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April 2008
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Apostate-in-Chief

An op-ed about Senator Obama in The New York Times. [Registration required. Use Bug Me Not.] Here, the author is writing about apostasy:

it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim’s family may choose to forgive).

With few exceptions, the jurists of all Sunni and Shiite schools prescribe execution for all adults who leave the faith not under duress; the recommended punishment is beheading at the hands of a cleric, although in recent years there have been both stonings and hangings.

This leads to a solid, and unpleasing, conclusion.

First link emailed by slickdpdx who blogs at Known Unknowns.


The Hatred of Freedom

CBC via Celestial Junk:

Police in Halifax are investigating a complaint about a political cartoon that some members of a local Islamic group claim is a hate crime.

The cartoon, published April 18 in the Chronicle Herald newspaper, depicts a woman in a burka holding a sign that reads, "I want millions," and she says, "I can put it towards my husband's next training camp."

Later on:

In an interview with the Herald before the cartoon ran, Jamal said she wanted to sue the federal government for what her family has gone through and told the reporter, "I want millions," Leger noted.

"[MacKinnon] depicted her exactly the way she looks and used her own words, and that's the genius of cartooning that you're able to do that," he said.

Why do such Muslims get upset at those who merely point out the idiocies rather than the idiot? It's almost as if they don't have a rational response to the cartoonist. Their only recourse is to silence him. This has the effect of making free speech regarding Islam a bit expensive.


Chasing Away the Goose

The Wall Street Journal:

Massachusetts legislators, demonstrating a growing resentment against the wealth of elite universities in tight economic times, are studying a plan to levy a 2.5% annual tax on the portion of college endowments that exceed $1 billion.

The effort takes aim at one of the primary economic engines of the state, which is home to nine universities with endowments that surpass the $1 billion level, led by Harvard University's $35 billion cache, the nation's largest.

What a spectacularly dumb idea. Harvard ought to retaliate. Professor Greg Mankiw offers a good idea:

If this were to pass, here is what I would consider:

1. Instead of expanding the university into Alston, Harvard could create a second campus in another state. Call it Harvard South. (Put it in a better climate than Boston, and I would be one of the first faculty to volunteer for the move.)


A Simple Freedom

May this trend continue:

A Malaysian Islamic court allowed a Muslim convert Thursday to return to her original faith of Buddhism, setting a precedent that could ease religious minorities' worries about their legal rights.

It wouldn't be surprising to see imams across the globe, especially in the Middle East, railing against this "evil" decision.

Link via Instapundit.


Democracy = Suicide ?

Macleans:

Palestinian Arabs present a challenge to Israel that is at once more straightforward and infinitely more difficult to solve. Within one or two decades, the number of Muslim and Christian Arabs living under Israeli control (including in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel itself) will surpass the number of Israeli Jews. When that happens, if there is still no Palestinian state (and in the absence of large-scale ethnic cleansing), Israelis will be forced to choose between two futures. Their country will either be Jewish, but not democratic — in other words, a Jewish minority will control a land mostly inhabited by Palestinians — or Israel will be democratic, but not Jewish, because Arabs will form the majority in what will become a bi-national state.

Link via Elphi Delphi.


Intel vs. Nvidia

Good for us:

The Intel-NVIDIA war heeds warning from CRT Captial Group, saying NVIDIA maybe providing motivation to the chip giant. CRT Captial Group analyst Ashok Kumar issued a warning stating the recent tirade by NVIDIA CEO, Jen-sun Huang may have adverse effects – angering a “huge, rich, motivated design powerhouse.”

More:

NVIDIA’s ongoing “war” with Intel started with Huang adlibbing during a financial analyst meeting, stating NVIDIA was about to “open a can of whoop ass” on Intel.

Huang further belittled Intel’s graphics solutions as a “joke” and being abysmal in the visual computing world. NVIDIA’s VP of content relations added to the fire with a declaration that the CPU is dead.

It's more likely that Nvidia will go caput; my money is on Intel.


Perpetually Inflamed

Sam Harris:

Wilders, like Westergaard and the other Danish cartoonists, has been widely vilified for "seeking to inflame" the Muslim community. Even if this had been his intention, this criticism represents an almost supernatural coincidence of moral blindness and political imprudence. The point is not (and will never be) that some free person spoke, or wrote, or illustrated in such a manner as to inflame the Muslim community. The point is that only the Muslim community is combustible in this way. The controversy over Fitna, like all such controversies, renders one fact about our world especially salient: Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name.

Indeed.

There is an uncanny irony here that many have noticed. The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we will kill you.

They can be so charming sometimes.

Link via the Intergalactic Source of Truth.


Who Needs Democracy?

The Guardian:

Vivienne Westwood
Fashion designer

"Boris as mayor? Unthinkable. It just exposes democracy as a sham, especially if people don't vote for Ken - he's the best thing in politics. Unthinkable."

David Thompson:

Ms Westwood appears to have difficulty grasping the concept of democracy, which generally entails the possibility that other people – perhaps a great many of them – will have preferences that differ from one’s own. Still, there’s an almost charming megalomania to the implication that a system which allows people to vote on those preferences must be a “sham” when the people doing the voting disagree with Vivienne Westwood.


Bad Words

The nature of freedom of speech in Canada:

Hmm. "History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes." Commissar Lynch provides, as she would say, "no substantiation for these claims." But then she's a "hate speech" prosecutor and, as we know, Canada's "human rights" procedures aren't subject to tiresome requirements like evidence. So she's made an argument from authority: the great Queen's Counsel has risen from her throne in the Star Chamber and pronounced, and let that suffice. Those of us who occupy less exalted positions in the realm might wish to ponder the evidence for her assertions.

Read the whole thing.

Link via Celestial Junk.


Deadly Love

On cousin marriages in the United Arab Emirates:

a haemo-globinopathy specialist says that “many couples were going ahead with their wedding plans despite discovering they were thalassaemia carriers. “We found most of the couples coming just a few days before their wedding day. During this time, whenever you try to explain to them - there is already a sort of bond between this couple. To break this bond, in our culture, it will not be accepted easily,” he said… health officials said they were still receiving babies born with thalassaemia, adding they did not notice a drop of new cases since pre-marital genetic testing became a requirement in the UAE in 2006.

The spineless reaction of the UK government is not much different.


"This Evil"

Umar Lee: Interview of Joel Richardson: Editor of Why We Left Islam.

I have not read your book so I am not going to make any judgments on it. It has created some interest and in your blog you seem to be dedicated to hyping the threat that Islam and Muslims pose. Of course, as an American-Muslim, this is disturbing to me. The average everyday Muslim has to carry the weight of these sorts of anti-Muslim campaigns on their shoulders in their daily lives.

Yeah, life is so tough in America.

The Muslim child in school has to sit in a classroom being shunned by fellow students and maybe even treated poorly by their teachers, the Muslim job-seeker gets passed over for a job, the Muslim business-owner loses business because of their religion, etc. . You may say that this is not your intention, and that you would not encourage such ill-treatment of Muslims, but the practical effect of what you and others like you do creates a climate that leads to discrimination against Muslims. 

Why does Umar Lee think that mere assertions equals proof?

Anyway, read what Richardson has to say. Many times during the interview, Umar Lee puts his remarks in bold. At one point Richardson says:

As you likely well know, death for apostasy is clearly affirmed by Muhammad: “Whoever changes his religion (leaves Islam) kill him,” (Sahih Bukhari) as well as by all four Sunni Madhabs, and the Shi’a. The reason that I helped to compile Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out is to bring attention to these types of human rights violations. And I call on you and every Muslim of conscience to join with me in renouncing this inhuman evil Islamic practice.

Curiously, Umar Lee doesn't provide any reply to this statement.

Quoting Richardson:

I am not a student of American History or American wars and thus cannot comment on whether or not there is a war in American history that I do not support.  Alternately I would ask you if there was any war, battle or raid that Muhammad waged that you feel was unjustified?  How do you personally feel about the beheading of 700-900 Jewish men from the village of the Banu Qurayza?  Do you support this slaughter?  Is there a war that was executed by any of the four “Rightly Guided Caliphs” that you think were unjustified?

He also asks:

Let me ask you this Umar, is Afghanistan better off today than it was under the Taliban?

Lee's replies are illuminating.


No Respect

Tambi Dude emailed this link:

A resolution calling for the enactment of an international pact to forbid religions from being defamed or insulted as well as their symbols, leaders and prophets has been voted out by the Saudi Shoura (Consultative Council).

Odd isn't it. Why wouldn't they want religion to be respected?

A total of 77 members opposed the recommendation while 33 voted in favour. Those who opposed it argued that such a pact would force people to recognise religions, which advocate idol worship, and that “would be unacceptable.”

Ah.

Talal Bakri, one of the staunch critics of the move, said “if we approve the resolution it will be make it obligatory to recognise some religions and will facilitate establishing places of worship for them in Muslim countries.”

Heaven forbid! It's always revealing to see such a contrast. Muslims can build thousands of mosques within the West but the mere thought of allowing other places of worship within Islamic societies is considered vulgar.


Not America

MikeT provides this link in the comments:

Trafficked across the border from Pakistan with her 3-year-old son, Rukhma was handed to an Afghan who raped and abused her, then beat the toddler to death as she watched helplessly.

He was jailed for 20 years for murder, but Rukhma ended up in prison too.

Rukhma, who doesn't know her age but looks younger than 20, had put up with her mistreatment for three months last summer before seeking protection and justice from authorities. Instead she was given a four-year sentence on Dec. 5 for adultery and "escaping her house" in Pakistan, even though she says she was kidnapped and raped.

More:

The chief prosecutor of eastern Nangarhar province who oversaw Rukhma's case suggested she got off lightly.

"If my wife goes to the bazaar without my permission, I will kill her. This is our culture," Abdul Qayum shouted scornfully during an interview in his office in the city of Jalalabad.

His colleagues laughed approvingly. "This is Afghanistan, not America," Qayum said.

[Emphasis mine.]

MikeT:

As we southerners sometimes say about men like him, "some people just need killin'."

Indeed.