Wednesday, February 28, 2007

All Her Dreams Will Warm and Sweeter Be

The killing of Ghazala KhanThere will be no leniency for the murderers of Ghazala Khan. The Danish Supreme Court has upheld the verdicts — and then some — on her murderers.

Ghazala Khan, as we reported last summer, was the victim of an “honor killing” in the Danish town of Slagelse. In a landmark legal decision, most of her extended family was convicted of murdering her, in addition to the young man who pulled the trigger.

Here’s the story from today’s DR, as translated by Kepiblanc:

The Danish supreme court did not hand out any reductions for those nine persons sentenced to long terms in prison for murdering 18-year old Ghazala Khan.

All verdicts were upheld, as were the two deportations. Furthermore, one of those convicted during the High Court trial, although not sentenced to deportation, will now be deported.

The verdict stands: 57-year old Ghulam Abbas, who orchestrated the killing, will stay in prison for life.

Ghazala’s brother, 30-year old Akhtar Abbas, will remain for 16 years in prison, as will Ghazala’s uncle, 46-year old Walayat Khan and another uncle, 42-year old Asghar Ali.

Perveen Khan, 40, mother of four and Ghazala’s aunt, will spend 14 years in prison followed by deportation from Denmark. Asghar Ali, 31, Ghazala’s cousin, will get the same punishment, while Ansger Iqbal, 45, a friend of Ghazala’s uncle, will remain 10 years in prison.

36 year old Ghulam Ahmed, a friend of Ghazala’s brother, will stay in prison for 10 years, and the Supreme Court adhered to the prosecutor’s request for deportation. He avoided that during the High Court trial.

Finally, 30 year old Naweed Sharif, who drove the brother to Ringsted and Slagelse [the scene of the murder — translator] in his car was sentenced to 8 years in jail.

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When I told Dymphna about this story this morning, she said that the last verse of “Danny Boy” started playing in her head:

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.
And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

Ghazala Khan“‘And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be’,” she said. “That’s the effect that I thought the sentencing of those evil people would have on that girl.”

R.I.P., Ghazala Khan.

Hat tip: Pulfine, in the comments.

[Nothing follows]

Seems Like Old Times…

James Higham has tagged us with a meme:

Here’s a mini-meme. Which two [2] posts have been your most viewed of all time?

Then he notes,

Seven poor souls I’ve tagged:

Devils Kitchen
Daily Pund
Bel is thinking
The Thunder Dragon
Jonathan Swift

and then he puts us in there.

Since there are two bloggers posting on this here page, I thought I’d divide it into the Baron’s two most-viewed posts, followed by mine.

This is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants guess, since I don’t really know the answer; we don’t keep track. What I can say is how often I see particular posts come up as links in the site meter stats, or the number of emails, comments, etc. So, on that unscientific basis, here goes:

The most-clicked on of the Baron’s posts by far, are:

1. Jamaat ul-Fuqra in Virginia

2. Visualize Industrial Collapse

Personally, though, my favorite of his posts is The Little Engine of Cant.

Unfortunately, I can’t access it now. “New” Blogger is not as far out of Beta as it claims. Maybe by the time you read this post, whatever glitch is kinked up will have smoothed out and you’ll be able to access the archives. If not, then it’s all academic.

Pretending that the #@$%^Blooger archives really work, here are the top two on my hit list:

1. The Power and Glory of Islamic Women

2. The Slave Owner’s Bookstore. It’s nice to know that dude is safely in federal prison for some of the prime years of his life. And his slave has $64,000.00 of his money, which she took back with her to Indonesia. Not enough for the damage done, but better than nothing. Even more cheering to know it’s really Saudi tribe money. Heh.

My favorite post of those I’ve written is “An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan.” I still get emails from bereaved parents and it’s been healing for me to know my words were salve for them.

However, that one is in Blooger Limbo, too. Trying to access any of our archives is problematic at the moment. Guess I should ask Blogger for my money back.

That aside, I now have to tag seven new victims nominees -- bloggers who [probably] won’t be annoyed at having to do this. People with a sense of humor. Like, maybe these guys…

Are We Lumberjacks?
An American Ex-Pat in Southeast Asia
Starling David Hunter
Florida Cracker
Gypsy Scholar
Pierre Legrande’s Pink Flamingo Bar and Grill,

And -- ta da -- definitely neither last nor least,
Planck’s Constant.

I hope everyone I tagged notices the links in their technorati searches, or in the site meter links, or that their friends nudge them. I believe the correct protocol is to email everyone you burden with this little task, but I don’t think I have everyone’s address, and even if I do I’m way too ADD to find the them as they are haphazardly stacked in the Baron’s email files. This new laptop has a very limited dropdown list.

If I don’t get threatening emails from my victims, I guess I’ll have to do my flatfoot routine and chase them down.

That is, if Blooger lets me.

Beta? Hell, yes. That horse definitely left the barn too early and unfortunately we are sitting atop this nag.

[Post mercifully ends here. Blooger won’t let you go any further, anyway. I suppose I ought to be grateful I can post at all. Earlier today I wasn’t even permitted to register to put up a comment on my own darn blog. Dum and dummer – that’s Blogger and New Blogger.]

We’re Hosed

The problem resolved itself overnight. Blogger taketh away and Blogger giveth. Thanks for checking in, everyone.

As of right now, we are unable to open our posts in full page view, and other people have reported the same problem. I’m trying to get through to Blogger support, but I’m not holding out much hope. The error we get is “bX-sp4hmm”, in case anyone has Blogger expertise and knows what to do. Re-saving the settings and the template hasn’t made any difference.

If you click the link “Read further” below, and successfully see the rest of this post, please tell us in the comments, or send us an email, so we know that at least some people can read our full posts.
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If you can read this, then you’re not having the problem. Please let us know.

The Wrath Against Khan

One of the disturbing thing about the Bush administration and the national Republican party is its tendency — even long after 9/11 — to consort with American Muslims of questionable provenance.

Thanks to the efforts of some well-heeled lobbyists, with the Saudi cash drawer always going ka-ching in the background, Islamic terror-sympathizers have been invited to White House events, gained the President’s ear, and posed for smiling photos with Mr. Bush and other high-level officials. Some of these Muslims have been indicted and convicted of terrorism-related crimes since their moment of schmoozing with the movers and shakers. How many more are still moving through that “Muslim Outreach” revolving door that leads into the inner sanctum of the Republican power structure?

One of the primary facilitators of all this outreach has been Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform. Mr. Norquist was recently discredited for his association with the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but the real dishonor should come from his unabashed promotion of Muslims with shady backgrounds. It was largely through Mr. Norquist’s efforts that the now-incarcerated Muslims gained their access to the White House.

His latest push has been to get a young man named Suhail Khan onto the board of the American Conservative Union. Some people regard this as an attempt to put a Trojan horse into the heart of American conservatism, and Frank Gaffney has recently led the effort to expose Suhail Khan’s background:

An Incomplete Resume

How many ACU members will be aware of this background as they cast their votes for the two open Board of Director seats - a process that is supposed to be concluded today - is unclear. After all, most will probably be voting on the basis of nothing more than the highly sanitized résumé supplied together with the ACU’s on-line poll:


A lifelong conservative activist, Suhail Khan is presently serving as Counselor under U.S. Secretary Mary Peters at the U.S. Department of Transportation where he was awarded the Secretary’s Team Award in 2005. Previously Suhail served as Policy Director and Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman Tom Campbell (R-CA) where he worked closely on legislation relating to health antitrust reform, religious freedom, the preservation of the Second Amendment, tort reform, the reform of race-based affirmative action, and the 1998 impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives. After the 2000 elections, he aided the White House Office of Public Liaison in outreach efforts. In a volunteer capacity, Suhail is an active participant in the Republican National Committee’s 72-hour program and has been deployed to key races in states including Colorado, Washington, Iowa, Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Born in Boulder, Colorado, to parents who emigrated to Wyoming and Colorado from southern India, Suhail grew up in California and earned his B.A. in political science from University of California at Berkeley in 1991 and his J.D. from University of Iowa in 1995.

Khan’s Other Credentials

The foregoing account of Suhail Khan’s personal history omits a number of details that ACU members - and, more importantly, the rest of us - should know. Khan has contested the thrust of the following, inconvenient details about his family’s Islamist connections. He has denounced those like me who have called attention to them. Khan has tried with some success to secure retractions from publications that ran articles referring to unsettling aspects of his background and associations - but without providing the evidence that they are wrong. When “A Troubling Influence” appeared three years ago, David Horowitz offered Norquist and Kahn an opportunity to respond. Norquist, a first seemed ready to respond, then begged off saying he had a “revolution to run” and no time for such matters. Suhail Kahn submitted a letter challenging the specific claims in my article which were most damning - that his father, as head of a Wahhabi mosque in California, had hosted Osama bin Laden’s number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and raised money for him, and that as a member of the White House staff - a position Norquist engineered for him - he had authorized radical Islamists to meet with President Bush. Kahn’s denials were submitted to me and I rebutted them. But when Kahn was invited to respond, he went silent. Then, three years later, he challenged the same points when I repeated them in an article for Frontpage. In other words, for three years Suhail Khan has attempted to challenge the information I supplied in 2003 but without actually refuting it. For the record, and as a public service in particular to members of the American Conservative Union, I reprise here the most troubling parts of the Khan clan background…

Suhail KhanThe internet record seems to have been scrubbed of almost all of the earlier negative references to Suhail Khan. I spent several hours last night looking for information, and it was very hard to come by.

It was especially hard to find photographs of the man. The image at right was pulled from a group photo taken at a Political Chicks cocktail party on September 12, 2002. Mr. Khan is in the second photo from the bottom in the right-hand column; I had to rescue the image from digital darkness so that we can see his face.

I’m not sure of the purpose of the Political Chicks, or why Mr. Khan was at the event. The primary function of the group, based on the photos, seems to be to stand around wearing nice clothes while holding glasses of wine.
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Suhail KhanThe only other photo of Suhail Khan I could find was a very small one from a United Muslims of America conference on April 29, 2006. When Mr. Khan’s turn came to speak, he had something interesting to say:

Lawyer and activist Suhail Khan was the next speaker… Describing 9/11 as a “horrific act” which killed more people than Pearl Harbor, he added that it has harmed Muslim Americans most.

Hmm. Maybe he’s thinking of the subsequent shock and awe in Baghdad? Or were there more Muslims in the Twin Towers than has previously been reported?

In the wake of 9/11, on November 2, 2001, PBS expressed a similar sentiment when referring to Mr. Khan:

Suhail Khan is a Muslim American who worked for former California Congressman Tom Campbell. Khan will work in the Office of Public Liaison, along with staffers doing outreach to Christians and Jews. Muslim leaders are pleased, although they say there are still no Muslims in decision-making government positions.

Muslim Americans have been working hard to increase their political clout. Kim Lawton reports [on how] the events of September 11 are challenging those efforts.

This Islamocentric view of September 11th — that it was an unfortunate speed bump on the road to full assimilation for good, patriotic American Muslims — has been prevalent in the media and on the Left. But what’s the same attitude doing in the conservative cloisters of the Republican Party?

In October of 2000, during the presidential campaign, Suhail Khan debated a Gore supporter on behalf of George W. Bush on Islam Online [spelling errors are from the original]:

The violence in Palestine has served to remind us, as a Muslim community, that we must be diligent in protecting our Mosque and in protecting the homeland of of ur brothers and sisters. Too much blood has been shed and I fear more will be if we do not use our influence here in the US to bring justice to the world, especially Palestine.

I believe, on balance, Gov. Bush would be teh better candidate to at least give us some hope for a peaceful Palestine. He has said the status of Jerusalem is to be negotiated. He has a record of being more inclusive and willing to talk to Muslims and Muslim Americans as evidenced by his endorsement of teh “secret evidence” legislation in the first debate, and if family is any indication, his father was teh last President to predicate foreign aid to Israel on a halt to the settelment activity, something on which the Clinton-Gore administration has been woefully silent.

It’s interesting that Mr. Khan put forward George Bush as a better friend of “Palestine” than Al Gore. Mr. Khan’s efforts, and those of other Muslims on behalf of the Texas governor, had their effect in the election, and a significant portion of the Muslim-American vote went to George W. Bush. Four years later Mr. Bush was not so lucky; by then he was firmly established as an “Enemy of Islam”.

So maybe that’s why some Republicans are still beavering away to get the Friends of Hamas some face time with the President — being number two means having to try harder.

At one time there were some very harsh critiques of Suhail Khan and his jihad connections, but a concerted push by the Wahhabist lobby has all but erased the record of them from the internet. I found one artifact still in place, preserved in this snide little aside from “Regret the Error” from last July. It’s about some hasty backpedaling by Investor’s Business Daily, presumably forced on them by the Saudi lobby (the original IBD article is available only to paid subscribers):

On June 28, IBD ran an editorial entitled “Mineta’s Welcome Exit, Stage Left.”

We have been asked to retract the following:

“It turns out Suhail Khan is not just any Muslim. He’s the son of the founder of a hard-line Wahhabi mosque in Santa Clara, Calif., that hosted and raised money for Osama bin Laden’s deputy — not once, but twice — last decade. Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri bought satellite phones with the funds.”

Further research has shown that Suhail Khan is the son of a founder of a mosque in Santa Clara, Calif., and is employed by the U.S. Transportation Department. Neither Khan, the mosque, its parishioners nor its operators (the Muslim Community Association of the San Francisco Bay Area) can accurately be described or confirmed as “hard-line Wahhabi.” Neither can it be confirmed that the mosque raised the money referred to in the editorial, nor that specific funds were used to buy satellite phones.

We’re not crazy about the “we have been asked to retract” part of this. And no apology?

Mr. Gaffney details the same connections that IBD was forced to disavow. No one has demonstrated that the allegations are false, and the evidence to support them is considerable. But CAIR and its Hamas-loving allies have enough clout to get this kind of information suppressed whenever it pops up in the MSM.

The big question is about what Suhail Khan represents for the Republican Party and American conservatism. Is he simply an innocuous and dedicated Muslim-American party stalwart, as his supporters insist? Or is something sinister going on here?

I can’t suppress a surge of paranoia over this issue. It seems to me that the Great Jihad would love to put sleepers into the right side of America’s political culture, since they can’t count on the dhimmis on the left to attain and keep national political power. A few dedicated mujahid moles in sensitive positions would work wonders for the Umma’s cause.

I’m probably just being an Islamophobe, as usual, but I think the American Conservative Union is be making a big mistake by voting Suhail Khan onto their board of directors.

Update 3/7/2007:

For some reason I mistakenly labeled the post about the IBS retraction as being from The New York Times, rather than from “Regret the Error”. I’ve corrected the mistake.

Does that make this post eligible for “Regret the Error”? This could be the beginning of an infinite recursion…

Fissions and Fractures in Northern Iraq

Ninawa ProvinceAbout ten days ago we received an email from someone working in the Ninawa Province of Iraq. This is in the north — Kurdish country — though Sunni Arabs inhabit some of the area also. I will relate the main story we received further down in the post, but first a little background. While any country or section has its factions and complications, Iraq seems to be more cursed with these fractures than other places. You need a scorecard to keep them all straight, which is to be expected given how long the area has been inhabited by Homo Sapiens (seems to me we ought to have been named Homo Stupido, but that’s a subject for another post).

For some time now I have been attempting to research the Assyrians in Iraq. They interest me for several reasons: first, they are among the oldest Christian groups anywhere. Secondly, they have maintained a separate existence, refusing to be subsumed into the conquering Arab hordes that invaded Mesopotamia. Assyrians have paid a high price for their dhimmi status, of course. In addition to persecution (see “Arab Sport: Crucifying Christian Children in Iraq“), they are scapegoated on a daily basis. They are an intelligent people and Arabs consider them conceited — this probably true, as it is of the Egyptian Copts. Both groups value education and are used in jobs where Arabs can’t work due to lack of skills.

Many Assyrians live in Ninawa; others are scattered in small enclaves through out Iraq and Iran. Or rather, more accurately, a remnant of Assyrians linger on here, those who survived the genocide carried out by the Kurds. As one Turkish Kurd expatriate living in Germany remembered:

My childhood was affected by two important historical events. One was the Dersim massacre of the Kurds in 1937/38 , when 70,000 of them were killed by the Turkish army which still is very fresh and sorrowful in my mind. The other was the Armenian Genocide, of 1915-16 by the Turks which exterminated one and half million Armenians and a half million Assyrians. During the winter months I often heard about the sorrowful fate of our Armenian neighbors and it made me cry.

To achieve racial supremacy in Anatolia, the Turkish regime wiped out first the Armenians and Assyrians and then the Kurds. General Kazim Karabekir, who had participated in the killing of the Armenians and Assyrians once had said: “le yandan zo zo lari, doenuence de lo lo larin isini bitirecegiz.” ‘We will exterminate the Armenians with an invasion to the east, on our way back we will do the same with the Kurds.’

It was always the strategy of the Turks to kill or drive out the country first the Christian Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks to turn the country into an Islamic nation, then to carry out similar genocide and ethnocide against the Kurds. To accomplish this Turkish rulers promoted hatred and incited one people against the other... The Kurdish feudal chieftains became instrumental in carrying out these Turkish policies.

The Turkish regime used Sunni tribes in Northern Kurdistan who lived side by side with the Armenians and Assyrians in Mesopotamia [he is referring to Iraq here — D.] to implement its policies...

When I replied to our correspondent about the problems in the Yezidi village, I also inquired about the Assyrians in the area. This is the response:


Interestingly enough a few months ago we were able to meet the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East in what we believe was his first trip back to Iraq since he moved the seat of the Church from Baghdad to Chicago sometime in the late 70s/early 80s. He was in Irbil in the Kurdish Regional Government area basically to give his blessing to the reestablishment of Assyrian communities that were abandoned under Saddam’s Arabization program. He was also there to give his blessing to the work of Mr. Sarkis Aghajan the KRG finance minister (and an Assyrian) who is acting as a protector to Chaldo-Assyrians who have fled the south for Kurdish areas.

Some of the Christians we meet here have memories of Kurds that are as equally bitter as those of Arabs. They speak about the 1922 genocide and how the Kurds and Ottomans miraculously put aside their intense mutual animosity long enough to kill off thousands of Assyrians. But the consensus seems to be that, at least for now, Kurds are behaving more fairly and openly than in the past and may be worth the risk of trying to build a political relationship with them.

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That’s a brief sketch of some 20th century events that affected lives in Ninawa. It doesn’t mention the other minority groups, one of which is the Yezidis, and it is the current safety of this group that worried my correspondent:

I have communicated with AINA, the Assyrian International News Agency and the gentleman that runs the website but I think this might be worth further outside attention. As is explained below it appears that a combination of “Muslim rage” and Kurdish ethnic intimidation worked to create a situation where the Kurdish Regional Government has declared martial law in a community of minority Yazidis.

The events that transpired in mid-February are clear enough, but the motivation for the attacks is murky, as you’ll see:
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The town of Ain Sifni is being garrisoned by a force of approximately 1000 Peshmerga (Kurdish militia) and police. It is not clear when Kurdish forces will leave but the Yazidis are quite intimidated at this point. The Yazidis have long endured persecution and intimidation from their Arab and Kurdish Muslim neighbors as have the Christian Chaldo-Assyrians of the region. It would be great if a legitimate reporter could get in and take a look at what’s going on but based on how a journalist was treated when we were there yesterday, they may be very restricted in their movement and activities.

There was an incident on the night of the fifteenth in the town of Ayn Sifni in Sheikhan district of Ninewa Province. Several days prior to the outbreak of hostilities a Muslim Kurdish woman who was ostensibly attempting to flee her husband’s house was taken to her relatives in Dahuk by two Yazidi men who happen to be body guards to the district mayor. When the woman met with her family in Dahuk they took her back to her husband in Ayn Sifni who in turn took her to the town Imam to explain herself. Following questioning by the Imam (and perhaps sentencing under sharia), the husband took her somewhere out of town and murdered her on the suspicion of adultery. It was at this time that crowds began gathering in town and started demonstrating against the actions of the two Yazidi men. Slogans were shouted including, “How can Yazidis do this to our [Muslim] women?!”

Attack on Amir's HomeShortly after this point a fairly organized series of incidents began which included attacks on the private residence of the Amir of Yazidis (he was in Dahuk at the time), two Yazidi community centers, on a Yazidi owned liquor store and on the home of one of the mayor’s body guards. The damage to these structures was quite extensive and in the case of the attack on the Amir’s house it was clear there was intent to kill. No one was killed in any of the attacks however. The demonstrations went on until the next morning. There were large numbers of Dahuk based security forces in Ayn Sifni by the next morning and by mid day of the sixteenth an estimated brigade sized element of Peshmerga (Kurdish militia) secured the town. It appears however that these security forces allowed these events to continue for quite a while before they were quelled.

The Amir of the Yazidis, who is their leader (I think this is a hereditary position), exerted enough influence with the Yazidis to prevent retaliation. He talked them out of returning fire against their attackers and the ploy seems to have worked because the attack eventually died out. Our correspondent says—

One of the police commanders we met with claimed Jihadi “fifth columnists” were in part responsible for stirring up the violence. Since this sort of behavior is not normally associated with Kurds it was a clear implication that outsiders (Arabs) were involved.

I presume this means the Sunni Arabs again. While the Kurds have dirty hands historically vis-à-vis the Yezidis, they also have other fish to fry: they like the Americans, their lives have improved immeasurably since the Coalition Forces arrived, and they want to be moving forwards, not back. This does not hold true for the Sunni Arabs.

Our correspondent continues his report:

Another element of this incident that is not clear is that the “rioters” were fairly systematic in their attacks. The buildings that were attacked were farther than walking distance and none of the establishments that separate the attacked buildings were damaged.

He then makes an important and telling point about the character of this attack versus a simple riot:

Burned community centerGoing on the assumption that rioters tend not to be selective in their targets there appears to be more organization than a normal crowd would have. The overall uncertainty is if this was a case of “Muslim rage” or Kurdish intimidation. Perhaps it was an example of both. On the one hand the presence of Peshmerga was instrumental in preventing further escalation, but on the other hand it appears that they allowed this activity to go on long enough to give the Yazidi community a good reason to be fearful.

My guess — and it’s a whole lot less informed than our correspondent’s since he was on the scene and took the accompanying pictures — is that it behooves the Sunni Muslims to keep things stirred up. The Kurds have put the rest of Iraq to shame when it comes to setting up a working government, attracting outside development, and defusing violence. While there are still insurgent activities there, the level is much lower and reconstruction is continuing apace. If Iraq ends up partitioned — as it well may — the Kurds will be in a superior position. This fact makes the formerly in-charge Sunnis angry and vengeful. And the Yazidis are easy enough to scapegoat. They have no political ambitions and harbor no secret desire to take over anywhere. In fact, one cannot convert to the Yezidi religion, and they are endogamous in their marriage practices. If a Yezidi marries outside the group, he loses his identity as a Yezidi. Their “let-us-alone” message could not be clearer.

Here’s how our correspondent sees them:

The Yazidis are an ethnic group and a religion that predates Christianity and Islam by hundreds of years. They have lived on the northern border of Ninewa province for many centuries and now that that region has become central to Kurdish territorial ambitions they are becoming somewhat more prominent politically. It appears that their greatest objective is simply to be left alone and treated fairly but because of their location Kurds and Arabs tend to exploit their religious peculiarity, (they’re takfiri, infidels, and even worse than Christians because they’re not “People of the Book”) to attain their compliance on political issues.

First Michael Yon, and then later, Michael Totten, visited the Yazidis. Both came away with positive impressions of the people and wonderful pictures of the area. Reading their reports — they are both excellent story-tellers — is like stepping back into an ancient and beautiful cave. First Michael Yon, from his account of a visit to the village of Yezdina, twenty miles outside of Dohuk. His essay, “Lost in Translation,” is an account of his visit there in June, 2005. I am excerpting only his prologue, before he arrives at Yezdina. However, I urge you to ponder the whole essay, and look at Yon’s excellent pictures.

In the story, he mentions being limited in his picture-taking because of his old camera. That was back when he was operating on a shoestring; he had no night vision goggles and a battered camera, and he posted on blogspot. His appeal for donations touched my heart. A man with a vocation for photography deserves a good camera, and accompanying the troops at night with no goggles sounded like a good way to get killed. Back then, the Baron was employed so I sent a donation after Mr. Yon set up a PayPal account.

In his opening, Mr. Yon sketches the cultural and historical web of the Yezidi people, their theology and practices, attempting to set them in the context of other religions and cultures in the region:

Some tenets of Yezidism are readily understandable to westerners: Yezidis worship one God but no prophets. They recognize and respect both Jesus and Mohammed, but as men of faith, not prophets. Where the doctrine starts to become hazy is when the angels appear.

An older Yezidi man with whom I speak on occasion says there are seven angels: Izrafael, Jibrael, Michael, Nordael, Dardael, Shamnael, and Azazael. All were gathered at a heavenly meeting when God told them they should bow to none other than Him. This arrangement worked for a span of forty thousand years, until God created Adam by mixing the “elements”: earth, air, water and fire. When God told the seven angels to bow before Adam, six complied. A seventh angel, citing God’s order that the angels bow only to God, refused. Although this angel was God’s favorite, his disobedience cast him from grace.

There is some dispute among Yezidis about the identity of the seventh angel; some believe it was Jibrael, while others believe it was Izrafael. Much seems lost to time. But whatever his former name, when this seventh Angel, most beloved of God, fell from grace, he was the most powerful angel in Heaven and on Earth. He rose as the Archangel Malak Ta’us. (Although this, too, is the subject of some debate; some Yezidis call him Ta’us Malak.) His herald is the peacock, for it is “by far the most beautiful bird in the world,” and the name, Malak Ta’us, literally means “King of Peacocks.”

Most Yezidis equate Malak Ta’us with Satan, a mainstay in many religions but otherwise not mentioned in Yezidism. Some Yezidis claim that Malak Ta’us is like a god himself, at least in terms of his power-particularly over the fortunes of the descendents of Adam. In this religion, God created Adam, but no Eve, and therefore all men came from Adam alone. The Yezidis were first born among all men, and consider themselves to be “the chosen people.”

Malak Ta’us descended from Heaven to Earth on a Wednesday to tell man that he is the Archangel, making this a day for religious observation. The Yezidis mark the day by not bathing on Wednesday evenings. They believe their dead must wash, and for this they need water; the dead wash on the holy day of Wednesday.

Not only do shards of Judeo-Christianity glint in this amalgam, but a close look also reveals pieces of Hinduism, especially in the prominence of castes. There are five Yezidi castes-depending on who one asks-the “most important” being the Pir, then Shaikh, Kawal, Murabby, and finally the Mureed (the follower). Descriptions of the Mureed are similar to the Dalits of Hinduism. The Yezidis are strictly forbidden to marry outside the Yezidi, and must marry within their caste.

Yezidis have two holy books: the Book of Revelation and the Black Book. The old Yezidi man informed me that although the Black Book is kept secret so it cannot be defamed, he would like to translate it into English. The title apparently has been rendered.

While Kurds say the Yezidis are Kurds, the Yezidis claim to be neither Arab nor Kurd, simply Yezidis or, perhaps, Yezidi first and Kurd second. In a fashion similar to how the word “Jewish” is used, the designation “Yezidi” applies to both a set of religious beliefs and a genetic or tribal identity. Because Yezidis keep to themselves, it is easy for others to misunderstand, or deliberately mis-project, the Yezidi religion. This can have dire consequences.

Remember that Yon is writing this when Saddam Hussein had already been captured by Coalition Forces. The eventual execution is far in the future, so Yon refers to him in the present tense:

The most recent example was when Saddam Hussein labeled the Yezidis “Devil Worshippers,” which he justified by equating Malak Ta’us with Satan. This was no minor misunderstanding, nor was it just a rhetorical flourish, but a deliberate attempt to exploit the reservoir of suspicion that encircles enclaves of people who keep to themselves, and in this case to cleave the Yezidis from the Kurds.

Exacerbating matters was that the Yezidi religion is such an amalgam of beliefs and practices. History, more so than theology, provides a key to this code. When a Yezidi holy man asserted that Yezidis all love Jesus, too, it lent credence to other reports I’d heard that Yezidism conflated with religions such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and even Zoroastrianism over the centuries, as the Yezidi came into contact with the followers of these religions.

Even without an authoritative timeline showing when these mergers occurred, the mixing of diverse dogma and symbolism in Yezidism does not flow logically or track a linear course of thinking. It goes far beyond the bounds of any off-the-shelf syncretism, and stands as testament for the ability of the Yezidis to dissimulate in the face of destruction to preserve the body. Rather than cast off their beliefs in subjugation to conquerors, they instead incorporated elements of the dominant belief system into their amalgam, using their cultural and racial identity as Yezidi for the mortar. They built their faith, and their villages, with this concrete; its ability to withstand the destructive forces of outside elements would have a severe test in recent times.

Saddam Hussein’s hatred for Yezidis and Kurds was matched only by his desire to eradicate every last one of them from Iraq. Even though most Kurds are actually Sunni Muslims [but notArab Muslims, as they will be quick to tell you. A Kurd is not an Arab, thankyouverymuch —D] as is the now imprisoned dictator, his hatred for them remained unabated, and was relentless. Hussein knew that a collision of religious beliefs carved fault lines between the Yezidis and the Kurds who surround them. He used his common point of reference with the Kurds to sharpen their divide from the Yezidis, by calling them “Devil Worshippers.” But just because the Yezidis don’t have a Satan figure in their holy book, doesn’t mean they can’t spot a devil when they see one. Together with the Kurds, they resisted Hussein’s will. Today, while the real peacock sits in jail, the unvanquished Yezidis are rebuilding their homeland.

Mr. Yon has some wonderful pictures of the village, but what captured my attention was his final image, a crayon drawing by a Yezidi child of a house complete with garden and lawn furniture. It’s amazingly Western, and exactly what I used to draw — right down to the smoke coming out of the chimney — when I was a child, longing for a secure home. This child managed to capture her village’s deep desire for safety in one poignant drawing. Unfortunately, the reality is seen in the photos our correspondent sent of the recent attacks.

“The Beginning of the Universe” is how Michael Totten describes his visit to the Yezidis. Mr. Yon visited a village, Yezdina, in June. Mr. Totten went to Lalish — the Yezidi’s “Mecca” — in cold February, when the ambience is quite different, as you will notice from his pictures and the tone of his essay:

In Northern Iraq there is a place called Lalish where the Yezidis say the universe was born. I drove south from Dohok on snowy roads through an empty land, seemingly to the ends of the earth, and found it nestled among cold hills.

I went there because the President of Dohok University told me to go. “I am a Muslim,” he said. “But I love the Yezidis. Theirs is the original religion of the Kurds. Only through the Yezidis can I speak to God in my own language.”

Yezidis are ancient fire-worshippers. They heavily influenced Zoroastrianism, and in turn have been heavily influenced by Sufi Islam. The temple at Lalish is their “Mecca.” Hundreds of thousands of remaining Yezidis — those Kurds who refused to submit to Islam — make pilgrimages there at least once in their lifetimes from all over the Middle East and Europe.

Here is an enlightening conversation he has with Baba Sheikh, the religious leader in Lalish:

“Can someone from another religion become a Yezidi?” I said.

“No,” Baba Sheik said. He shrugged his shoulders and cocked his head. “We are the original people,” he said and spread out his arms. “We can’t become a cocktail religion like Islam.” Everyone, including my Muslim driver and translator, thought that was hilarious.

They’re a bit like the Druze then, the fierce people who live in the mountains of Syria and Lebanon. You can’t convert and become a Druze either. Yezidis believe they will be reincarnated as Yezidis after they die, just as Druze believe they will be reincarnated as Druze.

Baba Sheikh apparently didn’t want me to think they were close-minded bigots. “We are a peaceful people,” he said. “We don’t interfere with others. We are the nation of generosity and kindness.”

He didn’t think that about everyone else in the region.

“72 times Muslims tried to conquer us,” he said. “Christians never once tried to conquer us. The Christians are wise, not like Muslims.”


“Can Yezidis marry people from other religions?” I said.

“No,” Baba Sheikh said. “We cannot intermarry. A Yezidi might want to convert to Islam or Christianity if he behaved badly as a Yezidi and needs a new beginning. Only then can he marry someone who is not a Yezidi.”

What about the significance of fire?

“Fire is from God,” Baba Sheikh said. “Without fire, no one would live. When Muslim Kurds swear today they still say I swear by this fire.”

“Do you think of yourselves as Kurds?” I said. They self-identify as Yezidis, but they speak Kurdish and obviously feel some kind of kinship with the Muslims.

“When there is politics, we are Kurds,” he said. “When there is no politics, we are Yezidis.”

He told me about their “Bible.”

“Our holy book is called The Black Book. It is written in gold. The book is in Britain. They took our book. That is why the British have science and education. The book came from the sky. If you go to the British Museum you can see it.”

Did they have any copies?

“There are no copies,” Baba Sheikh said. “The book is in our hearts.”

“Christians have churches,” I said. “Muslims have mosques. What do you call your temples?

“We call them mazars,” he said.

“Do you have any in Europe?” Hundreds of thousands of Kurds live in Europe, and tens of thousands of those are Yezidis.

“We have no mazars in Europe,” he said “Only in the Middle East and in Russia. We cannot make new ones. These are all originals. Muslims will build a mosque on top of a dump site after clearing the garbage. We could never do this.”

Our correspondent is right. These are a fascinating people. And the concern for their safety is not misplaced. On the other hand, think of the fact that they have managed to maintain in the face of a murderous environment. For thousands of years they have endured. There is even a small diaspora of Yezidi in Europe and parts of the Middle East; they still carry the flame.

Even though concerned about the violence, our correspondent expressed the same feeling I have about how things may go, God willing:

As for the Kurds themselves I cannot deny my affinity for them. They’re hard working (relative to Arabs) and ambitious, and everyone loves the underdog especially when he’s making the big comeback.

I agree. The Kurds see themselves as similar to Americans and their vision seems accurate to me. Our correspondent closes with this note about the influence this experience has made on him personally:

My time here in Iraq is getting very short (approx one month) and when I get back I hope to be able to speak to small groups in at least my hometown about some of my experiences and especially about the issue of Islam and how it confronts us. The general ignorance of it and ignorance of the goodness and decency of our civilization is breathtaking.

Breathtaking? Yes, indeed. But not among the Kurds it would seem. They like us and we have earned — so far — their trust.

Meanwhile, it is good to know that those with first-hand knowledge are coming home to speak about their experience.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Denmark the Model

Europe from the Danocentric point of viewGates of Vienna has been the cheering section for Denmark for quite some time, and I know everyone who’s not Danish must be getting sick of it.

But really, you gotta love those Danes.

Here’s the latest from the group SIAD, Stop the Islamification of Denmark. As I reported on Saturday, SIAD has called for certain verses of the Koran to be banned in Denmark, since they violate the clauses of the Danish Constitution prohibiting speech that incites violence.

SIAD took the trouble to send the relevant information as a press release to Al Jazeera and the embassies of various Muslim countries. Upon reading about SIAD’s initiative, a journalist in Turkey contacted Anders Gravers, the leader of the group, for an interview.

Here’s the report from SIAD’s blog:

The journalist asked which parts of the Koran offend the Danish constitution. We answered, sura 8 and 9, especially 9:5, and sura 4:34, sura 4:15, sura 33:60, sura 4:11, sura 2:282, sura 24:13, sura 9:3, sura 12:29, sura 48:17, sura 47:36, sura 76:5, sura 4:57, sura 33:27. And 33:21 which involves the hadith.

To the question about which translation we have used, we answered the German version, which is more true to the Arabic version than the Danish.

The journalist had seen in a Danish newspaper, Politiken, that we have sent our claim to the head of the Danish justice department, Lene Espersen. But we have also sent it to Al Jazeera and a couple of Arabic embassies. He wanted to know why we had send it to Al Jazeera and the embassies. Anders Gravers answered that we want to save the Danish imams from another trip to the Arabic countries. Instead of travelling around, they could just as well hear the truth from their own channel Al Jazeera and from their embassies.

Denmark is the model. These guys really know how to treat the bullies of Islam.
- - - - - - - - - -
Without even consulting the 910 Group, they’re following the 910 playbook:

1. Don’t be defensive; be aggressive. Take the fight into the enemy’s territory.
2. Refuse to be intimidated by the bullying tactics and threats of the Islamic groups.
3. Take a tip from the Islamists and use legal initiatives and lawsuits to pressure them.
4. Emphasize the overwhelmingly violent nature of the writings in the Koran and the Hadith.
5. Use humor as a major weapon, since Muslims are defenseless against it.

These guys can’t be mau-maued. Anders Gravers’ share of manly generative organs is larger than that of the entire U.S. Congress combined.

A lot of Danes drop by here to read what we have to say. You guys tell me: Are all Danes this gutsy, or is Anders an exception?

SIAD’s operational strategies need to be cloned, translated, and imitated throughout the gutless West.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Frit Folk

The other day, when I was searching for information about the Danish Constitution (the Grundlov), I ran into a site called Frit Folk, which is part of a website for a group called

I know a lot more Danish words than I did a few months ago. I know that “Frit Folk” means “Free People”, and on the web page I could recognize phrases like “freedom of speech”, “we have our Constitution”, and “Denmark is ours!” I even know who Balder was, i.e. the old Norse god of manly purity, slain by the trickster Loki who pierced him with an arrow made of mistletoe — just in case you’re interested.

A picture of Holger Danske was on the sidebar of the page, and I could see an obvious anti-Islamic aspect to the website, but other that that I was at sea with all the mysterious Danish phrases.

So I asked our Danish reader and commenter Phanarath for some help. I especially wanted to know whether Frit Folk was a racist neo-Nazi type of group, or whether it was a counterjihad organization like SIAD.

Phanarath wrote me back with a translation of the page, and this explanation:

I was considering that Frit Folk might be somehow connected to the Dansk Front or other National Socialist groups, but I couldn’t find any connection. Also, they make comparisons between “anti-racists” and the “brown-shirts”, and talk about how the Social Democrats also liked the Nazis back in the war.

There is nothing in all the speeches that can reasonably be viewed as Nazi. But some of the members could have been associated with other groups that can be. I didn’t find any connections, though. I thought you should know that I have been thinking along the same lines. A personal passion of mine is to get Nazism back where it belongs: on the Left.

The “anti-racist” groups call everyone Racists or Nazi including the police. It’s just something they like to shout.

The page consisted of a speech written by Bente Jørgensen for a demonstration at the Landsoldaten [a statue — the Country Soldier — erected to honor the soldiers in the wars against Germany/Prussia 1848 -1864] in Fredericia, on Sunday, December 1st, 2002. Ms. Jørgensen couldn’t be there, so the speech was read instead by Vibeke Edsberg:

Landsoldaten i FredericiaWhat is happening in our country? We have a constitution that says that censorship can never again be introduced. We have freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Or do we?

At the same time we have laws that prohibit us from expressing our fears about the future — if they concern the consequences of immigration and a hostile foreign religion.

A foreign religion that has come into close contact with our lives.

In the media we are confronted with violence and war, suicide bombs and oppression committed in the name of this religion.

But at the same time we are told by our politicians and spiritual leaders that we have no reason to fear.

And the immigrants tell us that their religion means peace.

But where does it do that?
- - - - - - - - - -
The USA is shown as a multicultural role model. But what is overlooked is that we seem to be playing the role of the Indians. In the USA the aboriginal inhabitants don’t have much land or resources. I cheer for the Indians in the movies, but they still lose. I wonder if the Indians would have risked being charged with racism, if they had spoken out against the white man. It did, however, take a few hundred years to eliminate the Indians. Today in Europe it is happening much faster.

Is it illegal to learn from history?

We now have about 425,000 immigrants and descendants of immigrants in this country. About 300,000 of these are from Muslim countries. This number has doubled in the last ten to eleven years. If this goes on the Danes will be a minority in about twenty-five years. But I am not allowed to express my fear about this without risking prosecution. I must be careful with my mouth. The worst thing is that it is usually other Danes who are the most active enforcers of these rules.

In my daily work I meet many people, both young and old, who are very worried and frightened. Especially the old people, who experienced World War Two.

They are all frightened of the future.

Especially the future of their children and grandchildren. And they are happy to be old, so they don’t have to live to see the future society of conflict and confrontation between cultures. They have seen what happened in Yugoslavia and are afraid of civil war in this country.

It is very painful to hear.

When the war was over, the old people say, the Germans went home. This time its different. And they mention incidents with which were unfamiliar in this country only twenty years ago.

  • Gang rapes
  • Parents mutilating their baby girls
  • Guards on Strøjet [walking and shopping street] in Copenhagen
  • Children in kindergarten who are not allowed to eat Leverpostej [common food made from pork]
  • Children in Nørrebro forbidden to wear crosses
  • Police protection for a Danish revival preacher

In the past it was not a problem to be buried next to a Dane in the cemetery.

We do not understand why the freedoms we were given in our Constitution in 1849 are now being used against us, to advance an -ism, one that is not itself tolerant towards different believers or thinkers.

  • Is it wrong to preserve the society and the values we have built?
  • Should we accept a foreign culture’s demands on us, without being allowed to speak against it?
  • Are we not allowed to say openly why they are here? Their leaders in their home countries are not hiding it.
  • And should we accept the fact that it falls on us to pay for the whole thing?
  • Can we hope to be able to see once again a society built on harmony and safety?

When we protest, we are told that we are racists. But what is racism?

Today is it simply ascribing negative qualities to persons having a different skin color?

No, racism covers both culture and religion, but only addresses violations committed against a minority, which in return gets a free pass.

In South Jutland, where I am from, and in South Schleswig we have a German and a Danish minority as a consequence of where the border was drawn. The new minorities come from immigration.

We need to look at this differently.

Is it racism to speak against a foreign culture or religion when its foundation — seen from a Danish perspective — is violence, and to discuss things that its followers openly acknowledge?

When is someone a minority? Can 5 million Danes be seen as a minority compared to 1.3 billion Muslims or 70 million Turks?

Or should we wait until the number of Muslims in Denmark is bigger then the number of Danes, and believe that when that happens, the racism laws and the Constitution will still apply?

Are we not allowed to fight for our original culture and people?

When did Denmark and the rest of Western Europe commit ourselves to be so self-destructive?

Can the right to practice a religion outweigh the right to decide in our own country?

Our asylum rules were instituted during the post-war period. After World War Two, everyone wanted to return home. They don’t want that today. In ten years we have had about 2,000 returning home annually. With 425,000 immigrants and their descendants, it will take at least 200 years until they are gone — and, all the while, still more are flowing in the opposite direction.

If one wants documentation for the overall goal of this immigration from the Middle East and Central Asia, one should study the Koran and statements from the Muslim leaders — before it is too late.

Also, here one could ask for better information about immigration and the impact of alien religious law on society. The educational materials in the schools mostly focus on the positive aspects of Islam. It is dangerous to be critical of this religion; it can quickly bring on an accusation of racism.

Here I would also like to call out to our priests and bishops to stand up and help us in our need.

Where are our priests? They should be the ones who know about these things; they should be reacting. What are they afraid of? They are amazingly silent — except for a small handful, to whom we should be deeply grateful.

What will it take for the Danish people to wake up? During World War Two, three years had to pass before serious resistance against the occupying power began. But back then we knew that when the war was over, the Germans would go home.

Neither Germans nor Danes back then expected to gain citizenship automatically after a short number of years.

Only a person who through all his actions — and even through his attitude towards life — has shown himself to be willing and able to work for the benefit of Denmark should, by my understanding of the spirit of the Constitution, be allowed to become a citizen. Danish citizenship should only be given in rare cases, as a recognition of long and faithful work for Denmark and not to people who, with their attitude and way of life, work against Danish society.

Why don’t Danish politicians actively resist this misuse of citizenship and of the asylum system that is going on to day? The media show us daily obvious examples of fraud, and still the majority of the parliament votes for new mass handouts of citizenship. How can the politicians give citizenship to persons who by their religion are forced to work against the Danish legal system? Or maybe one is no longer allowed to ask that question??

The concept of integration is also new. And be careful with misuse of the word. Leading personalities among immigrants have expressed their view that Muslims should only accept the parts of Danish culture that are compatible with Islam. Whenever Danish tradition is in conflict with Islamic tradition, the Danish version must be rejected. The state finances the dissemination of this information to the immigrants, as a part of this so-called integration process. This has to be stopped.

We must make it clear that it is not the religious laws of immigrant minorities that should control Danish society. We have in Denmark persons from 172 different countries, but only one group is making special demands.

We must say no, for it is our right to say no.

We must reject intolerant demands.

We must reject having our society rearranged by self-proclaimed minorities.

We will not accept being silenced.

We must preserve the Constitution and the freedoms that it contains.

We must fight for the people’s right to decide.

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Phanarath wrote me this afterword, with more about Frit Folk:

I could find very little mention of the group Frit Folk. They seem to appear for the first time at this demonstration with three speakers: Åse C. Bjergs, Vibeke Edbjerg and Bente Jørgensen. There was a very aggressive counter-demonstration by “anti-racist groups”, and they had to stop the demonstration prematurely when the police thought it was getting out of control.

There were the three speeches, and a press release by Frit Folk after the demonstration, and an article in a local magazine about the whole thing.

Last time they were heard from was in 2005, when they called for an open meeting in a community-house Brønshøj; the meeting was later canceled.

They are described as a group which tried to unite far-right elements who were too radical for Dansk Folkeparti. They were mainly anti-Islamic.

They don’t exist any more and I haven’t been able to find any clues to where the members went, or if they started new groups. One of the speakers, Åse C. Bjerg, was also the leader of the group and her picture is here. She also gave a speech that day.

Her speech is more aggressive and rhetorically better, in my opinion.

Phanarath is working on a translation of Ms. Bjerg’s speech, which will be posted here later in the week.

Good News Monday

Ugh. Mondays.

But here’s a non-alcoholic blues chaser, one you can consume safely at work. From AP via Yahoo News:

An American tourist who watched as a U.S. military veteran in his 70s used his bare hands to kill an armed assailant in Costa Rica said she thought the attempted robbery was a joke — until the masked attacker held a gun to her head.

“I thought it was a skit. But then he pointed the gun at my head and grabbed me by the throat and I thought I was going to die,” Clova Adams, 54, told The Associated Press...


Adams was with 12 American tourists who hired a driver to explore Costa Rica for a few hours. They were climbing out of the van to visit a Caribbean beach when three masked men ran toward them, she said. One held a gun to her head, while the other two pulled out knives.

Suddenly, one of the tourists, a U.S. military veteran trained in self defense, jumped out of the van and put the gunman in a headlock, according to Limon police chief Luis Hernandez.

Hernandez said the American, whom he refused to identify, struggled with the robber, breaking his collarbone and eventually killing him. Police identified the dead man as Warner Segura, 20. The other two assailants fled.


Costa RicaCosta Rican officials interviewed the Americans, and said they wouldn’t charge the U.S. tourist with any crime because he acted in self defense.

“They were in their right to defend themselves after being held up,” Hernandez said. He said Segura had previous charges against him for assaults.

Just goes to show that some old soldiers don’t fade away after all.

And it’s good to know that Costa Rica has a sane view of self-defense. I’m glad these tourists weren’t getting off the bus in, say, the Cotswolds. That poor geezer would be in the clinker now, facing jail time, fines, and trying to get the nearest American consulate to help him find a lawyer.

Smart move, Costa Rica. Your tourist appeal just went up. There are opportunistic criminals no matter where you go. It’s what happens after you attempt to defend yourself that counts.

[Heads-up Britain - give Costa Rica a call re: some lessons on “sanity and self-defense.” Think of all the paperwork it would save your poor hamstrung police departments.]

I hope we eventually learn the identity of the ex-military man. Maybe a parade and medals are in order. At the very least the tourists he saved could take up a collection for him and hand over a handsome check for his derring-do.

There could have been some expensive American funerals had he not been aboard that bus, no?

Hat tip: Wizbang Bomb Squad

[Post ends here. Back to your snow-covered sidewalks]

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sam Weddington Speaks Out

Sam WeddingtonLast Thursday I posted my theological refections on a discussion I had in Charlotte Courthouse with a man I called “The Rev”. He and I had talked about Jamaat ul-Fuqra and the compound at Red House, as well the road bearing an official county name that honors the Pakistani terrorist Sheikh Gilani.

After I saw the videotapes of the news programs, I learned that “The Rev” was in fact Sam Weddington. Yesterday he came over to Gates of Vienna and left the following comment on my post:

Hello. This is the “Rev”, or Sam Weddington whom you seek to discredit in this blog. Just wanted to let you know that I was referencing Psalm 137:9. I could go on with the list, but I won’t waste your time. Also, by the way, I am well read on Martin Luther. I would simply point out that Luther was also an Anti-Semite, and as such, he had little to say that was positive about other faiths (thus, we are “Reformed, yet still reforming” Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda; Luther wrote the pamphlet “On the Jews and their lies” in 1543, an almost proto-nazi handbook). In the end, we will all choose to believe what lies in our heart of hearts. I stand with Christ’s teachings to love one another, and to pray even for my enemies. I wish you all a good day, and I pray without ceasing for you.

— The “Rev”, Sam Weddington

The Martin Luther reference was to my Friday post. I declined to point out that his argument is one that I call “discrediting the source” — that is, rather than address the substance of what Luther said, it impugns his character. If Martin Luther’s character is suspect, does that make his writings on Islam prima facie incorrect?

Anyway, here’s what I said to Sam in response:


Glad to have you here.

In what way did I seek to “discredit” you? Have I misquoted you, or misrepresented your views, or changed the meaning in any significant way of what you said that night?

If so, please give me the details, and I will update my account.

If not, then I think you are in conversation with people who simply disagree with you.

Sam came back the next day to leave a second comment:
- - - - - - - - - -
Sam WeddingtonWhen I refer to “discredit”, what I meant was that, judging from the article and the response to it, me and my theological position is being dismissed and discredited and nothing more than an extension of liberal Protestant theology and Christian pacifism. I will commend you for quoting our conversation correctly. However, what I really took issue with was your assertion: “…with room for peaceful Muslims here and terrorists there….” You know, as well as I do, that in our discussion I maintained that I do not believe that the people who live in Red House have any connection with terrorism. You may think that I am picking at words, but it is in the detail of words that meaning and resolution can be found. I have done research on this community and others. I realize that there was a couple arrested at this community a few years ago on gun charges. However, it takes more than a handgun charge to make one a terrorist. I would just point out that I have had people under my pastoral care that have run afoul of the law as well. In the end, what I believe is that the people of this community genuinely seek to live their lives peacefully. While some may seek shelter there under false pretenses, this does not adequately represent the truth of the community’s religious commitment. I would also point out to those who would respond to those who would charge me with “pie in the sky” liberalism and pacifism that I am not a pacifist. In fact, I count myself one who very much believes that the secular, civil order is needed to maintain control over the evil tendency towards disorder and destruction that lies in the hearts of people living in human society (i.e. to give short leash to the “sinfulness” of human beings in the city of man, to borrow from St. Augustine from whom Luther borrowed his two cities metaphor). However, it is my belief that the secular order’s power to maintain order and establish laws is predicated upon God’s law of justice and compassion, and as such, all such use of force must be exercised with an eye towards equity, fairness, and the establishment of truth. It is to this end that I support the members of this community to whom I credit the attempt to live their lives in accord with their own religious conscience and under the rule of law of the “city” in which they find themselves. Thank you and I will still be praying for you.

I felt that his second comment deserved a longer and more detailed reply. Below you will find his words in regular font, with my responses in italics.

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When I refer to “discredit”, what I meant was that, judging from the article and the response to it, me [sic] and my theological position is being dismissed and discredited and nothing more than an extension of liberal Protestant theology and Christian pacifism.

A logical extension of your position would be pacifism, since a refusal to look at overwhelming evidence of a violent ideology and its violent history would indicate a predisposition towards pacifism.

But I’ll concede the possibility that you do not intend pacifism in what you have been saying, despite the lack of evidence to back up your assertion.

I will commend you for quoting our conversation correctly. However, what I really took issue with was your assertion: “…with room for peaceful Muslims here and terrorists there….” You know, as well as I do, that in our discussion I maintained that I do not believe that the people who live in Red House have any connection with terrorism.

You did indeed maintain that position. You also refused even to hear any of the evidence indicating that other people — people whom you have not met, people who are committed members of the Muslims of America and Jamaat ul-Fuqra — have conspired to commit violent acts, have committed murder, and continue to engage in other violent unlawful activities to this day.

There is copious evidence to support these facts, much of it found in official government reports. I can make these data available to you, if you so desire, either as URLs, in digital documents, or as printed material, with sources cited.

Your contention is that I had no right to make judgements about the Muslims of America without having met any of your friends from Red House.

I have also judged the Third Reich without ever having met a single Nazi. The same thing is true of the Killing Fields of Cambodia, or the Rwandan Genocide. For each of these subjects there is ample and reliable documentation.

I accept that some people at the Red House compound are simply sincere practitioners of Islam, and know nothing of terrorist activities. That much is clear from various sources on the topic.

However, I will repeat my contention: people
you have never met, including Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani, are using the Red House compound as a front for a violent terrorist organization, and the people that you have met are either innocent and sincere dupes, or skilled and cynical manipulators.

The evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

You may think that I am picking at words, but it is in the detail of words that meaning and resolution can be found. I have done research on this community and others. I realize that there was a couple arrested at this community a few years ago on gun charges. However, it takes more than a handgun charge to make one a terrorist.

This is a disingenuous argument. You are “picking at words”. These were no mere “handgun” charges; the case was about stockpiling automatic weapons.

Defense Watch:

“The Red House, Va., compound was under surveillance by law enforcement prior to the 9/11 attacks for stockpiling weapons. Three members of the compound, including leader Vincente Pierre and his wife Tracy Upshur, were later arrested for illegal arms purchases.”

Those “illegal arms” were
not Saturday night specials.

I would just point out that I have had people under my pastoral care that have run afoul of the law as well. In the end, what I believe is that the people of this community genuinely seek to live their lives peacefully. While some may seek shelter there under false pretenses, this does not adequately represent the truth of the community’s religious commitment.

Nobody “sought shelter there under false pretenses”. Fugitive felons escaping the crackdown in Colorado fled to Red House as a safe house, with the full knowledge and approval of the group’s leadership. Leaders from Pakistan make regular visits to Red House; they are well aware of what goes on there.

The FBI considers it likely that John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway Sniper, holed up in Red House for a brief period, although I think it is more probable that he went to the Meherrin compound.

I would also point out to those who would respond to those who would charge me with “pie in the sky” liberalism and pacifism that I am not a pacifist. In fact, I count myself one who very much believes that the secular, civil order is needed to maintain control over the evil tendency towards disorder and destruction that lies in the hearts of people living in human society (i.e. to give short leash to the “sinfulness” of human beings in the city of man, to borrow from St. Augustine from whom Luther borrowed his two cities metaphor).

If you are sincere in this wish, then it is incumbent upon you to consider evidence in addition to that which you learn first-hand from your acquaintances in Red House. Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been engaging in violence and criminality in this country for nearly three decades.

Simply to ignore and wave away the mountains of testimony about what has been done by Jamaat ul-Fuqra, including at the Red House compound, is to be derelict in any obligation to defend yourself, your country, and the Christian faith.

However, it is my belief that the secular order’s power to maintain order and establish laws is predicated upon God’s law of justice and compassion, and as such, all such use of force must be exercised with an eye towards equity, fairness, and the establishment of truth.

As I said above, if you rely solely upon the testimony of the people at Red House, you may discern a fragment of the truth, but the truth in its entirety will elude you.

It is to this end that I support the members of this community to whom I credit the attempt to live their lives in accord with their own religious conscience and under the rule of law of the “city” in which they find themselves. Thank you and I will still be praying for you.

As a wise theologian once said, “Prayer is what we do while we are waiting for something to happen.”

Red Shirt Friday Returns

ElvisThere is a movement making the rounds again: wearing red on Friday as a sign of support for America’s military. Obviously, it’s a take-off on the colored ribbons and bracelets that have evolved to allow people to proclaim their allegiance to various programs and causes.

[No doubt this idea of using symbols is as old as the first proto-human tribal get-together. One of the things I love about Catholic rubrics is its deeply layered understanding of symbolism as an expression of the sacred, and of things experienced too deeply to be amenable to mere words. It is intriguing to notice that formerly anti-papist churches are beginning to return to using colors and seasons to mark the important turnings in the liturgical year. See Mircea Eliade if you’re interested in delving into the fundamental motivation behind all this symbolism stuff.]

The “Red Shirt Fridays” idea is a new one to me. Admittedly, I don’t get out much, never watch television, have quit listening to the radio since the Baron became unemployed — he’s more interesting — and am generally (though not purposely) as out-of-the-loop as it is possible to be whilst still remaining among the living. Or at least among the breathing. Lord knows, even the books on my bedside table are passé: a random volume of O. Henry’s collected works, an out-of-date anthology of American history, a book on the idea of vocation (I promised Spence Publishing I’d review it in return for a free copy), and another on economics. Plus a few British detective novels and a Land’s End catalogue, all balanced precariously. They sure do make a clatter if they topple over in the middle of the night.

However, just to let any of you other slackers out there know, Red Shirt Fridays is for real even if it’s not very new. Snopes says it started in the US and was picked up by the wives of some Canadians deployed to the current wars in the Middle East.

Here’s an email that was making the rounds in the US in 2005:

You will soon see a lot of people wearing RED on Fridays. Here’s why.....

The Americans who support our troops are the silent majority. We are not “organized” to reflect who we are, or to reflect what our opinions are. Many Americans, like you, would like to start a grassroots movement using the membership of the Special Operations Association, and Special Forces Associations, and all their friends, simply to recognize that Americans support our troops. We need to inform the local VFW’s and American Legion, our local press, local TV, and continue carrying the message to the national levels as we start to get this going. Our idea of showing our solidarity and support for our troops is starting Friday, and continuing on each and every Friday, until this is over, that every RED — blooded American who supports our young men and women, WEAR SOMETHING RED.

Word of mouth, press, TV — let’s see if we can make the United States, on any given Friday, a sea of RED much like a home football game at a university.

If every one of our memberships shares this with other acquaintances, fellow workers, friends, and neighbors, I guarantee that it will not be long before the USA will be covered in RED — and make our troops know there are many people thinking of their well-being. You will feel better all day Friday when you wear RED!

Let’s get the word out and lead by example; wear RED on Fridays.

Please forward this to everyone you know!!


The latest, almost verbatim repetition of this email is on the blog, “Find the Good”, and is signed by a staff sergeant.

As Snopes points out,
- - - - - - - - - - - -
The only question is how effective the proposed scheme is for its purpose, and one of the drawbacks to this type of display is that it involves something perhaps a bit too ordinary. Red clothing is not uncommon, so if the participation level is not high enough to create the suggested “sea of RED,” how does one distinguish participants from those who have merely donned red garb by coincidence (or because they’re Nebraska Cornhusker fans)? A better scheme might be to don something one wouldn’t normally wear (such as a badge) or a distinctive color combination, although these methods might also have the shortcoming of being less visible at a distance. And for some people simply wearing red as a demonstration of support may be a source of satisfaction in itself, whether or not others recognize the gesture or do so as well.

Other groups have adopted red shirts as a symbol of their intent and purpose. However, that doesn’t detract from the attractiveness of this idea as the war wears on and those who are concerned about the undermining of our troops deployed in Iraq — and increasingly in Afghanistan -- search for a way to undermine the underminers.

Is this hokey? Sure it is. But it’s simple, clever, and a “dignified” way to walk around in those Bastions of Blue Country whose denizens think patriotism itself is hokey, if not downright evil and violent.


Red Shirt Friday is a good response to the mean-spirited machinations of Code Pink.

Take that Cindy Sheehan — put it in your pipe and add it to whatever else you’ve been smoking these last few years.

Don’t you wonder what that woman’s gonna do when the war ends and she finds herself without a cause? Perhaps the “America-is-evil” meme, now that it’s out in the open, can carry her along for awhile. But eventually…eventually she’ll return to the black hole in her heart: the one where Casey used to live.

Wear your red shirt, y’all. A nice way to start the weekend, no?

Go check out you closet now, while you’re thinking about it. Annoy the lefties at the office while proclaiming your innocence – “Huh? Red Friday? Whaa?”

Have fun, live dangerously: aggravate a non-violent liberal. As far as I’ve been able to discern, they don’t seem to think slamming things down on a desk, or accidentally leaving vehement spittle on your glasses as they shriek “Bush sucks” to be in the category of violent gestures. In fact, it appears to pass for civil discourse among those standing on that cliff to the left of us.

All Muslims Are Moderates

There are no moderate Muslims. There are no extremist Muslims. There are only Muslims. Got that?

That’s according to the former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamed, the man who became notorious when he said that “today the Jews rule this world by proxy.”

According to an article in Malaysia Today, Dr. Mohamad considers the labels “moderate” and “extremist” to be unfair when applied to Muslims:

Mahathir MohamadTun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today asked Muslims to do away with false assumptions when declaring themselves as moderate followers of Islam because the religion is indeed moderate.

The former prime minister said Muslims did not need to defend themselves as moderate or liberal Muslims as this gave a picture that were only partial followers of Islamic teachings while others (teachings) were deemed extreme.

“Islam is already a moderate religion…there is no need for us to show that were are more liberal Muslims than others. We are Muslims… period,” he said when opening the 45th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Perkim) here.

Dr Mahathir, who is also Perkim president, said that even if some Muslims were labelled extremists, it was not because of the teachings of Islam but a lack of understanding of them or the religion being manipulated by irresponsible followers.

“There is nothing extreme about Islam if we follow its teachings as contained in the Quran,” he said.

Let’s get behind Dr. Mohamad. I recommend that Muslims everywhere simply follow the Koran as it as written.
- - - - - - - - - -
Let them take the book at face value. It will ask them to kill unbelievers and subjugate the survivors. It declares that a woman’s value is half that of a man. It specifically instructs the believer to have nothing whatsoever to do with Christians and Jews.

Especially those Jews, the sons of apes and pigs.

Let’s hope that Muslims everywhere follow Dr. Mohamad’s advice.

Then everyone will know that Islam is inherently a moderate religion.

Then they will know that there are neither moderates nor extremists.

There are only Muslims… period.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ban (Parts of) the Koran in Denmark!

I have written previously about the Danish organization SIAD, “Stop the Islamification of Denmark”. SIAD’s latest tactic against the encroachment of Islam in Denmark is is to demand that parts of the Koran be banned, in accordance with Danish law:

It seemed that the mainstream media in Denmark would not release our press release. But one newspaper has just defied the fear(!) and made an article (in Danish) at Politiken.

We have sent it to Al Jazeera, and we will try to get in touch with the foreign media. Maybe they are not so reluctant as the Danish, who definitely are afraid of making another Muhammed crisis.

The GrundlovThe Danish party, SIAD, demands parts of the Koran be forbidden in Denmark in accordance with the Danish Constitution. SIAD hereby draws attention to the fact that the Koran is in violation of the Danish Constitution’s paragraphs 67 and 69. SIAD further claims that mosques should be forbidden in consonance with paragraph 78, clause 2.

SIAD also demands that all Koran verses incompatible with Danish customs and traditional values should be banned in accordance with the Danish Constitution’s paragraphs 67 and 69, which state that “Citizens have the right to form communities with a view to practising religion in accordance with their faith, but on condition that nothing is taught or done that is at odds with morality or public order”.

Paragraph 69 explains this injunction in more detail. “The status of religious communities outside the Danish Folkekirke shall be specified by law”.

We also demand that the Minister of Justice apply paragraph 78, clause 2 of the Danish constitution, which states that “societies using violence or seeking to achieve their ends with violence, fomentation of violence or other unlawful pressure on those of a different opinion, shall by dissolved by law”.

According to paragraph 78 clause 2 this automatically includes every mosque in so far as those parts of the Koran in inciting to violence, murder or threats to people of different opinions are read out there. SIAD has previously demanded a prohibition of the Koran in 2005, but this time we demand it in accordance with the Danish Constitution [The Grundlov], which the minister of justice has sworn to uphold.

It’s an interesting way of tackling the Islamification problem. But what effect is it likely to have?

I asked Kepiblanc, our regular Danish reader and commenter, for his take on SIAD’s initiative. Here’s what he said:
- - - - - - - - - -
The relevant part of the Danish constitution says :

Section 78 [Freedom of Association]

(1) The citizens shall be entitled without previous permission to form associations for any lawful purpose.
(2) Associations employing violence, or aiming at attaining their object by violence, by instigation to violence, or by similar punishable influence on people of other views, shall be dissolved by judgment.

Personally, I thinks it’s quite funny, but a stunt nevertheless. The Constitution is violated on a daily basis and nobody takes it seriously aside from the fact that people can take a day off on June 5. every year.

For example:

  • The King has the executive power (ha)
  • Private property is sacrosanct (tax?, expropriation?)
  • Sovereignty cannot be delegated (EU?)
  • ‘My home is my castle’ (113 laws with exceptions)

And so on ad infinitum…

I don’t think SIAD even expects an answer. But taken literally it’s 100% relevant.

This is something that other countries might want to consider, maybe even the USA. Does the religion clause of the First Amendment trump laws against incitement? Has anybody ever tried to find out?

It’s worth looking into.

Hat tip: LN, via email.

Terror and Slaughter Return

After a week of 24/7 Jamaat ul-Fuqra coverage, it’s time for a change of pace.

Rudyard KiplingI’d like to say that Rudyard Kipling is currently enjoying a revival, but that may only be true here, in the virtual pages of Gates of Vienna. We’ve covered some of his poetry before, including the most politically incorrect verse in modern history, “The White Man’s Burden”.

The following poem is uncannily apropos to the mess the Western world finds itself in today. It’s as if Kipling had a Future-o-Scope in his study that let him peer ahead into the peculiar landscape of the early 21st century.

The great poet had a deep understanding of human nature; of what was possible for mankind to achieve, and what was folly for it even to attempt.

A note on the title phrase: a “copybook” was a notebook used by English schoolchildren, and a “heading” was a theme that they were instructed to write at the top of a page by their master. The pupil would then be required to write an essay below the heading on the given topic. In this case, the heading might have been “Zeus”, or “Thoth”, or “Kali”. Or maybe even “Jehovah”.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings
by Rudyard Kipling

As I pass through my incarnations
                in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations
                to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers
                I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings,
                I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us.
                They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us,
                as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift,
                Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas
                while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed.
                They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne
                like the Gods of the Market-Place;
But they always caught up with our progress,
                and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield,
                or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on
                they were utterly out of touch.
They denied that the moon was Stilton;
                they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses;
                they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market
                Who promised these beautiful things.
- - - - - - - - - -

When the Cambrian measures were forming,
                they promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons,
                that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us
                and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
                “Stick to the Devil you know.

On the first Feminian Sandstones
                we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour
                and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children
                and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
                “The Wages of Sin is Death.

In the Carboniferous Epoch
                we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter
                to pay for collective Paul;
But though we had plenty of money,
                there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
                “If you don’t work you die.

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled,
                and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled
                and began to believe it was true,
That All is not Gold that Glitters,
                and Two and Two make Four —
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings
                limped up to explain it once more.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

As it will be in the future,
                it was at the birth of Man —
There are only four things certain
                since Social Progress began —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit
                and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger
                goes wobbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished,
                and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing
                and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us,
                as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
                with terror and slaughter return!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

This poem was written in 1919, before Socialism had its great and bloody heyday, before Aldous Huxley borrowed “brave new world” from Shakespeare (The Tempest, Act V, Scene 1) as the title of his novel. But the shape of things to come was already apparent, and Kipling’s skeptical eye looked at all the airy nothing that was laid out ahead as the Course of Progress, and found it wanting.

Our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith.

Robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul.

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins.

Plus ça change…