Saturday, July 23, 2005

John Howard's remarks in London

as reported in Melanie Phillips's Diary: The objective facts: July 21, 2005 ...

....on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq.....once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

...the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq...the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

...the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

....The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. ...this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. ....we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Strangers on my flight

Follow this link for a song and a chuckle....
(don't forget to have the sound up on your computer)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Woody Allen's history goes nowhere ...

Jewish World Review July 19, 2005 / 12 Tamuz, 5765 has a great article by David Gelernter comparing Woody Allen's world view with that of Natan Sharansky.....

Importing hatred

from Herald Sun: Importing hatred [20jul05] by ANDREW BOLT...

It's time we accepted the difficult truth: many of the Muslims we invite to live in Australia want to destroy us.

FOR four years, since the September 11 attacks, I've begged our Islamic leaders to drive extremists from their mosques.

For four years I've also reassured you that most Muslims here are moderate. ....I described as 'moderate' the Melbourne-based Islamic Information Services Network of Australia (IISNA), which purged from its website articles I'd noted claiming democracy was a sin, Jews were behind September 11 and Western society was a pollution.

But was I just kidding myself? Isn't it becoming terribly clear that Islam -- at least the Islam of Australia's Arab sheiks and imams -- is hostile to our society? Isn't it now obvious we should never have let into our country those imams who now preach hate?

....Only last week I'd praised Sheik Fehmi as a good man, who'd condemned the London bombings. But a day later he was asked about fellow Melbourne sheik Mohammed Omran, a friend of a suspected al-Qaida boss, who'd claimed September 11 was really the work of a US-based conspiracy. "He is entitled to his own thinking," Fehmi replied meekly. Then, asked if Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorists had committed those attacks, he added: "We cannot say. We do not know these things."

...Fehmi was not my only disappointment. I checked the IISNA site this week, and among the announcements of classes and prayers found this advice to a reader who'd asked if it was a sin to kill non-Muslims: "In regard to non-Muslims who are at war with the Muslims and do not have a peace treaty with the Muslims or are not living under Muslim rule, then Muslims are commanded to kill them, because Allah says . . . 'Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you.' " If that's advice passed on by a "moderate" Islamic group, what must the radical ones here say?

...In Sydney last week, the Islamic Bookshop, Australia's largest of the kind, was found (again) selling similar poison near the Lakemba mosque, including a book with tips on how to blow yourself up and kill plenty.

...The genuinely charming Waleed Aly, of the Islamic Council of Victoria, goes on 3AW to tell us the radical Mufti of Australia, Sheik Taj el-Din el-Hilaly, who has praised suicide bombers as "heroes" and called the September 11 attacks "God's work against oppressors", is not a big worry because he represents no one. Aly says he doesn't even know who made the man a mufti, our highest ranking Islamic cleric. But the truth, Waleed, is that your own council voted to make Hilaly the Mufti in a decision of the Federation of Islamic Councils of Australia. Why won't you sack him?

Everywhere disappointment. Hilaly's spokesman, Keysar Trad, soothes us with false claims that the Mufti is misquoted and is a proud Australian, but he turns out himself to have been a translator for the Islamic Youth Movement, a pro-bin Laden group whose leader, Bilal Khazal, now faces terrorism-related charges in Sydney. We also find Trad has written articles with lines such as: "The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country (Australia) and . . . the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us."

Faced with such evidence whichever way I turn, what else can I think about Islam -- or Arab Islam, at least -- but that it is an enemy of our culture, our society? And I ask: How did we come to let in the extremist preachers of such a hostile creed? much that we did in the name of multiculturalism was dangerously naive. ...Does this make any sense in a society where the urgent need now is not to reinforce old tribal loyalties, but dissolve them in a warm pool called "Australia"?

....We need now to change ideas once thought sacred by our cultural elite.

First, we must be more wary about the dangers of importing cultures that clash with the one that has built this free, rich and democratic society.

...Second, we must ban mosques from hiring imams from overseas, or at least those who preach race hate or damn democracy. If Islam does mean peace, let only peace be preached.

And, third, we must show more pride in this country, and switch our multicultural cash from funding division to building unity.....

Click here to join Andrew Bolt's interactive forum

Beware of Apparent Hoax E-mail

from CAMERA: Beware of Apparent Hoax E-mail from Hasidic Jew� Celebrating London Bombings: "July 15, 2005, by Alex Safian ...

(CAMERA= Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)

An e-mail message celebrating the London terror bombings and said to be from one "Isaac Horowitz" of Rodney Street in Brooklyn, a self-described "hasidic Jew," has been sent to members of the British Parliament and was also cited on the blog of the left-wing British newspaper, The Guardian. While the legitimacy and provenance of the e-mail is certainly in question, it is important to note that even if it turns out to be genuine, the writer speaks only for himself, and in no way represents any segment of the Jewish community of the United States or Britain.

....a public records search ...shows no Isaac Horowitz residing on Rodney Street in Brooklyn. Neither do whitepages searches.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Prime Minister Blair's Speech

The following is the text of the speech delivered by Prime Minister Tony Blair on Saturday, July 16, 2005.

The greatest danger is that we fail to face up to the nature of the threat we are dealing with. What we witnessed in London last Thursday week was not an aberrant act. It was not random. It was not a product of particular local circumstances in West Yorkshire. Senseless though any such horrible murder is, it was not without sense for its organisers. It had a purpose. It was done according to a plan. It was meant.

What we are confronting here is an evil ideology. It is not a clash of civilisations all civilised people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it. This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods but their views. Not just their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others.

This ideology and the violence that is inherent in it did not start a few years ago in response to a particular policy. Over the past 12 years, Al Qaeda and its associates have attacked 26 countries, killed thousands of people, many of them Muslims. They have networks in virtually every major country and thousands of fellow travellers. They are well-financed. Look at their web-sites. They aren't unsophisticated in their propaganda. They recruit however and whoever they can and with success.

Neither is it true that they have no demands. They do. It is just that no sane person would negotiate on them. They demand the elimination of Israel; the withdrawal of all westerners from Muslim countries, irrespective of the wishes of people and Government; the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one Caliphate of all Muslim nations.

We don't have to wonder what type of country those states would be. Afghanistan was such a state. Girls put out of school. Women denied even rudimentary rights. People living in abject poverty and oppression. All of it justified by reference to religious faith.

The 20th century showed how powerful political ideologies could be. This is a religious ideology, a strain within the world-wide religion of Islam, as far removed from its essential decency and truth as Protestant gunmen who kill Catholics or vice versa, are from Christianity. But do not let us underestimate it or dismiss it. Those who kill in its name believe genuinely that in doing it, they do God's work; they go to paradise.

From the mid 1990s onwards, statements from Al Qaeda, gave very clear expression to this ideology.

Every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hatred towards the Americans, Jews and Christians. This is part of our ideology.

The creation of Israel is a crime and it has to be erased. You should know that targeting Americans and Jews and killing them anywhere you find them on the earth is one of the greatest duties and one of the best acts of piety you can offer to God Almighty.

Just as great is their hatred for so-called apostate Governments in Muslim countries. This is why mainstream Muslims are also regarded as legitimate targets.

At last year's Party Conference I talked about this ideology in these terms:

Its roots are not superficial but deep, in the madrassehs of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life. This is what we are up against. It cannot be beaten except by confronting it, symptoms and causes, head-on. Without compromise and without delusion.

The extremist propaganda is cleverly aimed at their target audience. It plays on our tolerance and good nature; it exploits the tendency to guilt of the developed world; as if it is our behaviour that should change; that if we only tried to work out and act on their grievances, we could lift this evil; that if we changed our behaviour, they would change theirs. This is a misunderstanding of a catastrophic order.

Their cause is not founded on an injustice. It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can't be moderated. It can't be remedied. It has to be stood up to. And, of course, they will use any issue that is a matter of dissent within our democracy. But we should lay bare the almost-devilish logic behind such manipulation.

If it is the plight of the Palestinians that drives them, why, every time it looks as if Israel and Palestine are making progress, does the same ideology perpetrate an outrage that turns hope back into despair?

If it is Afghanistan that motivates them, why blow up innocent Afghans on their way to their first ever election? If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected Iraqi Government?

What was September 11 2001 the reprisal for? Why even after the first Madrid bomb and the election of a new Spanish Government, were they planning another atrocity when caught? Why if it is the cause of Muslims that concerns them, do they kill so many with such callous indifference? We must pull this up by its roots. Within Britain, we must join up with our Muslims community to take on the extremists. Worldwide we should confront it everywhere it exists.

Next week I and other party leaders will meet key members of the Muslim community. Out of it I hope we can get agreed action to take this common fight forward. I want also to work with other nations to promote the true face of Islam world-wide. Round the world, there are conferences already being held, numerous inter-faith dialogues in place but we need to bring all of these activities together and give them focus.

We must be clear about how we win this struggle. We should take what security measures we can. But let us not kid ourselves. In the end, it is by the power of argument, debate, true religious faith and true legitimate politics that we will defeat this threat. That means not just arguing against their terrorism but their politics and their perversion of religious faith. It means exposing as the rubbish it is, the propaganda about America and its allies wanting to punish Muslims or eradicate Islam. It means championing our values of freedom, tolerance and respect for others. It means explaining why the suppression of women and the disdain for democracy are wrong. The idea that elected Governments are the preserve of those of any other faith or culture is insulting and wrong. Muslims believe in democracy just as much as any other faith and given the chance, show it.

We must step up the urgency of our efforts. Here and abroad the times the terrorists have succeeded are all too well known. Less known are the times they have been foiled. The human life destroyed we can see. The billions of dollars every nation now spends is huge and growing. And they kill without limit. They murdered over 50 innocent people last week. But it could have been over 500. And had it been, they would have rejoiced.

The spirit of our age is one in which the prejudices of the past are put behind us, where our diversity is our strength. It is this which is under attack. Moderates are not moderate through weakness but through strength. Now is the time to show it in defence of our common values.

Throwing the book at hatred

from The Australian: Editorial: Throwing the book at hatred July 19, 2005 ...

(This excellent opinion piece cautions against a coercive approach to censoring, and advocates working with moderate Islamic elements to eliminate the audience for extreme literature through education.)

IN the aftermath of the London bombings, the revelation that Sydney and Melbourne Islamic bookshops are selling extremist literature has aroused legitimate community concern. One book, carrying a front-page endorsement from Osama bin Laden, discusses the techniques of suicide bombing. Another, by a Muslim immigrant to Australia, suggests a conspiracy between government and police to turn Muslim youth into drug addicts. These statements are wrong and despicable. However, it is not clear such books fall within the ambit of state-based laws on racial vilification or federal anti-terror laws banning the publication of terror-making manuals. In contrast to the general inane bluster in these books, the materials that have led to a former Qantas baggage handler, Bilal Khazal, being committed to stand trial allegedly discussed specific methods of killing and identified targets. Nevertheless, state and federal agencies are justified in investigating radical Islamist bookshops. When a text sold in a bookshop attached to the Melbourne prayer-room of Sheik Mohammed Omran who denies Muslims had anything to do with 9/11 or the London attacks recommends 'the Jew or Christian who insults the prophet should be killed', that sounds to us like incitement to violence.

But we need to proceed with caution before we place limits on freedom of expression. Muslim associations have certainly been willing to use anti-vilification laws – as in the complaint against the Pentecostal group Catch the Fire Ministries in Victoria – but it is our view such laws can too frequently contribute to a climate of political correctness. Censorship is rarely the best strategy for defending the values of a free society. What the availability of Islamist literature highlights is the need for moderate Muslim communities to extirpate radical elements. The existence of inflammatory material is only of concern if there is a cohort vulnerable to it, which raises the clear challenge faced by moderate Muslim clerics: to articulate a form of Islam that preaches respect for the rights and religious views of others, and rejects the fundamentalism that gave rise to the London bombings and the other terrorist atrocities of recent years. Wahabi hate-literature, of the sort now available in Australia, appeals to a sense of historical and political grievance – largely phoney – and cultural isolationism: that is why the challenge for moderate Muslims, which many have taken up, is to build bridges to other communities and mainstream values. If they are successful in this task, the need to confiscate or ban extremist literature will be irrelevant – because it won't find an audience.

Crackdown on terror books

from The Australian: by Trudy Harris and Patrick Walters, July 19, 2005 ...

ISLAMIC bookstores face closure and their owners could be charged with terrorism offences as pressure intensifes in the wake of the London bombings to crack down on radical literature sold in Australia.

Federal and state counter-terrorism officers will investigate at least one Islamic bookshop in Sydney following revelations it is selling literature promoting jihad and justifying suicide bombings.

Another bookstore in Melbourne, run by the country's most fundamentalist cleric, was yesterday selling a book calling for Christians to be trampled underfoot. "It is either Islam or death," says the book, which is sold from the bookshop attached to the Brunswick prayer room where Sheik Mohammed Omran delivers his fiery sermons.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said officers would review the literature sold in Sydney -- including one book filled with vitriol against the Australian way of life -- to determine if anti-terrorism laws had been breached.

....Moderate Islamic leaders in Australia have long been concerned about a plethora of radical material found in magazines, books and DVDs sold in bookstores but also distributed outside mosques and easily available on the internet.

National Christian, Jewish and Muslims leaders met recently to devise a plan for preventing the sale of radical material, after finding some with alarming levels of hatred. "There is no doubt that these books vilifying races and religions and justifying terrorism are out there in numbers," one leader at the meeting said.

...Fundamentalist scholar Sheik Omran's shop sells a book that details reasons Muslims should not befriend Jews, Christians or non-Muslims. "If it becomes clear that someone is at odds with Islam, then fight him. The (Jew or Christian) who insults the Prophet should be killed," it says. Sheik Omran's website also praises a US scholar convicted last week for inciting his young followers to wage war. The website paints the influential scholar, Ali-al-Timimi, as a victim of spurious charges.

Islamic Bookstore owner Marwan Baytiye, also director of an educational group in Lakemba called the International Centre for Islamic Studies, declined to comment on the books yesterday, saying he was seeking legal advice.

IDCA president Ihssan Wehbe denied that his shop sold extremist literature. He said the IDCA served Auburn's moderate Muslim community, adding that he bought his books over the internet from overseas publishers.

(Additional reporting: Annabelle McDonald, Natasha Robinson, Andrew West)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Is Zionism Colonialism? The Root Lie

from Remarks delivered to a closed forum of New York-area students, at Columbia University on 3 April 2005, by Martin Kramer...
  • The tragedy of academy is that it has become home to countless people whose mission is to prove the lie that Zionism is colonialism. Thus research is undertaken, books are written, and lectures delivered to establish a falsehood.
  • The investigation at Columbia University has shown that in some cases, students are more credible than professors, even in the eyes of the university itself. Columbia owes its students the truth, and the freedom to assert it.

(The lie) this: Zionism is a form of colonialism. It was not the national movement of the Jewish people to create a state. ..... It is a straightforward case of nineteenth century style colonialist dispossession, committed by a non-nation - a collection of land robbers - against a nation from time immemorial, the Palestinian people. Zionism and its progeny, Israel, are therefore inherently unjust. ...the Jews are not a nation, and as such they cannot have nationalism. ...

This is a very great lie, and it is a self-serving lie. Those who believe it can sustain in their hearts the hope that in any given span of a few years, Israel will disappear. America will decide to dismantle it, or the Jews will decide that it is too costly to maintain, and so will go to other countries that are safer and more comfortable.

...This lie, told to the Palestinians by others and by themselves, explains why they have repeatedly underestimated Zionism, Israel, and Israelis. By now it should be self-evident to any objective observer that Zionism and Israel are driven by nationalism as deep as any other nationalism. Their aspirations and contradictions are comparable to aspirations and contradictions in all nationalisms. But to acknowledge this is to accept Israel's permanence, and even its de facto legitimacy.

...This brings me to the case of Columbia. It is not always easy to tell what the controversy is about. Is it about harassment? Bias? Academic freedom?

...At a profound level though, I think it is also about speaking truth. Who speaks it reliably? Who twists it, and even lies?

This is the significance of the ad hoc committee report. This is a flawed document by a flawed committee. Even so, it reached a striking conclusion. An encounter took place in the classroom between a professor and a student. The student alleged that the professor threatened her: if she denied Israeli atrocities, she must leave the classroom. The professor denied the exchange ever took place. The student stood by her account and other students corroborated it. Weighing the evidence, the committee found the student's claim to be credible.

This is an official finding by academic peers that the professor in question lied. By finding the student credible, the committee has determined that the professor is incredible. In a university where truth is so elastic and where lies can be purveyed under the protections of academic freedom, this determination is of no mean significance. When students are more credible than professors, even in the eyes of the university itself, and when students are deemed to have told the truth, and professors are deemed to have lied, this is a world turned upside down.

.... Much more consequential lies are in evidence in the works of the professors in question. They are no longer deserving of trust. This is not a demand for balance or diversity. This is a demand for truth, and this is what Columbia owes us....Columbia has been compromised; it must now redeem itself. And it must do so not only by reaffirming its commitment to academic freedom, but by reaffirming its commitment to truth.

... the Columbia case has tremendous significance beyond the campus, for Middle Eastern studies as a whole. I will go further. I expect the kind of student revolt we have seen at Columbia to spread to other campuses and to spread beyond Jewish students. In one of the most-quoted instances of intimidation at Columbia, a MEALAC professor allegedly asked an Israeli student: "How many Palestinians did you kill?"

Middle Eastern studies programs are going to fill with veterans of American military service in Iraq and Afghanistan. ....How long will it be before a student is asked how many Iraqis he killed, or is accused of being a spy in training for the evil American empire? That is why the outcome of the Columbia case, in regard to students' grievances, has a significance that goes way beyond the pro-Israel community. It is of crucial importance to the U.S. effort to recruit the best intellectual capital and train it in American universities, both for the war on terror and for the challenges arising from the coming transformation of the Middle East.

I conclude. Up close, this looks like a story about Columbia and Israel. In proper perspective, it is a test case for Middle Eastern studies and American preparation for its enhanced role in the Middle East. It will affect the way all universities manage and regulate their expanding Middle East programs, and it has implications for an entire generation of students who are already streaming to Middle East programs because they want to serve the nation. My message to the students and supportive faculty of Columbia is this: remain steadfast. You are the turning point for Middle Eastern studies in America, and to that extent, for America in the Middle East.

* * *
Dr. Martin Kramer is senior research associate at the Moshe Dayan Center, Tel Aviv University. His book Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies (Washington: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001) provided a thorough critique of Middle Eastern studies in the United States, documenting academe's failure to explain or predict major developments in the Middle East.

click here for the full report

The Daily Telegraph | Police act on stores selling hate

from the Sydney Daily Telegraph , July 18, 2005 ...

AUSTRALIAN Federal Police and NSW's Counter-Terrorism Command are investigating (Sydney) book shops allegedly selling extremist Islamic literature.

The Daily Telegraph reported today the Islamic Bookstore at Lakemba, in Sydney's south-west, stocks a book titled Defence of the Muslim Lands, which discusses the effectiveness of suicide bombings and has an endorsement from Osama bin Laden on the cover.

In nearby Auburn, other such books have been found at the IDCA bookstore and the Islamic Science, Culture and Art Association.

....The investigation had been underway "a short time" and charges would be laid if it was found an offence had been committed

...A spokesman for The Islamic Bookstore at Lakemba declined to comment today, but said the shop hoped to issue a media statement early tomorrow.

....Comment was being sought from the IDCA bookstore and the Islamic Science, Culture and Art Association.