Wednesday, August 8, 2012

smoking-dragon is open for business

smoking-dragon is open for business

Friday, October 14, 2011

Destruction of Copts Is Islamically Correct

Written by: Diana West


Coptic funeral, Muslim generals

I am looking at a reproduction of an old engraving of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It is in Bat Ye'or's book "The Dhimmi," which collects primary documents from history to chronicle the impact of Islamic law on non-Muslims through the centuries.

What is notable about the image, which is based on an 1856 photograph, is that the church, said to be at the site of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, has no cross and no belfry. Stripped of its Christian symbols, the church stood in compliance with the Islamic law and traditions of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire, which ruled Jerusalem at the time.

I went back to the book to find this image for a reason. It had to do with last weekend's massacre of two dozen Coptic Christians in Cairo by Egyptian military and street mobs, which also left hundreds wounded. The unarmed Copts were protesting the destruction of yet another church in Egypt, St. George's, which on Sept. 30 was set upon by thousands of Muslim men following Friday prayers. Why? The trigger was repair work on the building – work that the local council and governor had approved.

Does that explanation make any sense? Not to anyone ignorant of Islamic law. Unfortunately, that criterion includes virtually all media reporting the story.

Raymond Ibrahim, an Islam specialist, Arabic speaker and author of "The Al Qaeda Reader" (Broadway, 2007), catalogs the key sequence of events that turned a church renovation project into terror and flames. With repair work in progress, he writes online at Hudson New York, "It was not long before local Muslims began complaining, making various demands, including that the church be devoid of crosses and bells – even though the permit approved them – citing that 'the cross irritates Muslims and their children.'"

Those details drove me to re-examine the de-Christianized 19th-century image of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – no cross, no bells. It becomes a revealing illustration of Islamic history repeating itself in this "Shariah Autumn," the deadly but natural harvest of the grotesquely branded "Arab Spring."

Given our see-no-Shariah media (and government), we have no context in which to place such events. That context is Shariah society, advanced (but by no means initiated) by "Arab Spring," where non-Muslims – "dhimmi" – occupy a place defined for them by Islamic law and tradition. Theologian, author and Anglican pastor Mark Durie elaborates at "Dhimmi are permitted to live in an Islamic state under terms of surrender as laid out in the 'dhimma' pact." Such terms, Durie writes, "are a well-established part of Islamic law and can be found laid out in countless legal text books." When non-Muslims violate these terms, they become subject to attack.

To place the dhimmi pact in comparable Western terms is to say the West has its Magna Carta, Islam has its Pact of Umar. Among other things, this seminal pact governing Muslim and non-Muslims relations stipulates, Durie notes, the condition that Christians "will neither erect in our areas a monastery, church or sanctuary for a monk, nor restore any place of worship that needs restoration."

Thus, this anti-Coptic violence, which for the moment has caught world attention, is Islamically correct. This is the piece of the puzzle Westerners fail to grasp. But Durie takes us through the theological steps: "For some pious Muslims in Egypt today, the act of repairing a church is a flagrant provocation, a breach of the peace, which amounts to a deliberate revocation of one's right to exist in the land." As such, it "becomes a legitimate topic for sermons in the mosque (where) the faithful are urged ... to uphold the honor of Islam." In Islamic terms, then, the destruction of the church is no injustice, as Durie writes. It is "even a duty to destroy the church and even the lives of Christians who have the temerity to repair their churches." That's because dhimmi who take to the streets to protest the Islamically just destruction of the church "are also rebels who have forfeited their rights (under the pact) to 'safety and protection.'" As violators of the "dhimmi" pact, they become fair game.

It's quite simple, but the theology eludes us. Why? I think the answer is that to expose the facts about Shariah in the Western milieu is to invite their criticism. Such criticism is forbidden under Shariah. So, we remain silent – which is what good "dhimmi" do.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Trouble With Muslim Democracy

From: sultan knish

The ultimate symbol of Muslim Democracy may not end up being the purple fingers of the Iraqi ballots but the smoke from burning churches and dead Coptic Christians in Egypt. While Iraq was tenuously balanced between Shiites and Sunnis, Arabs and Kurds, there is no such balance in Egypt. The average Egyptian is a Sunni Arab and thinks Christians are dogs. Church burnings are as close as Egypt is ever likely to get to democracy and we should be happy for that.
The Muslim world is so enthusiastic about democracy because it allows the majority to slap around the minority-- at least more so than it's already doing. And when there isn't a clear majority to sit in the driver's seat, they throw in musical chairs coalitions of different ethnic and religious factions in between bouts of civil war.

That's the situation in Lebanon and in Iraq, but those countries are lucky because the minority there is a sizable enough to have a shot. That's more than can be said for Egypt's Christians who are big enough to be targets, but not big enough to take on the majority. Egypt and Iraq were the region's last bastions of Pan-Arabism, which allowed Christians Arabs a limited stake in the country, but an Iraq and Egypt defined by an Islamic identity are countries incompatible with a non-Muslim minority.

Minorities may do better under Muslim tyrannies than Muslim democracies, because dictators find a minority group with few options other than the regime to be useful. Libya's Africans did better under Khaddafi. Egypt's Christians did better under Mubarak. Dictators like a little divide and conquer because it keeps their people off balance. Democracies are another matter.

Democracy is a great slogan for Westerners who approach it from their own blinkered perspective and assume that it means the same thing to the people using it thousands of miles away as it does to them. To Americans, democracy is the unexamined assumption that popular power goes hand in hand with freedom. To Muslims it's the equally unexamined assumption that democracy is the national will to unite a country by purging it of all its divisive elements.

American pundits on the left and right made the fallacious assumption that democracy equates to tolerance for minorities when they thoughtlessly endorsed Tahrir Square and the Arab Spring. An assumption that was not founded on history or reason, but on wishful thinking. The modern state which provides maximum political representation to minorities is if anything quite undemocratic and brought into being through mainly undemocratic institutions.

The same unexamined assumption that led Bush to frame the problem as one of tyranny standing against democracy, led his successors who despised his legacy and ideas, to go ahead and follow a variation of the same path. But tyranny need not be the opposite of democracy, if it is what most of the people want. And Islamism need not contradict democracy.

Women can vote in Iran, they just can't vote to change their status. Christians can vote in Egypt, they just can't vote themselves equal rights. Islamism can function as a democratic tyranny, so long as the majority of the population agrees with their basic premises. And if the population doesn't, then elections are rigged, the bullets start flying and the prisons fill up.

Saddam's chief Shiite oppositionist cleric, Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr, (father-in-law of the troll of Sadr City) came up with an Islamist democracy by treating the public as the guardians of Islam. The obvious motivation for that was to deny the legitimacy of Saddam and his Sunni allies by moving the point of legitimate authority from the rulers as the guardians of Islam, to the Shiite majority.

That selectivity also delineates the borders of Islamic democracy. The Koran is still the Constitution and the people derive their power from the Koran, rather than the other way around. And this form of democracy can only empower Muslims to enforce Islam. If they deviate from Islamic norms, then they have lost the right to govern themselves. Non-Muslims cannot serve as guardians of Islam at all.

Treating popular democracy as a means of enforcing Islamic norms may seem progressive to the same sort of people who lecture enthusiastically on Mohammed's enlightened treatment of women, but it's really just a way for the Islamists to displace the dictators who may be brutal bastards, but aren't particularly interested in enforcing veiling or flogging men who don't grow beards.

It may make a small degree of difference to us how the population of a place thousands of miles away chooses to be oppressed, but for the minor fact that their Islamist rulers hate us quite a bit more and their hatred has global ambitions.

The Bush era assumption that the hostility was driven by dictatorships was one of the odder canapes served at diplomatic dinner parties. While dictatorships certainly did everything they could to spread hate toward America and the West, they were riding on the backs of an existing hatred. Much as the attacks on Christians in Egypt today are not populist in planning, but are populist in execution.

The problem with Muslim democracy is at the heart of all the fallacious assumptions that said it could be fixed through a change of government. The problem did not originate with governments. And that means it will not go away with a change of government. A change of government is fine for removing a Saddam or a Khaddafi, just so long as it's not done on the assumption that what will follow will be a happy place full of frolicking bunnies and the Bill of Rights in Arabic.

Our collision with Islamic democracy is a result of their dysfunction and ours. They cannot justify any course of action without resorting to the Koran and national pride. We cannot justify any course of action without turning it into a humanitarian mission to make the world a better place.

Our response to September 11 shifted from getting those responsible to creating women's rights in Kabul and civil rights for the Shiites in Sadr City. Ten years and thousands of deaths later, the former is as likely to survive our departure as an ice sculpture in the desert, and the latter has empowered our enemies.

Instead of dreaming of Bin Laden's head on a platter, we began entertaining lunatic visions of the patron saint of democracy climbing down the Muslim chimney to leave presents of civil rights under the big Eid tree. And the root cause of that fallacy is that we thought that if we made them like us, there would no longer be any reason to fight them.

Such cultural colonialism when consciously practiced is a tool of empire, but we did not practice it consciously because we were no longer aware of our own exceptionalism. Our reality had become universal. We thought that everyone had our rights or wanted them, forgetting that our idea of rights and its accompanying form of government evolved from our centuries of political struggle. They could no more be grafted on to an alien society, than you could convey everything that has made you who you are to a stranger.

Our governments are outgrowths of our culture, so are theirs. Ours depend on unspoken assumptions that we rarely question or that we simply take for granted. So do theirs. And when we tried to graft a government that was more like ours on a culture that was nothing like ours, it was their culture that ended up defining the government more than ours.

The internationalist assumption that laws are more important than cultures, and that global bodies can make law for all is an absurdity from the minds of Western progressives and a few international accomplices. The very idea that legal rationalism is more important than the traditions of culture and religion could only have been conceived of by a certain type of Western progressive, who is also the only type of creature who could believe that anyone outside his or her circle would accept such a thing at face value.

The American assumption that democracy would be issue based, rather than ethnic or religion based hardly passes the smell taste even back in the old 50, where districts are gerrymandered by law to fit certain ethnic and racial groups, and the current occupant of the White House got there more on the color of his skin than the content of his character. But overall we actually do manage to vote on the issues. At least most of us and in most elections.

Over near the pyramids, the driving issue is not the cost of health care or whether there is a right to bear arms, but how to solve all the problems in one neat bundle by unifying the country under some grand philosophy. Either Pan-Arabism or Pan-Islamism. Pick the right national identity and the rest takes care of itself.

Some of that ugly taint was in the air in the last presidential election. A taint that some conservative commentators peculiarly cheered as if tens of millions of people voting on race, rather than issues, was not a perversion of democracy to be ashamed of. It was the engine behind a campaign that was built on the insistence that updating our identity would also fix a constellation of problems. The folly of that had been demonstrated by Tony Blair's reign across the ocean, but few Americans had ever paid attention to him as anything but the neighbor next door who occasionally stopped by to offer military assistance or borrow a cup of steel tariffs.
The mistake that Americans rarely make, is the one that Muslim countries make all the time. The idea of an issue based democracy sounds good to them in theory, but the only issue that really ends up mattering is what role the Koran will play and what to do about all those "outsiders" who are causing all the problems. Attack their embassy and burn their churches. That will show them.

It takes a certain degree of maturity to take responsibility for causing your own problems. And that degree of maturity may also be what is required for representative government to be anything more than a lynch mob with a ballot box.

In the Muslim world problems are external, the work of secret conspiracies, international enemies and witches, not to mention black dogs, women and infidels. Unity comes from identifying that outside source of the problem and uniting against it. Then everyone can smile at a burning church, exchange photos of the Israeli flag being pulled down and feel like they have something in common.

The trouble with Muslim democracy is that democracy is only as good as the demos. When most of the population is unwilling to engage in self-criticism, but eager to create unity through bigotry, then its democracy will be a lynch mob with a ballot box. And no amount of rhetoric will change that. Only responsible people can use power responsibly, and while we are all irresponsible to a degree, the degree of our irresponsibility can be seen in the practice of our politics.

In the final analysis the trouble with Muslim democracy is the Muslims.

Egypt's army defends action in protest crackdown

Egyptian Christian women grieve before a mass funeral for victims of sectarian clashes with soldiers and riot police at a protest against an attack on a church in southern Egypt at Abassaiya Cathedral in Cairo October 10, 2011. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian generals defended on Wednesday the army's actions in cracking down on a Christian protest over a church attack that left 25 dead, denying charges that troops used live ammunition or that army vehicles crushed demonstrators under their wheels.
In the worst violence since Hosni Mubarak was ousted and which drew a storm of criticism of the army, activists said armored vehicles sped into a crowd on Sunday to disperse a protest in Cairo over an attack on a church building in southern Egypt.

Online videos showed mangled bodies. Activists said some people were crushed by wheels. Activists and a doctor said some dead had bullet wounds. The generals showed footage they said showed army vehicles avoiding demonstrators.

The violence, which drew criticism from Muslims and Christians alike, cast a shadow over the first election for parliament since Mubarak was ousted. Candidate registration began on Wednesday, while voting starts on November 28.

Generals called for unity between Christians and Muslims.

"The armed forces would never and have never opened fire on the people," said General Mahmoud Hegazy, a member of the council that has ruled since Mubarak, himself a former military commander, was driven out by a popular uprising.

The army was praised when it took control during the uprising for restraint in handling protests. But anger at the army has mounted as the transition to civilian rule has dragged on and for what activists say are increasingly tough tactics.

"We are careful to ensure a secure environment for parliamentary elections," General Adel Emara said.
The generals showed footage of an armored personnel carrier swerving around protesters. They also sought to pin the blame for inciting violence on "foreign elements."

"There has not been a case of rolling over people with vehicles," Emara said. Pointing at footage he showed at the news conference, he said: "They are trying to avoid running into protesters, not rolling over them."
Protesters had complained of people they described as "thugs" attacking the demonstration before the worst violence kicked off. The generals pledged to find the "group or party" that was seeking to derail Egypt's uprising.


One journalist, Samwel el-Ashay, described his experience to the generals: "There were thugs who tried to intercept the protest ... At a certain point, things got out of hand and the armored vehicles running around were actually rolling over protesters. I saw it with my eyes."

General Emara responded: "We welcome your comments and thank you for your testimony."
Amnesty International said some of the dead had bullet wounds. A doctor at a Coptic hospital had told reporters on Monday that 14 of the 17 dead brought in to his hospital had been hit by bullets. The doctor said three bodies were crushed.

"Egypt's Copts are part of the fabric of this society. All Egyptians are citizens with the same rights and obligations," Hegazy said. "This is a lesson that cannot simply pass us by. We must learn a lesson from this."
Christians, who make up 10 percent of Egypt's roughly 80 million people, had taken to the streets after accusing Muslim radicals of partially demolishing a church in Aswan province last week. They also demanded the sacking of the province's governor for failing to protect the building.

Christians have long complained of discrimination, pointing to laws they say make it easier to build a mosque than a church. Disputes over building places of worship are common in Egypt. But there has been a rise in violence against churches since the ousting of Mubarak, who had repressed Islamist groups.

"Regarding the issue of the church ... I think the issue is being looked into by the judiciary," Emara said.
Christians turned their fury on the army. They said protesters responded with stones and other projectiles only after the military used heavy-handed tactics. Military and other vehicles were set on fire in the violence.
"The power of the Egyptian people is in its unity. Egypt was never more in need of unity than it is now. The armed forces belong to the people whether Christian or Muslim," Hegazy said.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sharjah TV to broadcast arrest of 30 absconding housemaids


The raid and how police personnel break into the flat where 30 illegal housemaids hid will be shown on Wednesday
  • By Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporter
Sharjah: The arrest of 30 absconding housemaids will be broadcasting on Sharjah TV on Wednesday at 10.30pm, a Sharjah police official said.

The raid and how police personnel break into the flat where 30 illegal housemaids hid will be shown on Wednesday, said Colonel Sultan Abdullah Al Kheyyal, Sharjah Police's Director of Media and Public Relations.

An agent had informed the headmistress of a Sharjah school on how he was hiring the illegal housemaids and where he hid them. The headmistress called a police programme on Sharjah TV to inform them about the matter, said Colonel Al Kheyyal.

The headmistress told police she was scared to hear such news and she felt that she must inform authorities about the matter to protect the society from the danger of illegal maids, Colonel Al Kheyyal said.
He added that the raid took place with the cooperation of Sharjah Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs Department in addition to a number of Anjad patrols.

The police programme on TV went to the scene of the incident and showed how the illegal maids, belonging to different nationalities, were arrested , Colonel Al Kheyyal said

Md. Governor names four Circuit Court judges in Pr. George’s

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) this week appointed four people to serve as Circuit Court judges in Prince George’s County.

Three of the appointees have been serving as District Court judges.

The new Circuit Court judges are former District Court judges Krystal Q. Alves, Daneeka Varner Cotton, and Hassan A. El-Amin.

The governor also appointed John Paul Davey, an attorney who has practiced in Prince George’s for more than two decades, to the Circuit Court bench.

Alves was named to the District Court bench in 2005. She previously worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s and also in the county’s Office of Law, which defends the county against civil lawsuits.

Cotton was appointed to the District Court bench in 2006. In the 1990s, she worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s for several years, until she was appointed to the position of master in the family division of Circuit Court, a post she held until she was named to the District Court. She is the chairperson of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council in Prince George’s County.

El-Amin was appointed to the District Court in 2000, becoming the first Muslim named to the bench in Maryland. In March 2009, El-Amin landed in controversy when he released an 18-year-old man charged with murder to the custody of the defendant’s mother. A spokesman for then-State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey criticized the judge’s decision. Murder defendants in Prince George’s are rarely released on bond, and when they are, it is often for a high amount, generally no less than $500,000.

In an interview with The Washington Post, El-Amin defended his decision, saying the defendant, Sean Sykes, was entitled to the presumption of innocence and that he did not consider him a danger to the community or a flight risk.

“Our whole bond system is problematical,” El-Amin said then. “It’s barely constitutional.”
Sykes eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing of a man in Oxon Hill.

Davey has worked in private practice in Prince George’s for 21 years, officials said. From 1991 to 2003, Davey served as the county’s representative to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Davey also worked as the county’s chief administrative officer from 1987 to 1991.