyware alert from the following link.]
Ahem, I've already made my choice.
Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Iranian president and current Chairman of the Assembly of Experts, said Friday that Hitler’s treatment of Jewish people in Europe was due in part to their being “a pain in the neck.”
Plus, they wear those silly hat things. It's damn annoying!
Link via Snoopy.
Hunh: Top ten gadgets every designer SHOULD live without.
Really, what's wrong with the beverage bag?
[...] we are bombarded incessantly with propaganda about how highly Islam esteems the rights of women. No doubt it's intended to counteract the innumerable real-world citations of Islamic subjugation of women. The Qur'an and Sunnah make it plain that women are to be subordinate and subservient to men, are not to be permitted freedom of action or travel, may be beaten by their husbands for "disobedience," have no rights over the marital bond, and may not be relied upon as witnesses. The rationale? "Women are weak by nature."
Perhaps one must be weak-minded to marry a Muslim man. Judging from the non-performance of their civilizations, the weak-minded are certainly well represented within Islam.
The Curmudgeon Emeritus is so mean. And honest.
The greatest of all caturdays.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," co-host Chris Cuomo and media critic Howard Kurtz ignored the role that liberal bias has played in the decline of ratings for the network evening newscasts. At the same time, Cuomo and Washington Post reporter seemed to be proud of the media's ability to turn Americans against the war in Iraq. Kurtz, who has written a book on the subject, asserted, "I believe that these newscasts in 2005 and 2006 played the biggest single role in helping to turn public opinion against the war."
He enthused, "It's easy to say, 'Oh, well. The war was unpopular. People were looking for the unpopularity of it. At some point, the networks gave that to them.' But you have a more penetrating look at it. You take a look at it in terms of the role of the nightly newscasts in shaping the ideas about the news..." According to Kurtz, the top three network anchors kept "framing the story in such a way" that the bad news finally had an impact.
Osama couldn't have asked for a better media.
Samuel G. Freedman reviews The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.
In their original-sin perspective, there has been no tangled spiral of causes and effects; only Israel's actions and policies have destabilized the Middle East. Palestinian terrorism is the response of an occupied, outgunned people; from the Munich Olympics massacre to the suicide bombing in 2002 at a seder in Netanya, the attacks that traumatized Israel's populace and many moderate-to-liberal American Jews and drove their politics to the right are barely mentioned. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's vow to "wipe Israel off the map" was mistranslated, according to Mearsheimer and Walt. The Israeli offer of land for peace at Camp David was only "purportedly generous."
The logical outgrowth of such dismissiveness appears in this rather chilling section toward the book's end: "Although we believe that America should support Israel's existence, Israel's security is ultimately not of critical strategic importance to the United States. In the event that Israel was conquered . . . neither America's territorial integrity, its military power, its economic prestige, nor its core political values would be jeopardized. By contrast, if oil exports from the Persian Gulf were significantly reduced, the effects on America's well-being would be profound."
Think about it. Most of the world sells blood for oil by ignoring the atrocities committed on Israel by Arabs and their regimes. These authors are advocating that we ought to go down the same immoral path.
Victor Davis Hanson visited Iraq recently. In Part II, he writes:
In every Iraqi conversation Sunni/Shiite divides came up. But on the American side, Mexican-American, African-American, Asian-American, so-called white, as well as religious differences mean nothing. In this regard our military does a far better job with “diversity” than does the hot-house university where “difference” is artificially emphasized, often for personal advantage. On the front lines it is incidental not essential to identity—something that amazes Iraqis who sometimes seem puzzled about what constitutes an “average” American. Often the Ugandan security guards, the Iraqi interpreters, or the Sudanese contact workers seemed indistinguishable from what Americans are supposed to “look” like.
This must be really confusing for those who thought that the Americans were white, Jewish devils.
Flying and driving through Iraq, one notices the enormous US investment in trucks, cars, military equipment, bases, houses, reconstruction, Iraqi outfitting—literally billons evident to the naked eye, everywhere at every moment. Whatever this is, it is not a “no blood for oil” war, more like “billions in aid for a region with their own $80-a-barrel oil.”
I've never understood this "war for oil" canard. The Americans are spending around one hundred billion dollars annually in Iraq. Simple arithmetic shows that they would lose money even if they were to steal all the Iraqi oil every year. So, how exactly is the US gaining any "profit" from Iraq?
From Part III:
We sometimes think religion trumps human nature. It doesn’t. Remember the Rafsanjanis of Iran: under the cloak of religious zeal, that crooked clan wormed into businesses and ministries like a Costra Nostra family bent on cash and perks. So too with al Qaeda in Iraq. They are criminals first, pseudo-fundamentalists second. The military knows that well enough since it has seen their pornography, syringes, shake-down schemes, and petty criminality etc. “Al Qaeda” gave a lot of young criminals cover to steal cars, take over houses, and take young girls.
And to think that there are many in the West who wish for this evil to win in the current battle.
The Muslim Students Association at UTSC has ignited a fierce debate on the particulars of halal food on campus, refusing to support a long-awaited halal option at a Bluff’s, a UTSC campus restaurant.
What's so awful about this campus restaurant?
The result of numerous faculty, staff and student requests, the new menu was introduced to the campus on May 29, making all chicken and beef options certified halal. Despite this, many MSA members say that any establishment that also serves alcohol and plays dance music is an unsuitable environment for their dietary needs.
What's next? Demanding that U of T close all restaurants during Ramadan to, you know, accommodate their oh-so-sensitive "dietary needs"?
These fanatical Muslims just can't watch others having fun.
I have argued here before that the biggest shortcoming in the global warming debate is that two separate questions are being confounded. These are: (1) Is human activity causing the climate to become warmer through emissions of greenhouse gases? And (2) If so, should the government impose economic regulations to counteract these effects?
The government is the sole social institution that properly wields force (i.e., through the delegated rights of citizens to use force to defend their lives and rights). All questions regarding whether the government ought to "do something" are thus really questions about whether the government should use force. The proper answer to all such questions -- unless any given proposal would lead to the government better protecting the rights of all citizens -- is "No!" because the sole purpose of the government is to protect individual rights.
That's the problem. Far too many people have no qualms about using government force to mold, and often break, others.
It's for the greater good, damn it!
This photo is quite funny.
Dusk in Autumn:
Roissy posted a chart on prettiness and sense of entitlement which says that as females go from 0 to 10 in looks, their entitledness increases. I disagree with what's going on above 8, so here is my graph.
Go there and view it. I don't have much to add since I'm ignorant about such matters but it's interesting nonetheless.
On Oct. 1, having leaked its intention in advance to the press, the Christian-Democrat administration of Jan Peter Balkenende announced that it would no longer guarantee the protection of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
It seems the price of free thought is too high for the Netherlands.
If a prominent elected politician of a Western country can be left undefended against highly credible threats from Islamist death squads, what price all of our easy babble about not "appeasing terrorists"? Especially disgraceful is the Dutch government's irresponsible decision to announce to these death squads, without even notifying Hirsi Ali, that after a given date she would be unprotected and easy game.
This is a good idea:
A last resort would be to set up a trust or fund by voluntary subscription and continue to pay for her security that way.
I was stunned last year when so many people donated money towards my legal fees (thank you again!). Hirsi Ali will be quite surprised with Western, individual, generosity -- really, all she needs to do is to provide a forum or a site and we'll chip in.
First it was Morocco, then Egypt. Now the Muslims of the UK are freaking out over the fact that some Muslim-owned stores are selling Israeli dates that people are eating during Ramadan.
Fools! I certainly wouldn't mind eating Israeli dates.
The [Iranian] islamist regime spreads its influence far and wide. When and how will they be stopped?
Read Asher Abrams's take on it.
News from last week:
Over nine people have been reported killed while churches and houses owned by Christians have allegedly been burnt down. Shops belonging to Igbo traders were reportedly set on fire while three pastors have been arrested and kept in custody.
He said an internet cartoon emanating from a 20-year-old Muslim boy from Bangladesh had apparently sparked off the crisis.
Salifu said, "Information available to me is that almost all the churches within that local government area have been razed down and shops belonging to Christians have been razed down and in houses where they dwelled in, we have been told that they have been ejected and their property brought out and burnt.
[...] Hizbut Tahrir tries to keep this issue alive with protests in London apparently to amplify their demands like estabishing SHaria rule and Khilafat. They are even extending their outrage against the newspaper Prothom Alo by arranging prevention committees in every locality.
I, of course, blame the neocons.
No doubt, for Muslims, it is nice to see pictures of high profile converts to Islam (e.g. Michael Barry) in important jobs serving the wider community but has anyone given thought to the effect a campaign of this sort can have at a time when large swathes of the population, including many in the Church, are convinced by Neocon propaganda that "Islam is trying to take over Britain"?
I thought it was the whole concept of the sharia-enforcing caliphate which was convincing Brits in this case. Silly me.
Imagine what the leadership of the Jewish community will say if they are told that in order to reduce anti-Semitism in Britain, what you need to do is to launch a national bill-board campaign with large pictures of high-profile Jews (or converts from Christianity to Judaism) working in influential positions? The truth is that they do not take advice at face value nor do they depend on "others" to protect their interests. It is no coincidence that in the latest Pew Research Centre Report, unfavourable public opinion regarding Jews in the USA was lower (9%) than that of every other religious group including Catholics (14%), Evangelical Christians (19%) and Muslims (29%).
When your "brothers" are the cause of terror in the US, Spain, Britain and in the battles of Afghanistan and Iraq, then that might, maybe, possibly, lead to the mentioned unfavorable views.
But then that is not convenient.
Don't despair--we'll always have the
Jews neocons to blame!
Drink-soaked Trots for War provides these links:
Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs.
Some trainee doctors say learning to treat the diseases conflicts with their faith, which states that Muslims should not drink alcohol and rejects sexual promiscuity.
A small number of Muslim medical students have even refused to treat patients of the opposite sex. One male student was prepared to fail his final exams rather than carry out a basic examination of a female patient.
2. Normblog efficiently measures the depth of such moral feelings:
Sainsbury's is permitting Muslim checkout operators to refuse to handle customers' alcohol purchases on religious grounds. It means other members of staff have to be called over to scan in wine and beer for them at the till.
... for disrespecting Donkey.
[...] Italy’s government will offer young Italians money to leave home. Most of that cash will be going to men, as they make up 67 percent of those staying alla casa. Close-knit family takes on a whole new meaning when you consider that eight out of 10 Italians under 30 still live at home, and the average age for moving out is 36.
I've been largely living away from my family since the age of fifteen and now in my 20s, I'm financially independent. How can such a large majority of people not value that freedom?
I emailed the VP of Customer Support for HP, both describing the severity of the problem (including sharing a part number between incompatible parts), and suggesting some methods of reducing costs and improving customer support. (There are some dreadfully inefficient aspects to how their support system works that are obvious from the outside.) I haven't heard back from him. Perhaps he is too busy trying to get his HP notebook repaired.
This will get hits from search engines for all the wrong reasons.
Just got a hair cut.
The barber asked me, "So, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?"
"You're not going to have any turkey or pumpkin pie?"
Hmm, come to think of it, I was planning on cooking some turkey legs.
"I'll likely have some turkey but I've never had pumpkin pie."
"Yeah. Though, I like apple pie."
"Apple pie is good. My wife likes to make that."
Two restless kids were present in the shop during this time. Their dad was getting a hair cut, so they had a lot of time to explore the place. The younger one, who was adorable, was about one years old and the other was no more than four -- his name was Anthony. He would be turning off the lights, inspecting the scissors, turning off the lights, turning on the faucet, there go the lights again... The younger one would sometimes follow his lead.
Every few seconds the father would say, "Anthony, don't touch the lights."
"Anthony, stop it!"
"Anthony, I'm telling you for the last time..."
"Anthony, don't make me come over there!"
"[Sigh.] What am I going to do with these monkeys?"
After a few moments, the barber asked me, "Are you fasting?"
With a quizzical look, "You're not fasting!?"
Then, Anthony came up to me and looked at my hair which was of a different color than his. He was amused for a couple of seconds, then he went off on a new adventure.
The barber smiled and asked me, "Are you going to have kids some day?"
Before I could answer, the barber had to go and collect the two rascals from the other side of the shop and bring them to the front seats.
After the barber was done, I paid him, grabbed my rain jacket and went towards the exit. Anthony was there. The door, of all things, had his full undivided attention. He was pulling on it to no avail; one has to push it.
"Anthony, can I pass?"
He looked up at me, stunned.
"You know my name."
I wrote earlier this year:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. Hirsi Ali couldn't have possibly imagined that fourteen years later, she would, in effect, apply for asylum in another nation.
The boundary of the Free West is shrinking.
This serves as a dark warning for the Americans. They are witnessing the slow obliteration of liberal values in Europe, thanks to Islamism and multiculturalism. America must continue to fight the Islamists and not allow herself to be intimidated by the evil of our age.
For where would Hirsi Ali go if the US were to give in?
Today Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende has Dutch citizen Ayaan Hirsi Ali advised to leave the country and go back to the United States. He said that she shouldn’t come back to The Netherlands for protection.
Leaving her to the wolves won't buy the Netherlands any protection. In fact, the Dutch have earned the contempt of Islamists, for showing such weakness, and reduced their standing in the eyes of every sound Westerner.
This lady sure knows how to accessorize!
One fun fact I learned in my brief time in the Mideast is that citizens of oil-rich nations such as Kuwait and Qatar don't have jobs. (Why bother, when you receive reverse taxation from the government?) They also, judging from the shopping I saw in the airport and in two malls, buy a tremendous quantity of Bulgari, Burberry, Hermes, and other designer goods.
This means that all of the actual work in countries like Kuwait is done by Indian and Southeast Asian people. I bought a dress from a Filipina woman in Kuwait who closed her shop every time the call for prayer came around -- and then she just hid inside the shop, arranging racks of clothes in front of the glass windows.
To Arabs, labor is so uncouth.
When visiting a foreign country, one's contact with locals often comes in large measure from interacting with servicepeople. In Kuwait, however, since none of the servicepeople are locals, and there are taboos against men talking to strange women, and it hardly seems inviting to test out the English skills of a woman who keeps her face covered and carries a $2,000 handbag ... a person can spend a long time in Kuwait without ever talking to a Kuwaiti person.
I lived in Saudi Arabia for a decade and very rarely did I have to speak Arabic to buy products since the foreign shopkeepers almost always had enough knowledge of Urdu (or Hindi because of the Bollywood movie industry). This leads to another phenomenon: One can spend a long time in the Arab world without ever learning more than a dozen words of Arabic.
Oh, and don't miss the video where the gals are buying a camel from an Indian shopkeeper. (I agree, the turquoise-y camel wasn't good.)
Marco Martinez, an American solider, writes:
When I think about my gang member past I shudder in shame. But if there was one lesson I learned from my past it is that there is a profound moral difference between using violence to destroy lives and using violence to save lives. Terrorists do the former; soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines do the latter.
Antimilitary liberals need to learn the difference between the two.
Link via Small Dead Animals.
Robert Clayton Dean on Hillary Clinton:
[...] it is a little chilling to contemplate the leading contender for President of the United States already toying with naked wealth transfers such as this.
Eew. I don't mind nudity or wealth but not in that way.
[...] nowadays supposedly sane, knowledgeable people have no problem openly, seriously stating that the real evils of the world are to be attributed to Bush and Israel, while tyrannies like Syria, Iran, North Korea and Saddam's Iraq are made out as peace-loving innocents passively awaiting the unprovoked wrath of the Big Bad Bush and his "neocon"/"likudnik"/[your preferred euphemism for "Jewish" here] masters. Political insanity must be a highly contagious disease in the Western world today, so widespread has it become.
The core premise has always been there: America is evil. Ergo, whatever and whoever she opposes must be good.