Thursday, February 26, 2015

American Atheist Writer and Blogger Avijit Roy Hacked to Death by Jihadist Assassins

Avijit Roy, his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna and their daughter (from his Facebook page)
Bangladeshi-born but naturalized American citizen Avijit Roy was hacked to death by Jihadist assassins earlier today in Dacca, the capital of Bangladesh. His wife, who was with him, survived, but lost the fingers of her left hand. The couple had travelled to Bangladesh to attend a book fair that featured two of Dr. Roy's recent books.

Bangladesh has a constitutionally secular government but contains an 85% majority Muslim population and a rising violent Islamist movement. A number of secular writers and bloggers have been threatened recently, with one murdered last year. Dr. Roy was a marked man, and one online Bangladeshi publishing house had recently pulled his books, due to threats.

His Facebook page is filled with shocked comments and tributes. Here are some more Facebook pictures of Dr. Roy and his family:

Avijit Roy loved his family. He also loved the truth. In the end he gave his life for it.

Please pray. Or if not,


Monday, February 23, 2015

Patrick McGoohan and The Prisoner, Part 1

This series is cross-posted to Save Versus All Wands, my gaming blog.

I was first exposed to Patrick McGoohan and The Prisoner when I saw a re-run of the show on English television in 1983-84 while I was an undergraduate in London. When I returned to the States I became an evangelist for the show among my friends. I loved The Prisoner (which originally ran in 1967-68) and still think it is one of the finest series television has produced. At the time I was also a newbie "libertarian" and hung out on the fringes of the Libertarian Alliance folks associated with the Alternative Bookshop (closed long ago) in London. One of the LA founders, Chris Tame, wrote a paper called "Different Values" where he identified The Prisoner as quintessentially libertarian and individualist (which is sort of an obvious point, but it's wonderful essay) and cited McGoohan for playing other great individualist characters such as the title character of Ibsen's Brand on the London stage in 1959 (also videotaped by the BBC and available on DVD as well as YouTube) and John Drake in Danger Man (aka Secret Agent), 1960-62, 64-68, the forerunner of The Prisoner. McGoohan quickly became one of my heroes.

For the fun of it, here's the famous three-minute opening sequence. Absolutely brilliant:

I didn't know McGoohan's formal politics (if he had any). I did remember seeing an interview with him as a grumpy old man where he made grumpy old man snarks at Ronald Reagan. (In checking into it, I discovered that the interview I saw was made in 1985, when he was only 57 or 58. It's available on YouTube in two parts here and here). So I always imagined that the actor's politics were at least vaguely leftist.

And I still don't know precisely what his formal politics were (McGoohan passed away in 2009). And do be honest I didn't care then and I don't care now. But today (sort of randomly), I found out something fascinating that I never knew.

McGoohan was a devout Catholic.

On that tantalizing note, I'm going to leave things here. This will be a three part series of posts (this one is the first). The second part will discuss McGoohan's Catholic Faith and how it influenced his acting career. The last will discuss the individualism expressed by The Prisoner as well as by McGoohan himself in his acting choices. Is it necessarily libertarian? Can it be Catholic (presumably McGoohan thought so)? And what of the relation between libertarianism and Catholicism. Are they opposed? Can they be reconciled? I think this will be fun. But for now

Be seeing you...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Brigitte Bardot on Trial Once Again for Insulting Islam

She is Charlie

Brigitte Bardot is on trial again in France for violating the country's hate speech laws prohibiting the incitement of discrimination, violence or harm against protected categories including those of race and religion.

Bardot has been charged with insulting Islam.

(Well, technically, it's Muslims, but please don't try arguing that there's a meaningful difference in this context.)

Indeed, this is the fifth time she has been so charged. She has lost the previous four cases, paid fines totaling thousands of Euros and received two "suspended" jail sentences. (For many of the quotes below as well as links to the original sources, see the Wikipedia articles on Brigitte Bardot and France's Hate Speech Laws.)

What precisely Bardot said this time, to whom and in what context has not been reported (as far as I can tell). In the past however, she has made statements such as these:
My country, France, my homeland, my land is again invaded by an overpopulation of foreigners, especially Muslims (1999). 
Over the last twenty years, we have given in to a subterranean, dangerous, and uncontrolled infiltration, which not only resists adjusting to our laws and customs but which will, as the years pass, attempt to impose its own (2003). 
I am fed up with being under the thumb of this (Muslim) population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its habits (2008).
Now, Bardot has courted controversy on other matters, including animal rights (she's very much in favor) and homosexuality. On the latter, it appears that she was guilty of using politically incorrect analysis and potentially offensive language, but tagging her as a "homophobe" would be bizarre in the full context. Here's Wikipedia on 2/22/15 (the !'s were added by me):
In (her 2003) book, she also contrasted her close gay friends with today's homosexuals, who "jiggle their bottoms, put their little fingers in the air and with their little castrato voices moan about what those ghastly heteros put them through" and that some contemporary homosexuals behave like "fairground freaks". In her own defence, Bardot wrote in a letter to a French gay magazine: "Apart from my husband — who maybe will cross over one day as well (!) — I am entirely surrounded by homos (!!). For years, they have been my support, my friends, my adopted children, my confidants."

She has also called Sarah Palin "stupid" for being against gun control and against efforts to arrest global warming.

In other words Brigitte Bardot, like many public celebrities, has been outspoken on a number of issues--some putting her on the "right", more putting her on the "left" and a few just being, well, curmudgeonly (she's now 73). In France, that can get you into legal trouble.

In addition to suppressing criticism of Islam, the current French hate speech laws have been directed against Holocaust deniers as well as being invoked by Christian groups to suppress public advertisements and the like that they have deemed offensive--a satirical picture of a naked Jesus wearing a condom, for example. And it's not just the "major" groups. Recently, Bob Dylan was briefly charged with insulting Croats.

Thus, all sorts of interest groups can attempt to bring "offenders" to trial, with the results--whether the accused party is acquitted or convicted--being then somewhat arbitrary (or so it seems to me, looking at the record). Sometimes the accusations are struck down, sometimes the culprit is fined and in a few cases the guilty party has even been given a prison sentence (though as far as I know, they have all been suspended). Looking at the list of cases--one involving Charlie Hebdo (what a surprise)--I can find no general rule for why some have succeeded and some have not. What is clear is that the laws act as a deterrent to expressing all sorts of views, although in a few sorts of cases--such as Holocaust denial--they may even encourage such speech in that the accused party is guaranteed to get a certain amount of notoriety and publicity from it.

But most of the notorious cases have been against critics of Islam, with Salman Rushdie, Oriani Fallaci, Michel Houellebecq, Charlie Hebdo and of course Bardot, heading the list. And since Islam is now on the table, so to speak, it seems plausible that the greatest current effect of these laws is to suppress criticism of Islam.

But what about "Je suis Charlie" and all that?

Don't ask me. As my good friend John Kerry once said, "The French are...the French."

But there's no question that Brigitte Bardot has been particularly hard hit. As far as I can tell she has the record for these silly prosecutions.

In the current case the prosecutor has asked for the largest fine ever--€15,000 and a two-month jail sentence (though, as noted above, one suspects--and hopes--it would be suspended). Indeed, the prosecutor seems grumpy about it all--"I am a little tired of prosecuting Mrs. Bardot."

Well, whose fault is that?

Je suis Charlie, everyone.

Friday, February 20, 2015

What if Muslims Wrote the Declaration of Independence? Second Report From Opposite World

President Obama, opening the recent White House Summit on Violent Extremism by singing Yankee Doodle Dandy in Arabic

Obama: "Islam Has Been Woven Into the Fabric of Our Country Since Its Founding."

Do not believe the infidel lies! Here is the actual text of the Declaration of Independence, as recently retranslated (from the surviving copy at the Smithsonian):
Recite! Oh, Muslims, when in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people who have submitted to the will of Allah to conquer another people who have not so submitted, and to assume among the powers granted by Allah the Most High, the superior station to which all Muslims are entitled, a decent respect to the opinions of the scholars at Al-Azhar University in Cairo requires that they should declare the particular clauses of the Koran that justify their actions. 
Listen well! We hold these truths to be revealed to us through Mohammed (peace be upon him), that all men are created slaves of Allah, the Most High, and their only purpose is to submit to Him. If they do, they will be granted virgins and cool running streams. If they do not, they will be punished with burning necklaces of coals wrapped around them for all eternity--That to secure these ends Allah has decreed that the entire earth be put under Islam--That whenever any other nation or government opposes those ends, it is the right of all Muslims to alter or abolish it, and to institute the Caliphate over it, laying its foundation in Sharia Law. Prudence indeed will dictate that Muslims should often hide their true purposes, arguing that Islam is after all, merely a “religion of peace.” Current experience has shewn that the infidels are likely to believe this. But when a long train of terrorist attacks alerts some of them to our true goals, we can be confident that their own self-hatred will prevent the bulk of them from opposing us. It is our right, it is our duty to infiltrate their societies in the hopes of throwing off their infidel governments and establishing true Muslim rule throughout their lands—Such has been our patient aim for 1000 years; and such is the necessity imposed upon us by the glorious Koran and the example of Mohammed (peace be upon him). The recent history of the world is the history of the inexorable advance of Islam, all having as its direct object the establishment of an absolute Caliphate… 
...Submit! For the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Will of Allah, we pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred honor to Sheikh Osama Bin Laden and the leadership of Al Qaeda.

Budail Gwinnett
Leron Hall
Gamali Walton
Wakil Hooper
Jamal Hewes
Jaun Penn
Emir Rutledge
Tarif Heyward, Jr.
Taj Lynch, Jr.
Abdul Middleton
Jibril Hancock
Samien Chase
Wajid Paca
Talib Stone
Cemal Carroll of Carrollton
Ghazwan Wythe
Ramadan Henry Lee
Tamir Jefferson
Bashshar Harrison
Tamam Nelson, Jr.
Farook Lightfoot Lee
Coman Braxton
Ruwayd Morris
Barakah Rush
Bandar Franklin
Jawad Morton
Ghassan Clymer
Jawhar Smith
Gadil Taylor
Jamim Wilson
Ghazwan Ross
Cemal Rodney
Gadil Read
Tamir Mckean
Wajid Floyd
Qutb Livingston
Farhan Lewis
Lutfi Morris
Rasul Stockton
Jabbar Witherspoon
Fareeq Hopkinson
Jasim Hart
Abdul-Basir Clark
Jameel Bartlett
Wajih Whipple
Sa’ib Adams
Jihad Adams
Rimon Treat Paine
Emir Gerry
Shadin Hopkins
Wakil Ellery
Rasul Sherman
Safiy al DinHuntington
Wajih Williams
Omar Wolcott
Mahbub Thompson

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On That Peaceful Koran Quote: "He Who Kills a Man, Kills Everyone," or Whatever

Minneapolis Imam Sheikh Sa'ad Musse 
The title quote is one of the two most fibbed about quotes from the Koran. The other is, "There is no compulsion in religion". We'll cover the second in another post.

The recent White House Summit on Violent Extremism (otherwise called The White House Summit to Protect Islam) opened with a Minnesota Imam (pictured above) reading a prayer in Arabic--Sura (Chapter) 5, verse 32 of the Koran. Why did the Summit open with a Muslim prayer? Why were there no other prayers from other religions? Go to it, conspiracy theorists!

Actually, there's no conspiracy, per se. President Obama is enthusiastically pro-Islam. And it's very much in the open. You know, "The future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet," and all that.

But we digress.

The verse (5:32) was translated by another Minnesota Imam as saying,
Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption in the land, it’s as if he has slain mankind entirely, and whoever saves one life, it’s as if he has saved mankind entirely.
The second Imam is lying.

Here's the full verse (redacted parts of the prayer, not what was actually translated, are in bold):
Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.
This is taken from The Noble Qur'an, online. But any other English translation of the Koran--online or otherwise--yields the same meaning.

That verse is followed by this one--5.33 (duh):
Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,
So there are a number of things that now become obvious:
  1. Verse 5:32, far from being a lovely general pronouncement, appears to be yet another Koranic exercise in Jew bashing: "I (Allah) told the Jews this, and they ignored it! Those Jewish jerks."
  2. For those who care about these things, the verse appears to be another miss-mash of later Jewish commentary (from the Talmud), 7th century folk-tales and somewhat misunderstood stuff from Genesis. Why killing one man would be equivalent to killing all men or whatever, is left unexplained. Why would Allah leave it unexplained in his final and perfect pronouncement on all things, etc? (Perhaps because Mohammed himself didn't understand it or was not fully familiar with the sources? Nah, that couldn't be.)
  3. The verse itself contains an escape clause--"unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land"--that Muslim murderers and terrorists have explicitly used.
  4. But in any case, the verse that follows it makes it clear that the "decree" doesn't apply anymore, or at least doesn't apply to Muslims--"Kill, crucify, cut of their hands and feet (from opposite sides) or exile the jerky jerk infidels"
Can I pick exile please?

Am I leaving anything out? Yes. I confess it. The next verse says:
Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
So, if you come back to Islam (before they catch you) you won't have your hands and feet cut off from opposite sides. Islam is a religion of peace.

Repent and you'll get virgins (or raisins).

Now, if you've been following the news, you might have read that some of the ISIS hostages took Muslim names, etc. in the vain hope of saving themselves. ISIS killed them anyway. Which either shows that:
  1. ISIS is skeptical of supposed "conversions" made only under the threat of death.
  2. ISIS takes the "before you apprehend them" clause seriously. Or,
  3. ISIS is completely and utterly perverting the beautiful, tolerant and peaceful Muslim faith.
Given the above, it is clear that many Muslims (including so-called "moderates") are simply lying about what the Koran actually says. Post-Christians (agnostics, atheists and "soft" or "liberal" Christians) answer this sort of thing by in effect saying, so what?--you can "cherry-pick" positive or negative things like this from any religion or religious text.

This merely shows that they don't take any religious text very seriously. As if people choose a religion randomly or whatever and then should just go with the good quotes, discarding the bad ones, without context or any historical understanding or analysis, etc. If you do otherwise, then you are a "fundamentalist".

On the other hand many honest atheists (among others) realize that this is an evasion. Let's stipulate for the sake of argument, that there is no God and there are no miracles, etc., and that all religions are to one degree or another, essentially fantasies. Even so, it still matters what they claim, and how people interpret what they claim.

Let's look at it another way. Hitler and the Nazis believed in the metaphysical conception of the "Volk". Now, in actuality, there is no volk. But in terms of evaluating how Nazis behave, it makes no difference. They believed in it (or some did), and to a certain extent they acted on it. Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Christians also believe in fictional entities (again, for the sake of the same argument). But the question is, which fictional entities do they believe in? I think that believing in the actual existence of 900,000 gods (or whatever it is that Hinduism claims) is silly. But if my neighbor believes it, I will not feel threatened. Hey man, I have a few silly beliefs too. On the other hand, if my neighbor believes that there is one God and if you don't accept that, you should have your hands and feet cut off from opposite sides, then I'm going to be a bit nervous.

Once again, just so there is no misunderstanding, I'll choose exile please.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oscar Wilde on The Massacre of the Christians in Bulgaria

Given the recent mass killings and public murders of Christians in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and now Libya, I thought it would be relevant to post Wilde's 1881 sonnet. (It's also featured in the "Catholics on Islam" section of this blog--see above) The poem refers to a specific atrocity--well-reported in Europe at the time--the "Batak Massacre" of perhaps 5,000 men, women and children by Muslim troops during the so-called April Uprising against the Ottoman Empire. But of course at its base it is a skeptical (though, in my view, very human) piece, asking the general question of why God allows violence against the innocent.
On the Massacre of the Christians in Bulgaria:
CHRIST, dost thou live indeed? or are thy bones
Still straightened in their rock-hewn sepulchre?
And was thy Rising only dreamed by Her
Whose love of thee for all her sin atones?
For here the air is horrid with men’s groans,
The priests who call upon thy name are slain,
Dost thou not hear the bitter wail of pain
From those whose children lie upon the stones?
Come down, O Son of God! incestuous gloom
Curtains the land, and through the starless night
Over thy Cross the Crescent moon I see!
If thou in very truth didst burst the tomb
Come down, O Son of Man! and show thy might,
Lest Mahomet be crowned instead of Thee!
For a fascinating biography of this oft quoted but greatly misunderstood artist, see The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde by Joseph Pearce. Pearce writes biographies of Catholics. Wilde just made it into the club before the clock ran out.

Monday, February 16, 2015

NRG: 10 Hours of Fear and Loathing in Paris

The video and accompanying article were published yesterday by NRG, the media website of Maariv, one of the three main Hebrew daily newspapers in Israel. The story was quickly picked up by some influential anti-Islam and pro-Israel websites and bloggers. In the last few hours the Daily Mail and other British newspapers have given it front-page billing. The Drudge Report started linking to it this morning but a few hours ago began to feature it as their headline story under the title "Jew Hell in Paris".

So the idea was to walk through the streets of Paris as an "obvious" Jew and see what happened. A similar experiment was done by a Swedish Television station a month or so ago in Malmo, Sweden. The results--the taunts, harassments, threats and so on--were similar. The difference is that Malmo has a population that is probably 30% Muslim and a Jewish population that has shrunk to a mere few hundred. Paris has a Muslim population of perhaps 15% and a Jewish population of a quarter-million.

Also, it's Paris.

Here is the video:

And here is the original text from Zvika Klein, the reporter that created the video:
10 Hours of Fear and Loathing in Paris 
One month after the terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris, NRG's correspondent, wearing a tzitzit and a kippa, took what proved to be an intimidating walk across the French capital. "What is he doing here Mommy? Doesn’t he know he will be killed?" one little boy asked, saying it all 
PARIS – "Go f*** from the front and the back," "Viva Palestine," "Hey you, with the kippa, what are you doing here?" these were only a few of the remarks sent my way as I was walking through the streets of Paris wearing a tzitzit and a kippa. 
Welcome to Paris 2015, where soldiers are walking every street that houses a Jewish institution, and where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner. Walking down one Parisian suburb, I was asked what I doing there. In modern-day Paris, you see, Jews are barred from entering certain areas. 
About six months ago, New Yorker Shoshana Roberts uploaded a video to YouTube in which she documented the sexist remarks and harassment she suffered during 10 hours of walking down the streets of the Big Apple. After the Jan. 9 attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris, where four people were murdered for the sole reason of being Jewish, we decided to see what it was like for a Jew living in the City of Lights. 
For 10 hours I quietly walked down the streets and suburbs of Paris, with photographer Dov Belhassen documenting the day using a GoPro camera hidden in his backpack. Given the tensions in Paris, which is still reeling from a wave of terrorist attacks (including the murder of Charlie Hebdo magazine journalists), I was assigned a bodyguard. 
In zero-degree weather, thousands of Frenchmen braved the cold wind on their way to just another day at the office. We started walking – first through the quieter quarters of the city, across from the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-ֹlysיes, and the Jewish neighborhoods, and later through the mostly Muslim neighborhoods. 
Areas known as tourist attractions were relatively calm, but the further from them we walked, the more anxious I became over the hateful stares, the belligerent remarks, and the hostile body language. 
At times it was like walking in downtown Ramallah. Most women were wearing a veil or a hijab, most men appeared to be Muslim, and Arabic was prevalent everywhere. We decided ahead of time that I was to walk through these areas quietly, without stopping anywhere, without speaking to anyone, without so much as looking sideways. My heart was pounding and negative thoughts were running through my head. I would be lying if I said I was not afraid. 
"Just like Ramallah" 
Walking into a public housing neighborhood, we came across a little boy and his hijab-clad mother, who were clearly shocked to see us. "What is he doing here Mommy? Doesn’t he know he will be killed?" the boy asked. 
Walking by a school in one of Paris' neighborhoods, a boy shouted "Viva Palestine" at me. Moments later, passing by a group of teens, one of the girls remarked, "Look at that – it's the first time I've ever seen such a thing." 
Walking down another neighborhood, a driver stopped his car and approached us. "We've been made," I thought. "What are you doing here?" he asked. "We've had reports that you were walking around our neighborhood – you're not from around here." 
In one of the mostly-Muslim neighborhoods, we walked into an enclosed marketplace. "Look at him! He should be ashamed of himself. What is he doing walking in here wearing a kippa?!" one Muslim merchant yelled. "What do you care? He can do whatever he wants," another, seemingly unfazed merchant, answered. Over at a nearby street I was lambasted with expletives, mostly telling me to "go f*** from the front and the back." 
At a nearby cafe, fingers were pointed at us, and moments later two thugs were waiting for us on the street corner. They swore at me, yelled "Jew" and spat at me. "I think we've been made," the photographer whispered at me. Two youths were waiting for us on the next street corner, as they had apparently heard that a Jew was walking around their neighborhood. 
They made it clear to us that we had better get out of there, and we took their advice. "A few more minutes and this would have been a lynching," the bodyguard told me as we were getting into the car. "Leave this area right now." 
Is this what life is like for Paris' Jews? Is this what a Jew goes through, day in and day out, while walking to work or using public transportation? The majority of French Jews do not flaunt their religion, as the Jewish community leaders have urged them to wear hats as they walk to and from work, or go bareheaded. But what about nighttime? Well, Jews prefers to stay inside in the evening. It is safer at home.
What do we learn in the video?

Well, obviously, Paris is now quite hostile to Jews. Much of Paris is now very Muslim in an obvious way, in many areas "keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner". The publicly expressed anti-Semitism in the video is exclusively a Muslim thing. Therefore, Paris is hostile to Jews because it now has a large (and growing) Muslim population. 

Let's assume the "best-case" scenario, that Western leaders acknowledge that we're in a war with Islamic "extremism". The problem is, for the most part the abusive and threatening Muslims in the video do not appear to be "extremists" in the usual sense--that is young males with automatic weapons, plotting with their Al Qaeda cell member mates at internet cafes or whatever.

Instead, there's a merchant, a little boy, a teenage girl walking with her mother or grandmother (she's the one that spits at the guy).

Anti-Semitism in the French Muslim community is virulent and deep. These views are almost certainly held by a majority (whether they take the time to spit or not).

At the same time we should acknowledge that they are not unanimous. Recall the merchant who rebuked his comrade--"What do you care? He can do whatever he wants".
So, no ideology is completely corrupting. There are good men everywhere. The problem of course, is often there are not enough. Will that good Muslim merchant still feel free to air his thoughts when Paris is 40% Muslim?

Where is this headed? Defeating the "extremists" won't defeat this. I imagine most Jews will move out of France.

And what of attitudes among non-Muslims, including those in this country (the USA)? So, you're against anti-Semitism but you also decry "Islamophobia"? Listen carefully:

You're either lying (you don't really give a fig about anti-Semitism) or ignorant. Indeed, at this point, if you claim to follow the news, you're willfully ignorant. Or your hate for either the Judeo-Christian religious tradition or liberal Western civilization, is such that it has blinded you utterly--"Muslims oppose those things--well then, they must be the good guys, or at least the victims then". Or you're just a coward who is terrified of going against what seems to be the dominant zeitgeist.

You scream "Islamophobe!" Well, what have you done to help your brother?

This will not end well for anyone, least of all (as usual) for the Jews.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Breaking: Copenhagen Killer Had Been Released From Prison Two Weeks Before

Hussein on Saturday, carrying an automatic weapon and two handguns
Danish born Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, identified as Saturday's Copenhagen shooter, had been released from prison two weeks before, after serving part of a sentence for a 2013 knife attack on a teenage train passenger. El Hussein was shot dead by police early Sunday morning after attempting to return to his home.

Thank goodness they have gun-control in Denmark, especially for recently released felons.*

London's Daily Mail has the most detailed and up to date report on all aspects of the recent Muslim terror attack.

Hussein in happier times with knife only
Just in: Times of Israel, by way of Jihad Watch reports that Danish police have just detained two terrorism suspects in a raid on an internet cafe.

*I'm not making a snark on gun-control here (well, okay, perhaps I sort of am). It is possible it does accomplish a purpose. But it doesn't seem to be working for urban terrorism in Europe. I'd love to see a story on where these weapons are coming from.

Lars Vilks: Mohammad as a Roundabout Dog

At Mahound's Paradise we will try to respond to each Muslim attack against journalists or cartoonists by featuring the works in question. Let's give them something to look at. You know, just because...

The above is by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks--the probable main target of the first Copenhagen attack. It was originally one of a set of three pen and ink drawings titled Mohammad as a Roundabout Dog.

(Roundabout Dogs were a form of street installation art that started in Sweden in the summer of 2006 and spread to a few other countries. Homemade dog sculptures made of wood or other materials would suddenly appear on roundabouts.)

The series was originally accepted for a 2007 exhibition of "The Dog in Art" in the small town of Tallerud. However, the organizers withdrew the drawings at the last minute due to "security concerns". The drawings were then rejected at another venue. However, they were then subsequently published in a number of Swedish Newspapers.

At the time Vilks was condemned by the usual Muslim interest groups, clerics and governments. Since then he has been the subject of numerous threats and attack attempts. A Pennsylvania women and Muslim convert Colleen LaRose is currently serving ten years in jail for attempting to recruit conspirators to murder Vilks.

Of course that didn't stop him. And he added a few more "Mohammad as a dog" pictures to his portfolio. Here's a particularly fun recent one:

Here's an account by a witness to the first shooting at the Copenhagen free-speech debate, as told to Danish TV2 News:
She said that she and the Swedish cartoonist hid in the cold store of the cultural centre. 
"I was in a cold room and kept hold of Lars Vilks' hand. He was very cool." 
"We stood and told each other bad jokes."
And here's the artist himself in 2010:

Vilks survived. But tragically two other men, as of this writing were killed, film director Finn Noergaard and Jewish security guard Dan Uzan.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Copenhagen Attacks: Is There Now Civil War in Europe?

I would say No.

But it's coming closer. The recent attacks in Copenhagen directed against yet another Mohammad cartoonist and yet another Jewish target imply that there are now Muslim gunmen, ready to go, in most Western European cities.

If European governments don't act, or persist in treating this as a battle against "extremism"--whose label includes both Muslims and their opponents--then it's quite possible that the (now false) charges against the Islamophobes will become self-fulfilling. Just as the IRA brought on the Protestant paramilitary groups.

I say possible. I actually don't think it's likely in the near future that we'll see the anti-Muslim parties such as, say, the EDL in Britain, the National Front in France or PEGIDA in Germany, forming military cells. For all the propaganda, they don't yet have the culture for it. Sorry to say it, but Muslims do.

I could be wrong.

But I think what will happen is one of those "fringe" parties will start winning elections--despite the full resources of the "mainstream" media and political parties directed against them. Or someone in one of the mainstream parties will, so to speak, go Churchill.

In other words, while the fact that a Muslim population of 3%-10% in many of these countries--with a larger proportion in many cities--is clearly enough to sew havoc and create great harm, most of the remaining non-Muslim 90% to 97% of the population does not want to live under Sharia Law, nor do they want to live in a terrorist war-zone, even if large proportions of them still think it's hip to denounce "Islamophobia".

I confess that I do not completely understand the, so to speak, stubbornness of, say a David Cameron or an Angela Merkel. Why are they still so reluctant to identify the true enemy while condemning and suppressing those who do? They're politicians, after all. If they're afraid of competition from the "fringe" parties, why not co-opt their issues? That's been one political "solution" from time immemorial.

So, Europe won't go Muslim. The question is how many people (Jews among others) will die before the question is resolved. The longer the question is opposed, ignored or put off, the more a true civil war becomes likely. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Europe's Vanishing Jews

Today, Ethan Epstein of the Weekly Standard's Blog dissects a recent article on Jewish demographics in Europe.
Europe’s Jewish Population Continues to Plummet 
A mere 0.2 percent of Europeans are Jewish. 
If you ignore the cringe-worthy opening line of this article from the Pew Research Center – the Holocaust did far worse than “decimate” Europe’s Jewish population – you will find some interesting facts. In a nutshell, Europe’s Jewish population continues to decline. There are now approximately 1.4 million Jews living in Europe, compared to 9.5 million in 1939. Only 10 percent of the world’s Jews now live in Europe, and a mere 0.2 percent of Europeans are Jewish. 
And apparently, Europe’s Jewish population will only continue to decline. Thousands of French Jews, for example, are emigrating each year, most commonly to Israel. 
A Europe without Jews would be almost without precedent; the continent has played host to Jewish communities for millennia. It would also be an immeasurably poorer place, in myriad ways. We’re talking about the culture that produced Kafka, Freud, and Stefan Zweig – in addition to the bagel. 
The recent horrifying uptick in murderous anti-Semitism (contra our glib president, it was not a “random” “bunch of folks” who were targeted at that grocery store in Paris) by radical Islamists may contribute to the fulfillment of Hitler’s vision of a Europe “free” of Jews. (It’s striking, when you visit most major European cities today, that you can identify a synagogue or Jewish school by the presence of police or even soldiers in front.) You don’t have to be Jewish to recognize this tragedy.
Unstated in he above, is that in most countries of Western Europe the Muslim population is at least ten times that of the Jewish population. This too is almost if not entirely unprecedented. It may not have even been true in Muslim-ruled Spain.

The "decline" has and will be accelerated by growing Muslim-led anti-Semitism. But the trend--initially supported by other factors--was perhaps already underway two generations ago. In most countries of Western Europe there are now fewer Jews than there were in 1970. And of course the non-Jewish population, including the Muslim population has only grown.

With tragic irony, it may be that the only European country to have its Jewish population not only increase in the last 45 years but increase as a percentage of its overall population is...


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Interviewer: If Pope Francis Insists On This Path, What Will You Do? Cardinal Burke: I Will Resist.

Cardinal Raymond Burke on France 2
Rorate Caeli (in my view, the most important Traditionalist Catholic online news source) just translated from the original French and Italian, today's interview with Cardinal Burke on France 2.
Presenter: Since then (the Christmas Address to the Curia dedicated to the "infirmities" of the Roman Curia), the Cardinals have receded into silence, but some remain with a heavy heart. One of the most influential of these has finally accepted to receive us. Cardinal Burke is an American, ultra-conservative, and close to former Pope Benedict XVI 
Interviewer: We are very glad to meet you, that you could grant us a little bit of your time! You are a great admirer of Benedict XVI? 
Burke (in French): Oh, yes! 
Interviewer: You have his complete works? 
Burke (in French): Of all the qualities of Benedict XVI, I think that the greatest is the one of being a master of the faith. / (In Italian:) When there is confusion, protest, I always turn towards him, towards his writings on the liturgy, but also on other doctrinal matters. Now I must get used to a new pope and - 
Interviewer: Is it difficult? Sincerely. 
Presenter: The Cardinal is not seen favorably (lit. "in odor of sanctity") in the eyes of the new pope. He was in the room on the day Francis threw his darts against the Curia. 
Burke (in Italian): I have heard here and there some jokes among the cardinals: "how many infirmities do you have?" It will be remarked upon for some time. 
Presenter: The opposition between both men goes back to the month of October, at the time of the Synod on the family. In the order of the day, some matters provoke turmoil among the bishops, such as communion to remarried divorcees or the recognition of homosexual couples. 
(Recording of Francis in the Synod:) "A cardinal wrote to me saying, 'too bad that some cardinals have not had the courage to say certain things. This is not good. This is not synodality. Because it is necessary to say all those things that, in the Lord, it is felt that must be said." 
Presenter: Several conservative cardinals take up a crusade in order to defend the traditional family - among them Müller, Brandmüller, and Caffarra. As for Cardinal Burke, he takes the helm of the rebels. The debates are very lively, heated. 
Burke (in Italian): I cannot accept that communion be given to a person who is living in an irregular union, because it is adultery. On the matter of persons of the same sex, this has nothing to do with matrimony. This is a suffering that some persons have, of being attracted to - against nature - persons of the same sex. Those people, we must help them to live chastely. But there is no relation to marriage and family, it is a separate issue. 
Presenter: The response to the Supreme Pontiff is clear: it is a rejection of what Francis had said in July 2013. 
(Recording of Francis in the Airplane interview of July 2013): "If someone is gay, and he searches the Lord, and has good will, who am I to judge him?" 
Interviewer: How do you intend to place pope Francis on the good path? 
Burke (in Italian): On this, also one must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope. The classic formulation is that, "the Pope has the plenitude, the fullness, of power." This is true. But it is not absolute power. His power is at the service of the doctrine of the faith. And thus the Pope does not have the power to change teaching, doctrine. 
Interviewer: In a somewhat provocative way, can we say that the true guardian of doctrine is you, and not pope Francis? 
Burke (in Italian): (Smiles, shakes his head) We must, let us leave aside the matter of the Pope. In our faith, it is the truth of doctrine that guides us. 
Interviewer: If Pope Francis insists on this path, what will you do? 
Burke (in Italian): I will resist. I cannot do anything else. There is no doubt that this is a difficult time, this is clear, this is clear. 
Interviewer: Is it painful? 
Burke (in Italian): Yes. 
Interviewer: Worrisome? 
Burke (in Italian): Yes. 
Interviewer: According to you, today, is the Catholic Church under threat as an institution? 
Burke (in Italian): The Lord assured us, as he assured Saint Peter in the Gospel, that the forces of evil will not prevail -- non praevalebunt, we say in Latin. That the forces of evil will not achieve, let us say, victory over the Church. 
Interviewer (looking at a portrait of Francis in the Cardinal's study): Well then, Francis is your friend? 
Burke (in Italian): (Laughter) I would not want to make of the pope an enemy, certainly!
Whether Burke is an "enemy" or not, virtually everyone knows that the current Pope saw him as a kind of threat--which is why he had him "exiled" from Rome to a silly ceremonial position on Malta. In a recent interview, Pope Francis absurdly denied this with a frankly "in your face" sort of fib (a few questions after being praised by the interviewer as being "different because you speak with utmost clarity, you are completely straightforward").

Of course, Burke, Rorate and others that have now found themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to defend Christ's teachings and Church Doctrine against the actions of the Pope himself, have to be and have been very careful here (so, among other things, they certainly wouldn't have used the words I just used to describe things.) But the "battle lines" as well as the composition of the opposing sides have become clearer. And Cardinal Burke is going as far as prudence would probably allow.

But "I will resist" is pretty strong.

Please pray for this Pope. But also pray for Cardinal Burke.