Views From Kennewick

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blind man wins case after cabby refused dog

Anti-dhimmitude in British Columbia -- but only so far. By Brian Hutchinson for the National Post:

VANCOUVER - A blind man denied service from a Muslim taxi driver for "religious reasons" has been awarded $2,500, the result of a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal discrimination settlement reached on Friday and made public yesterday.

Bruce Gilmour estimates that Vancouver taxi drivers have passed him over "a hundred times, maybe 150 times" since he acquired his first guide dog in 1984. But an incident one evening last year with North Shore Taxi Ltd. was "the straw that broke the camel's back."

It was cold outside, and raining. Mr. Gilmour was attempting to return home after spending time with two friends at a West Vancouver coffee shop. The trio had just spent an active weekend at Whistler; Mr. Gilmour remains an avid skier despite being blinded in a 1977 car accident.

A taxi was called. On arrival, the driver would not allow Mr. Gilmour's golden retriever, Arden, into the car. An argument ensued and the cabbie then drove off, without his two passengers.

Mr. Gilmour complained to North Shore Taxi the next day.

He was told that the driver's Muslim faith prohibits him from associating with dogs, hence his refusal to provide service.

It was the first time Mr. Gilmour had ever heard such an excuse, and he said it made his blood boil....

Mr. Gilmour decided to fight back. He hired a lawyer, himself a Muslim, and filed a formal complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal, alleging discrimination.

Taxi driver Behzad Saidy and North Shore Taxi applied to have the complaint dismissed. Mr. Saidy filed a statement from a Muslim cleric, claiming that "Islam holds some restrictions toward certain animals, including dogs." The statement did not elaborate, and the tribunal denied the application to dismiss the discrimination complaint.

Mr. Gilmour consulted with his cleric. Imam Syed Jaffri leads the Az-zahraa Islamic Centre in Richmond, a Vancouver suburb. He "spent long hours on this," Mr. Gilmour said. "He provided an unbiased interpretation of the Koran that indicated there is nothing saying that one must refuse service to another person because of the fear of contamination by a dog."

On the other hand, Muslims who come into contact with dog saliva or dog hair are required to repeat their daily ablutions, washing their face, arms, hands, and feet, according to an expert in Islam whom the Vancouver Province interviewed last year.

The tribunal was to hear Mr. Gilmour's case on Monday; however, a settlement was reached last week with Mr. Saidy and his taxi company. "The parties have agreed to resolve Mr. Gilmour's complaint by balancing the rights of persons with seeing-eye dogs to obtain taxi service with the rights of Muslims to follow their religion," the settlement reads.

In the future, North Shore Taxi drivers with an "honest religious belief (Muslim) which precludes them from transporting certified guide dogs" must still respond to calls from blind people such as Mr. Gilmour. But they may ask their dispatch operators to send "the next available cab" to cover the service request.

August 16, 2007


"Radical Islam’s war with the West is not finite and limited to political grievances — real or imagined — but is existential, transcending time and space and deeply rooted in faith”


Here is a review of an essential new book that lays bare the jihadists' motivations and goals in their own words: Raymond Ibrahim's The Al-Qaeda Reader. There is no way we can resist and contain the jihadists, and stave off the Islamization of the West, without understanding how they recruit, the power of their appeal in the Islamic world, and the ways they explain what they are doing and why. This books cuts through the PC nonsense that still dominates the public discourse in the West and illuminates all that like no other book ever has.

"In Their Own Words: Newly translated writings of the al Qaeda leadership," by Bruce Thornton at VDH's Private Papers:

Given that war, as both Sun Tzu and Mohammed preached, is deception, it behooves us to understand accurately the enemy’s motivations and not be fooled by his deceiving propaganda. Yet in the current war against Islamic jihad, the West has stubbornly refused to take seriously what the jihadists tell us, believing instead what Thucydides called the “pretexts” with which an enemy rationalizes his aggression. Osama bin Laden and his theorist Aymin al Zawahiri in particular have provided us with numerous texts outlining the Islamic foundations of their war against the West. A few of these pronouncements and manifestoes have long been available, but now thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, writings previously unavailable in English can be studied and analyzed. Such study will provide powerful evidence that contrary to the deceptions of apologists and the naïve delusions of some Westerners, the bases of the jihadists’ actions lie squarely within Islamic tradition, not in the alleged Western crimes against Islam.

Fluent in Arabic and trained as a historian in the ancient Middle East, Ibrahim is currently a technician in the Library of Congress’ Near East Section, where he discovered al Qaeda documents that had not been translated into English. He has organized these writings into two sections: theology, writings intended for fellow Muslims that ground al Qaeda’s war against the West in the traditional Islamic doctrine of jihad; and propaganda, writings meant for Westerners that cast bin Laden’s war as a just response to the depredations of Western powers.

The documents in the first section make a sustained, coherent argument for offensive jihad based on the Koran, the Hadith (the traditions of the words and deeds of Mohammed), and the Ulema (past and present scholars of Islam). Indeed, as Ibrahim notes, “Zawahiri’s writings especially are grounded in Islam’s roots of jurisprudence; in fact, of the many thousands of words translated here from his three treatises, well more than half are direct quotations from the Koran the Sunna [words, habits, and practices] of Mohammed, and the consensus and conclusions of the Ulema.” This extensive grounding weakens the “highjacking” charge apologists use to explain Islamic jihad. On the contrary, al Qaeda’s arguments are unexceptionally traditional — which is why, of course, millions of Muslims accept them.

In these writings addressed to fellow Muslims, bin Laden and Zawahiri argue against the notion of “moderate” Islam; the compatibility of Sharia (laws governing Islamic society) with democracy; the idea of accommodation with the enemy; and the prohibition against killing women and children. In other words, they meticulously attack as distortions of Islam all the popular assertions about Islam’s nature promulgated by apologists, Westernized Muslims, and even many Christians. As bin Laden himself writes in “Moderate Islam Is a Prostration to the West” — a letter written to the Saudi theologians who in 2002 publicly advocated coexistence with the West — such moderation necessitates the adoption of Western values: “They [the Saudi theologians] first acknowledge their [Westerners’] values and ideologies in their entirety, while shying away from evoking the truth valued by the Religion [Islam] and its foundations.” Even the notion of “co-existence” is a Western idea contrary to Islam: “As if one of the foundations of our religion is how to coexist with infidels!” Quite the contrary: the traditions and foundations of Islam urge believers to “wage war against the infidels and the hypocrites, and be ruthless against them” (Koran 66:9), a verse Zawahiri quotes along with the commentary of al Qurtubi, 13th-century author of a 20-volume exegesis of the Koran: “There is but one theme — and that is zeal for the religion of Allah. He commands the waging of Jihad against the infidel by use of sword, sound sermons, and the summons to Allah.”

So too with other Western notions such as tolerance and “dialogue,” which bin Laden correctly asserts are “built on Western conceptions, which themselves rest upon the most loathsome, secular principles.” Indeed, bin Laden has a strong case, for he appeals for evidence to the life and practices of Mohammed and his companions — along with the Koran the Muslim’s guide to every aspect of life — and asks sarcastically, “What evidence is there for Muslims for this [dialogue and shared understanding]? What did the Prophet, the companions after him, and the righteous forebears do? Did they wage jihad against the infidels, attacking them all over the earth, in order to place them under the suzerainty of Islam in great humility and submission? Or did they send messages to discover ‘shared understandings’ between themselves and the infidels in order that they may reach an understanding whereby universal peace, security, and natural relations would spread — in such a satanic manner as this?”

History shows that bin Laden has the better understanding of Islam than do Western apologists; as Ibrahim summarizes the argument, “‘radical’ Islam is Islam — without exception.” In this same vein, Zawahiri argues in his “Loyalty and Enmity” that the only relationship one can have with the infidel is enmity. Zawahiri buttresses this argument with numerous quotations from Islamic theology, the most important coming from the Koran 60:4: “‘We disown you and the idols which you worship besides Allah. We renounce you: enmity and hate shall reign between us until you believe in Allah alone.’” On this authority comes the necessity to wage jihad against the infidel.

Perhaps the most important document in Ibrahim’s collection is Zawahiri’s “Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents.” For years, we have been told that terrorism is un-Islamic because Islam forbids suicide and the killing of non-combatants. Zawahiri, however, teases out from Islamic tradition a perfectly rational and coherent argument in support of terrorism and suicide bombings.

Zawahiri starts by repeating Islam’s acceptance of deception in war as justified, thus legitimizing suicide bombings, which are deceptive by nature. Next, he builds his argument on selected hadiths, which as Ibrahim notes requires some interpretive stretching. Zawahiri gets around this difficulty by resorting to analogy, “a legitimate tool of Islamic jurisprudence,” as Ibrahim reminds us. Zawahiri focuses on intention, why the Muslim kills himself, not who kills him: “Thus the deciding factor in all these situations is one and the same: the intention — is it to service Islam [martyrdom] or is it out of depression and [despair]?” As for killing women and children, Mohammed himself provides a precedent during the siege of Ta’if, where he used catapults. The Prophet’s response to the question of killing women and children, which of course catapult missiles would do perforce, was “They [women and children] are from among them [infidels].” Again, the ultimate intention is the key: referring to al Shafi’ and the Hanbalis, two schools of Islamic jurisprudence, Zawahiri argues that it is permissible “to bombard the idolators even if Muslims and those who are cautioned against killing are intermingled with them as long as there is a need or an obligation for Muslims to do so, or if not striking leads to a delay of the jihad.”

Zawahiri’s reasoning in defense of suicide bombing may be ultimately unconvincing to many Muslims, or unsustainable by more careful exegesis. But the mere fact that such a case can be made — something impossible to do in the Christian, or Hebraic, or Hindu, or Buddhist traditions — and that millions of faithful Muslims accept the case, speaks volumes about the “religion of peace.”


These leftist bromides appear over and over in subsequent speeches and manifestoes, and testify to bin Laden’s shrewd recognition of the West’s Achilles heel: the appeasing proclivities of its elite intellectuals who, riddled with self-loathing guilt, are incapable of defending their way of life and its highest goods.


The Al Qaeda Reader, simply by letting our enemies speak in their own voices, explodes the popular delusion that Western crimes and policies are responsible for the “distortion” of Islam that al Qaeda represents. As Ibrahim writes, “This volume of translations, taken as whole, prove once and for all that, despite the propaganda of Al Qaeda and its sympathizers, Radical Islam’s war with the West is not finite and limited to political grievances — real or imagined — but is existential, transcending time and space and deeply rooted in faith.” This means that the fight will be long and hard, that leaving Iraq or creating a Palestinian state will not buy peace, and that the side that accurately understands its enemy and has confidence in its own beliefs will ultimately triumph. Thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, we have the means for achieving that understanding.

August 22, 2007


August 23, 2007

Suicides among women on the rise in Turkey, many believed to be coerced as a form of "honor killing"

"Invariably, survivors said it was their kader, or destiny, to meet such an end."

"When wrong boyfriends or clothes lead daughters to kill themselves," by Helena Smith for The Guardian:

Nuran Uca never made it to 61 Aydin Arslan Street. If she had gone to the colourful two-storey building, climbed its narrow stairwell, walked down a corridor and sat in the plump brown armchair that so many other women had used, she might be alive today. There, with counsellors from the Kam-er support group, she could have talked about the "crime" of falling in love with a man she could never marry.
Instead, on June 14 the Kurdish woman succumbed to the phenomenon that is claiming lives in this Kurdish area of south-east Anatolia: she hanged herself in the bathroom of her home.
"She was just 25 but it was especially tragic because both were teachers, educated people," said Remziye Tural at Kam-er, the women's organisation that has become a lifeline in Turkey's poor south-east for those who face death because of a perception of dishonour. "She was modern and wore tight clothes - which is why his family rejected her.
She was banned by her parents from seeing or speaking to him, and then they stopped her leaving the house. In the end the pressure was too much."
Invariably, survivors said it was their kader, or destiny, to meet such an end.
But women's groups and human rights advocates believe the suicides are tantamount to murder. Stories have emerged of girls as young as 12 being locked in rooms for days with rope, poison or a pistol.
"There's a lot of evidence to suggest that these are, in fact, 'honour killings' passed off as suicides - that these girls are being forced to take their own lives," said Aytekin Sir, a psychiatrist who has studied the practice. There is no evidence that Nuran Uca's family forced their daughter to kill herself.
Last year, Yakin Erturk, a special UN envoy, arrived at the same conclusion, saying "honour suicides" had clearly begun to replace "honour killings", with the deaths increasingly being disguised as accidents.
Death sentences
For a long time the potent forces of fear and shame in the communities stopped young women visiting the Kam-er centre on Aydin Arlsan Street. But recently at least four girls a day have gone there, often in fear of death sentences issued by their fathers and brothers for infractions perceived to have brought shame on their families.
Nearly one-fifth of those who walked through the doors of the organisation since it started up in 1997 complained of threats from their families. Some had received text messages on their mobile phones saying typically: "You have blackened our name. Kill yourself or we will kill you."
According to Vildan Aycicek, at the organisation's headquarters in the city of Diyarbakir, west of Batman: "Women apply to us when they think they cannot survive the violence any longer. Most are illiterate and don't know their legal rights. If they do, they have no idea how to use them."
There had, she said, been cases of Kurdish and Turkish women calling Kam-er's hotline from Britain and other countries saying they also feared for their lives. Worldwide, the numbers of "honour killings" are notoriously difficult to estimate. But in Turkey the vengeful practice is cited by academics as the cause of death for hundreds of women each year - far above the official annual figure of 70. Sometimes adultery, or a woman's desire for divorce, prompts an all-male "family council" to order a killing.
But the list of "offences" is long: rape, incest, pregnancy brought on by both, a girl ringing into a radio chat show, exchanging eye contact with a boy or wearing a skimpy shirt. Sometimes accusations are no more than rumours.
One villager near Diyarbakir explained the attitude of his home area. "Without rules you have chaos," said Seyikan Arslan. "If my sister or my mother made a mistake we [men] would have to make it right. They would have to pay to cleanse our honour."
The culture clash has played a large part in exacerbating tensions within families and particularly between patriarchal fathers and their female offspring. "Migration is behind the big rise in honour and suicide killings," said Dr Sir, whose research found that support for the deaths far outstripped other popular penalties such as a woman having her nose sliced off or head shaved.
Ironically, the suicides have also been blamed on Turkey's efforts to stop "honour crimes". With Ankara's reforming Islamic-rooted government determined to enter the EU, it has toughened laws against the killings. Lenient sentences for those who cite provocation as a mitigating factor are no longer possible. So, to save men from a life in prison, experts believe families are instead forcing women to kill themselves.
Absent from the campaign in Batman has been the mayor, Huseyin Kalkan, who was awarded damages by DC Comics after a lawsuit over the use of his town's name for the superhero Batman. That money, activists point out, could be used to save women like Nuran Uca.


Belgium: Muslims want ban on Easter eggs

Not that there is a dominant culture that has a right to express itself. Oh, no. "Muslims want ban on Easter eggs," from Expatica (thanks to Diana West):

ANTWERP – "If headscarves are banned for employees who work at the desk at city services in order to guarantee neutrality of services, then we demand that no Christmas trees be set up in city buildings and that no Easter eggs be given out." Antwerp trade union representative Badia Miri said this on Wednesday in the Gazet van Antwerpen.

Miri is one of the seven Muslim women who were forced to remove their headscarves if they wanted to continue working at the desk. Three of the seven staff members of the city of Antwerp who wore headscarves agreed to stop wearing one. Different positions - not involving contact with the public - were found for the others. No one was dismissed. There is still opposition to the dress code however, which came into effect in March. The seven Muslim women are now urging that "neutrality of service provision be actually enforced."

"The Antwerp city government says that neutrality is endangered if staff wear a cross or headscarf," says Miri. "But in our experience action has only been taken against the Muslim women. If the city government is really concerned about neutrality, then Christmas trees and Easter eggs should no longer be allowed at work. We are asking that a contact point be set up to report all violations of the dress code."

August 22, 2007


Fitzgerald: The point of CNN's religious fundamentalism series

Christiane Amanpour has at least one parent who was part of what one would have hoped to describe as the intelligent secular ancien regime. They were the people pushed out by Khomeini and his epigones, and therefore, one would have thought, comprehending the nature of Islam. Well, it turns out that not everyone who has fled Iran quite has that necessary understanding. Some like to pretend that Khomeini is a sport, when the real sport was the Shah and his father, in their de-emphasis on Islam, their emphasis on the pre-Islamic past of Iran, and their willingness to limit the power of the mullahs -- and, above all, to give the non-Muslims of Iran, the Christians, Jews, and Baha'is, reasonable security and even something akin to legal equality.

But Amanpour does not realize that. Nor, in her aggressive climb through the media ranks, has she stopped to study Islam. She has not stopped to find out what happened to the Zoroastrians or what happens to them in Iran today. She has not stopped to find out why, even in the 20th century, a Jew could be killed for going out in the rain (where a drop might ricochet off him and hit an innocent Muslim with this raindrop of najis-ness, thus contaminating him).

She might, that is, have begun with the history of Islam in Iran and considered the treatment of non-Muslims, and how Shah Abbas II overnight ordered the conversion of all the Jews and Armenians in an Iranian city (possibly Tabriz), and why the real, as opposed to the Iranian exile's dreamy fictional history of Iran, is full of such episodes. She might have gotten hold of E. J. Browne's work on Persian literature, and studied Hafiz and Sa'adi. She might have read Omar Khayyam, and come to realize just how un-Islamic he was. She might have read the Shahnameh of Firdowsi, and seen how his literary talent was put to work preventing the linguistic and cultural imperialism of the Arabs from successfully coming to damage and then overwhelm the Iranian culture. She might have done a special program on Islam as a vehicle of Arab cultural and linguistic imperialism, and used Iran as an example of one place where it did not succeed as it did elsewhere.

Oh, there are many things that raw-boned massive Christiane Amanpour might have done, if she had allowed herself the leisure to think, and be something more than one more media star, one more mere reporter incapable of making sense of what she reports on.

But she did none of it. She clawed and clawed to the top. She entered into a mariage blanc, a white marriage of grayish convenience, with James Rubin. She travels, she reports from here, she reports from there. She is like so many of them, with their fabulous salaries, their baseless self-assurance, their inability to convey anything difficult, anything that requires instructing us rather than feeding us visual and verbal pablum.

If you have seen the presentation of those "Christian fundamentalists" (read: Fanatics), then you will observe how carefully the cameramen have captured those flags, and taken shots of hands uplifted in prayer or hallelujahs to make sure the viewer gets the impression of a Nuremberg rally, with these "Christians" heil-hitlering all over the place. Very carefully done, very artfully and deliberately done. She, Christiane Amanpour, is of course determined to make this group of Christians look as bad as possible, and then to convince us that they represent a huge number of people, and to do the same, when their time comes, to those wild-eyed fanatical Jews, those "Biblical settlers" who think -- imagine that! -- that the Land of Israel, that gigantic land, practically the size of Connecticut or is it Massachusetts, was given in a Covenant to the Jews. What a terrible thing, what a thing so utterly comparable, is it not, to the view in Islam that the entire world belongs to Muslims, and that they must by right dominate everywhere?

Do you see a little something not quite symmetrical in her view, in her presentation, or that of her crew, so willing to play ball? Meanwhile, one wonders how she can stand herself. And why CNN so obviously insults us, in reducing the menace of Islam, the menace that only a fool could ignore, and the full scope of which, based on immutable texts, becomes clearer to the intelligent every day, to something like the non-existent menace from those wild-eyed Nurembergian Christians, with Amanpour as their recording Riefenstahl, or those crazy "West Bank" settlers, in their trailers, choosing to live among a million Arabs -- "Palestinians" -- who of course have every right to be there, because...well, isn't the Middle East the same thing as the Arab World, after all? Where do those pesky remnants of Jews, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Copts, Maronites, Mandeans, Yazidis, Armenians, and all the others come from? Why don't they go back where they came from? The "Arab World," the "Muslim Arab World" -- now that's more like it. That's just the ticket.

Because, you see, Every Group Has Its Crazies. And those crazies, you see, are exactly alike, in what they want, and how they act, and the size of the demands they make on the rest of us. But exactly.

That's the point of this series. You didn't think there was another point, did you?

August 21, 2007


Nearly 4,000 Women Arrested In Iranian Dress Code Enforcement Sweep

Sharia Alert from Iran, via MEMRI's blog (thanks to Writer Mom):

The commander of the Intelligence Police for Public Security Affairs in Gilan province in northern Iran, Yadollah Hosseini, has announced the arrest by security forces of 3,925 women in the province, under the country's campaign to enforce the Islamic dress code.

He added that legal proceedings against 2,077 of them were underway, and that warnings had been issued to 25,214 women.

Source: Baztab, Iran, August 15, 2007

August 17, 2007



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