Good news. Apparently there is no such thing as Muslim terrorism after all, because Al Qaeda have been redefined as "Pre-Islamic Pagans". Lisa Graas, who has been providing extensive coverage of the murder of Christians in Iraq, picked up on this bizarre claim by Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki.
The redefinition of Al Qaeda as "Pre-Islamic Pagans" is surreal to most Westerners, but this kind of constant editing and re-editing of history has become commonplace in the Muslim world. If Muslims can insist that Abraham and King David were Muslims and that Jesus was a Palestinian, it's a hop and a skip to claiming that Bin Laden's followers are somehow pre-Islamic.
This kind of reasoning isn't completely random. Maliki is a member of the Dawa Party, which is noted for its convoluted path to promoting an Islamic state. Getting a Fatwa against fellow Muslims is tricky. But by defining Al Qaeda as pagans, suddenly there's Koranic permission to kill them.
Ironically Sunnis have used this particular dodge against Maliki's own Shiites, arguing that Shiites are not really Muslims. Therefore they can be killed.
To most Westerners this looks like a bizarre puppet show, in which everyone is either lying or crazy, or both. And there's some truth to that. The Muslim is not rational or fact based. It's glued together by duct tape and arcane reasoning. If something can be made to work, it works. Facts are not really an issue, because the truth is whatever you need it to be at a given moment.
So in Lebanon, Syria is the enemy, except when it's our best friend. And the Saudis are fighting a quiet war against Iran, except where they're working together. And Hamas and Fatah want to destroy each other, except when they're working together. And all of them are also trying to quietly see if they can do something with America and Israel, so long as it's under the table.
Understanding the Middle East is not a job for the faint of heart, or the easily confused.
Meanwhile in response to the murder of Christians in Iraq, Pat Buchanan has turned in one of the more cynical articles in his career, in which he condemns the murder of Christians in Iraq, yet blames America and Israel for that state of affairs.
Buchanan's "Has Our War For Democracy Enabled The Murderers Of Christianity?" exists in the absence of history. In which Muslim persecution of Christians in the Middle East began when the US invaded Iraq, or perhaps when Israel was created.
The truth is that Christians have been persecuted in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world all throughout history.
While Saddam Hussein, a secularist, had protected religious minorities, Muslim vigilantes—Shia, Sunni and Kurd, as well as al-Qaida—have attacked the Christians who have endured kidnappings, pillage, rapes, beheadings and assassinations.
Says Buchanan. The truth however is different than the idyllic secularist Saddam paradise that Pat envisions.
The Rev. Raban Alkash stood in the courtyard of his bare concrete church, looking out on a valley in Iraqi Kurdistan where Christians have lived since the second century.
"This is the end of the road,"he said. "The people all want to leave."Caught between warring Muslims - Arabs and rebellious Kurds - the Christians of northern Iraq feel increasingly that getting out is the only solution.
That was 1991.
The 12 million Christians living in Middle Eastern countries must band together in a solidarity movement before "complete genocide occurs," Lebanese and Egyptian Christian leaders said yesterday at the World Maronite Conference being held this week in Montreal.
... Christians who live in Egypt, Sudan, Iraq and Iran have no rights and are used to being persecuted.
This was 1985.
And finally as for Saddam's secularist paradise
In the 35 years since Hussein brought the Ba'ath Party into power, he has denied the separate religious identity of Iraqi Christians in an effort to construct a secular Arab nationalist state. He has tried to stamp out their Syriac language by banning it from many of the schools. In an effort to boost his Islamic credibility, Hussein has forced Christians to learn the Koran. And he has often lumped them in the same ethnic category as the Kurds, knowing the groups don't get along because of disputed land holdings in oil-rich northern Iraq.
The truth is that Iraqi Christians have been persecuted for a very long time, under every successive regime. Like most anti-war activists from Sean Penn on down, Buchanan is invested in painting a sunny picture of life under Saddam. But that picture distorts and ignores history.
Buchanan claims that Iraqi Christians, "lived peacefully alongside Muslim neighbors for centuries" and that their persecution, "must be marked down as one of the predictable and predicted consequences of America's war in Iraq." But then why were Iraqi Christians also being persecuted throughout the 20th century?
According to Buchanan, Christians are being murdered by Muslims because of us.
Why is Christianity being murdered in its cradle by Muslim fanatics? Multiple reasons. A return of Islamic militancy. The rise of ethnic nationalism that conflates tribal and religious identity. Hatred of America for its domination of the region, for our war on terror that they see as a war on Islam and for our support of Israel in its suppression of the Palestinians.
So why were Assyrians and Chaldeans being murdered long before America or Israel were in the picture? For that matter why did so many Chaldeans in exile support the removal of Saddam? Possibly because Saddam's "secularist" paradise was neither all that secular or united, and like the USSR, it was a repressive state that persecuted people who were different.
Are we so wary of offending Muslim sensibilities or inflaming Muslim rage we cannot denounce the pogroms perpetrated against Christians in the name of Allah?
It's a good question, but Buchanan fails his own test, because rather than blaming Muslims for the violence, he blames Christians and Jews instead. He schizophrenically writes an article in which he claims that
A. Christians are only persecuted by Muslims because we overthrew a secularist dictator that was keeping Muslims from persecuting Christians
B. Muslims traditionally lived in peace with Christians, but turned to violence because they now associate Iraqi Christians with America
C. Iraqi Christians are being murdered because we're too afraid of offending Muslims to intervene on their behalf
All these three things blatantly contradict one another. It's as if this article had been written as a joint effort by Sean Penn, Cindy Sheehan and Pat Robertson. And it makes absolutely no sense.
On the one hand Buchanan fiercely condemns Muslim violence against Christians. On the other hand he claims that Muslim violence was never a problem, until we got them angry. Then he claims that everything was fine under Saddam's secularist rule. But if Muslims weren't persecuting Christians, then why was a secular dictatorship even needed to protect Christians? Protect them from what?
In the same article Pat Buchanan claims that we provoked Muslims and that we're too afraid to provoke Muslims. Well which is it. Either we need to stand up to Muslims, or we need to back down from them.
If we stand up to Muslims, then Buchanan claims that we're provoking violence against Christians. But if we don't stand up to them, then Buchanan charges that we're too afraid of Muslims to stand up to them. This is just silly theater. Pat Buchanan isn't even trying to be consistent anymore. Like so many of his anti-war buddies, he's adopted the "Blame America No Matter What" mentality. And it makes no sense.
When it comes to Islam, Pat Buchanan has just completely lost it. In response to Terry Jones' Koran burning, Pat actually wrote an article which suggested that Obama send Federal Marshals to seize and arrest Jones.
And if Petraeus says letting Jones set this bonfire could imperil U.S. troops, Obama should act to stop it. And if he is so paralyzed by uncertainty as to whether he can do anything—and, as a result, soldiers die—what would that tell us about their commander in chief?
Would stopping Jones and confiscating the Qurans violate Jones' First Amendment rights? Perhaps. And perhaps not. But if Eric Holder cannot find a charge against Jones, or an inherent power of a war president to prevent actions imminently damaging to the war effort, Obama should find some Justice Department attorneys who can.
This is the same Buchanan who has repeatedly condemned the War on Terror for its effect on civil liberties. Who now suggests that Obama should arrest a private citizen for burning a book.
This isn't the argument of a man with consistent ideas, but a fella who can't decide if he's a member of Code Pink or the Crusaders, and shifts unpredictably from one to the other within a few weeks, or even a few paragraphs.
In other news along the same front, Lisa has her response to the Synod clarification
Meanwhile at Elder of Ziyon, some interesting selections from history, on the status of Jews in the Muslim world
The population daily increases, chiefly in consequence of a peculiar and despotic law of the emperor, which does not permit a Jewess to leave the country without the payment of a hundred dollars; six dollars only being paid by n Jew. The reason assigned for the anxiety of the emperor to prevent Jews from emigrating is, that the Jews are the principal artisans, tradesmen, merchants, £c., and the finances of the country are almost solely dependant upon the pecuniary transactions of the ricl Jews, of whom there are not a few....
However, the Jews are suffering many humiliating thines. When they pass a mosque, a maraboot, or a dwelling of a saint, and even a Moorish school, in which the koran is usually read, they are obliged to take off their shoes. They are compelled to wear black turbans or caps, and black shoes.
One wonders if we'll have to start taking off our shoes near Ground Zero.
In yet more news from the terrorist state funded by US and EU money, a Palestinian Arab was arrested for writing an atheist blog on Facebook.
A mysterious blogger who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and hurling insults at the Prophet Muhammad is now behind bars — caught in a sting that used Facebook to track him down.
Known as a quiet man who prayed with his family each Friday and spent his evenings working in his father's barbershop, Husayin was secretly his anti-religious opinions on the Internet during his free time.
The media in the Palestinian Authority, as in the Arab world in general, are largely government-controlled, driving dissenting voices to the relative freedom of the Internet. The blogger's arrest showed a willingness on the part of the Palestinian government to clamp down on freedom of speech on the Web as well. He now faces a potential life prison sentence on heresy charges for "insulting the divine essence."
Many in this conservative Muslim town say that isn't enough, and suggested he should be killed for renouncing Islam. Even family members say he should remain behind bars for life.
"He should be burned to death," said Abdul-Latif Dahoud, a 35-year-old Qalqiliya resident. The execution should take place in public "to be an example to others," he added.
This is the West Bank, and under PA authority. The PA is a project of the United States. All Obama has to do is put in a single phone call to get him released.
But will that happen? I wouldn't count on it. So much for our commitment to religious freedom around the world. A freedom that only applies to Muslims. As usual.
But as Robert at Seraphic Secret points out, Obama seems to only care about protecting religious freedom, when it's Muslim religious freedom.
Yael at Boker Tov Boulder calls out Obama on his hypocrisy.
Zombie has an interesting piece at PJM on some of the most atrociously gerrymandered districts in the country. Unsurprisingly the majority of these are in Florida or New York. With a few honorable mentions for Maryland and Illinois.
Interesting side note, Brooklyn congressional districts with large working class Jewish populations in New York tend to be gerrymandered away from them, and toward Black or Hispanic representatives. You can see why that's necessary, when you look at New York Congressional District 9, which manages to be mostly white, and where Obama barely squeaked out a 55-44 to victory in 2008. NY 9 exists mainly because of reverse gerrymandering, for Black and Hispanic districts. It can't last of course. Sooner or later NY 9 will be carved up again. But considering that in 2004, an unknown and unsupported Republican candidate still managed to pull in nearly 30 percent against Weiner, the district may be more competitive than people realize.
Another side note, of the top 30 Congressional districts with large Jewish populations, nearly a third have Republican congressmen. Including now Allen West, in Florida 22. Where Obama pulled it off just barely at 52 to 48.
In another heartwarming story from the Muslim world, an Arab visitor to the magical city of Dubai (which totally doesn't fund terrorists) is charged with drug consumption, after he tried to save his British wife from being raped.
A Qatari visitor has accused his best friend of maliciously reporting him to the anti-narcotics police after his wife foiled the friend's attempt to have sex with her.
The visitor, A.N., said: "My British wife foiled my best friend's attempt to rape her in a flat. She ... locked herself up in the washroom and called me for help. When this incident took place, my best friend told me ‘see what will happen to you now'." He said the police raided his flat not long after that.
Note the difference between the quote and the lead paragraph, which comes from an Arab Muslim paper. Rape is defined as sex, in the lead paragraph. There is no actual difference, because the consent of a woman is held to be irrelevant.
The Wall Street Journal chose to give Erica Jong a platform to rant about the evils of motherhood, and father-mother-child families. Key quote from the article,
In truth, nothing is more malleable than motherhood. We like to imagine that mothering is immutable and decreed by natural law, but in fact it has encompassed such disparate practices as baby farming, wet-nursing and infanticide
Not hard to guess which one of these "disparate practices" she favors.
We are in a period of retrenchment against progressive social policies, and the women pursuing political life today owe more to Evita Peron than to Eleanor Roosevelt.
What does that even mean? That Sarah Palin inherited power from her husband, as opposed to supporting his social policies outside the system? Does Jong even know what she means herself?
Indeed, although attachment parenting comes with an exquisite progressive pedigree, it is a perfect tool for the political right. It certainly serves to keep mothers and fathers out of the political process. If you are busy raising children without societal help and trying to earn a living during a recession, you don't have much time to question and change the world that you and your children inhabit. What exhausted, overworked parent has time to protest under such conditions?
Clearly parenthood gets in the way of more important things, like participating in Code Pink rallies. And if it takes infanticide to make it possible to get to D.C. and rant that Bush kills babies-- well you can't make an omelet without breaking some babies.
In the oscillations of feminism, theories of child-rearing have played a major part. As long as women remain the gender most responsible for children, we are the ones who have the most to lose by accepting the "noble savage" view of parenting, with its ideals of attachment and naturalness. We need to be released from guilt about our children, not further bound by it
So we can be free to do more important things. Like giving up on continuity, and replacing our countries with populations from Third World nations where women have few if any rights.
Finally Gary Aminoff has a video that reminds us of the real cost of that brand of collectivism that Jong is peddling.