Did you hear the big news about peace in the Middle East? I’m not all that surprised if you didn’t, but it is news, nonetheless. In a meeting in Saudi Arabia, Arab leaders talked about how they were so ready to have peace with Israel. Yay! Peace in our time! They said that the Arab nations would establish normal diplomatic ties with Israel just as soon as Israel stopped being such a bully to its neighbors. Speaking of neighbors, let’s look at the map to the right showing the Arab nations in green and that tiny sliver of Israeli blue. With that map in mind, here is what Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said at the recent meeting about the necessary steps to peace with Israel:

“Once Israel returns occupied land and comes to an agreement with the Palestinians, returns occupied land to Syria and comes to an agreement with them, and it resolves its land issues with Lebanon, Arab states will immediately establish relations.”

Faisal is saying that the Israelis need to give up the lands they paid for in blood when their oh-so-peaceful Arab neighbors attacked them, not once, but four times. And notice that it is Israel’s responsibility to kiss and make up with the Palestinians, Syria, and Lebanon before the Arab states in green will even recognize that there is a nation-state called Israel. Until then, we will see more maps with no Israel. Captain Ed of Captain’s Quarters has a reminder of what this land-for-peace idea has produced in the not-so-distant past:

The Saudis want Israel to commit to the concept of land for peace. Yet when Israel withdrew from Gaza, pulling out their settlements along with the IDF, did peace erupt all over? Most decidedly, no. The Palestinians used Gaza as a launch pad for their rockets, dropping them indiscriminately into Israeli towns, with only Palestinian incompetence keeping more civilians from dying. When that stopped amusing them, Hamas crossed into Israel to abduct Gilad Shalit, whom they still hold for ransom. Under those circumstances, why would Israel accept land for peace when they know they will not get it?

But even if Israel were to pretend that giving up its land would yield positive results this time around, the “peace offer” outlined by Faisal would still require Israel to apologize for its existence to people who indiscriminately launch rockets into its civilian population. And these people have made it clear that they don’t want to make nice with Israel; they just want Israel to vanish away. It reminds me of the famous scene in Goldfinger, with James Bond strapped to a table and a deadly laser moving closer to him. Bond asks the villain, “Do you expect me to talk?” The response is, “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” That, in essence, is what the Arab world has been saying to Israel for sixty years now.

Land for peace is the talk of the Arab conference, as stated by an anonymous former Saudi official: “What we’re saying is, accept the principle of land for peace, that it’s the basis for future negotiations, then we can work out the details.” But the cesspool Gaza has become demonstrates clearly that swapping land for peace should be as anathema to Israel as swapping freedom for security is to Americans. But based on what Faisal said at the Arab conference, land for peace seems to be the Arabs’ one-trick pony. “We cannot change the plan because it offers peace, and changing it would mean we’re no longer offering peace.” Yeah, it’s great discussing issues with someone who is so willing to compromise.

But why should the Arab nations want to compromise when Prime Minister Olmert is willing to compromise for them? Cox and Forkum did a good job of showing Prime Minister Olmert’s attitude toward any peaceful gesture by Israel’s Arab neighbors.

Whisper Peace

I just think it’s hard to discuss peace with any group whose flag shows exactly how they plan to achieve peace.

What is it about Islam that can’t stand criticism or disagreement? Abdul Karim Nabil Amer, also known as Kareem Amer, found out just how fragile Islam is when his four-year prison sentence was upheld by the Egyptian appeals court this week. What was he sentenced for? Was it murder? Rape? Kicking cats? Nothing that inconsequential. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment for insulting Islam, and an additional year for insulting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In case you were wondering, there is no such thing as freedom of speech in Egypt.

To prove the point about the brittleness of the Ummah, Iran is likewise pissed about the new movie 300 because it insults the Persian civilization. But as the report says, it’s much more than just an insult:

Javad Shamqadri, an art advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accused the new movie of being “part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological war aimed at Iranian culture”, said the report.

Time to learn a new nursery rhyme:

Sticks and stones will break your bones,
But Islam will behead you.

Childish, yes. Insulting, yes. Truthful, yes. And it’s also something I can do without being hauled off to court, because here in the U.S. we still have freedom of speech.

Sadly, it’s possible to watch that freedom evaporate wherever Shari’a law becomes national law.

This is an article in the series A Look Into Islam.

There is a facet of Islam that isn’t discussed or understood in the West nearly as much as it should be — the religious practice of deception, or taqiyya. Since they were often a tiny minority in the larger Sunni population, Shi’a Muslims would use taqiyya to deceive others around them, concealing the nature of their true beliefs in order to survive. While it could be argued that the practice of taqiyya began with Shi’a Muslims, it is now widely accepted throughout all of Islam. And since Sharia law recognizes no difference between church and state in Islam, the practice of taqiyya has come to be used in all aspects of Muslim life, both religious and political. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims that his country is doing nuclear research for purely peaceful applications, he is practicing taqiyya upon the world. When confronted with evidence of plutonium, he will likely continue practicing taqiyya. “What plutonium? Oh, you mean this plutonium. Gosh, how did that get there?”

In an earlier article, I referred to a news report of Sunnis being dragged into the streets and set afire by Shi’as. There is now some real doubt that this story really happened. The news services are all quoting Capt. Jamil Hussein in Iraq, but is this single source credible? It is quite possible that this story is yet another example of taqiyya being used to spread anti-Shi’a hatred — not that Iraq needs any more of that right now. And do you remember the infamous faked-up Reuters photo? Is it just an example of shoddy journalism, or is it taqiyya in action? What about the much-ballyhooed story of the Lebanese ambulance supposedly hit by Israeli munitions? Was this an example of faking the news just for the thrill of it, or was it taqiyya again?

This brings me to a classic example of taqiyya: Palestinian news reports. The people at Second Draft have done a great job of showing two examples of intentional deception in the news. Next time you hear about some atrocity committed by Israeli forces on innocent Palestinian bystanders, you should consider the level of taqiyya used in that area to produce “news.” Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are two videos produced by Second Draft about Palestinian taqiyya. If these YouTube links stop working, you can access the movies directly from the Second Draft site.

Pallywood

Birth of an Icon

All this begs the question: how do you deal with a religious culture that sanctions lying and deception?

This is an article in the series A Look Into Islam.

If you haven’t considered it already, it is well worth looking at how Islam promotes the treatment of women. There is a theme of modesty that runs through Islam, and you can see it in the way Muslim women dress. There is nothing wrong with the concept of modesty, and I’m a believer in modesty for both men and women, but there is a darker aspect of female modesty as it is practiced in Islam that is not often explained. Here is something recently spoken by Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali in Australia:

But in the event of adultery, the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time with women. Why? Because the woman possesses the weapon of seduction. She is the one who takes her clothes off, cuts them short, acts flirtatious, puts on make-up and powder, and goes on the streets dallying. She is the one wearing a short dress, lifting it up, lowering it down, then a look, then a smile, then a word, then a greeting, then a chat, then a date, then a meeting, then a crime, then Long Bay Jail, then comes a merciless judge who gives you 65 years.

But the whole disaster, who started it? The Al-Rafihi scholar says in one of his literary works, he says: If I come across a crime of rape – kidnap and violation of honour – I would discipline the man and teach him a lesson in morals, and I would order the woman be arrested and jailed for life.

Why, Rafihi? He says, because if she hadn’t left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn’t have snatched it. If you take a kilo of meat, and you don’t put it in the fridge, or in the pot, or in the kitchen, but you put in on a plate and placed it outside in the yard. Then you have a fight with the neighbour because his cats ate the meat. Then (inaudible). Right or not?

If one puts uncovered meat out in the street, or on the footpath, or in the garden, or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, then the cats come and eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem! If it was covered the cat wouldn’t have. It would have circled around it and circled around it, then given up and gone.

If she was in her room, in her house, wearing her hijab, being chaste, the disasters wouldn’t have happened. The woman possesses the weapon of seduction and temptation. That’s why Satan says about the woman, “You are half a soldier. You are my messenger to achieve my needs. You are the last weapon I would use to smash the head of the finest of men. There are a few men that I use a lot of things with, but they never heed me. But you? Oh, you are my best weapon.”

I’ve heard of the dating scene referred as “the meat market,” but I’ve never before heard anyone seriously compare women to meat. This attitude about women as expressed by Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali is offensive to women because it demeans them as so much meat and as Satan’s servants just because they have female bodies, and it is offensive to men because it assumes that we are impulse-driven animals with no control.

I am of the opinion that a woman’s dress or undress does not grant permission to the cats men around to rape her, no more than leaving your keys in your car gives people permission to steal it. Both acts may put ideas into people’s heads, but rape and theft are wrong. Period. I don’t accept the excuse of “she asked for it by the way she was dressed.” That only applies if people have no self-control. If men are merely cats or other dumb animals, then we can expect mindless instinct, and we put animals like that on leashes or in cages. But I am not a mindless beast with undisciplined appetites, and I resent that anyone would view me that way.

What happens when the “uncovered meat” is pounced on by the “cats” in Islam? Why, it’s time to punish the meat. (Hat tip, Captain Ed) After all, as al-Hilali said, she’s 90% responsible:

A Saudi court has sentenced a gang rape victim to 90 lashes of the whip because she was alone in a car with a man to whom she was not married.

The sentence was passed at the end of a trial in which the al- Qateef high criminal court convicted four Saudis convicted of the rape, sentencing them to prison terms and a total of 2,230 lashes.

The four, all married, were sentenced respectively to five years and 1,000 lashes, four years and 800 lashes, four years and 350 lashes, and one year and 80 lashes.

Notice that one of the rapists only gets 80 lashes for his act, while she gets 90 for the crime of being alone in a car with someone to whom she’s not married. Oh, and that guy gets 90 lashes for the crime of sitting in the car with her. There is nothing she could do that would have justified the gang rape by the others, even if they saw her give a naked lap lambada to the other guy in the car.

The end of the article talks about the woman’s husband and family appealing the punishments. I fear for her life because of the common practice of “honor killings” in Islam. Honor killing typically is when a male relative kills a woman or girl for bringing shame to the family. This can happen if the female is raped, dates someone the family doesn’t like, or marries outside of the faith. Here are a few reported instances of honor killing as posted on Little Green Footballs: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

Rape is difficult to prove in Sharia law since it requires multiple witnesses, and a woman’s testimony is worth only half of a man’s testimony. And the idea that a woman is not equal to a man carries over in inheritance laws as well. If a man dies childless, his sister inherits only half of his estate. But if she dies childless, then the brother inherits all of her estate. And in the case of siblings, a son’s share is equal to that of two daughters’. [Qur'an, 4:11]

I guess it sucks to be a Muslim woman. Legally, you are half a man. Financially, you inherit less than a man. And morally, you are a tool of Satan, and rape is 90% your fault just for being female. But at least you can expect to find love in marriage.

Well, maybe.

A Muslim man may be married to four wives at the same time. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The Ornithophobe catalogued some other acceptable forms of marriage in Islam. I quote from her article:

Nikah Misyar, the Traveller’s Marriage, is an option practiced under Sharia law in Muslim countries. In this arrangement, a man and woman are legally ‘married’ but the man has no responsibilities to this wife. He may visit her, in her parents’ home, at any time he wishes. But he owes her no financial responsibility, no home of her own. He may contract such a marriage irrespective of other, traditional marriages he has made. The first, second, third, and fourth wives do not have to approve of the Misyar bride; they do not even have to be informed that the misyar marriage has occurred.

My search of the web has turned up numerous people looking to contract such ‘marriages’ all over the globe. It has also turned up something more interesting: the opinions of Muslims the world over. It seems that ‘no respectable woman would consent to such a marriage.’ Most often, Misyar marriages are a last, desperate hope for widows, spinsters, and girls living in abject poverty. Often they are hoping the misyar marriage will somehow become a real one.

But wait! It gets better!

Nikah Mut’ah is a temporary marriage! In this arrangement, a couple agrees to marry, but with a fixed termination point. The husband has no obligations to provide for the wife, or live with her. A maximum of four temporary wives can be taken, in addition to the maximum four true wives under Islamic law.

The apparent purpose of both these forms of “marriage” is to allow men to copulate with women, without responsibility (beyond the financial support of offspring, that is) and without the sin of Zina, fornication.

All in all, why would women remain in Islam when they are treated as they are? Oh, that’s right — leaving Islam is punishable by death.

It sucks to be treated like a slab of meat, uncovered or not.

This is an article in the series A Look Into Islam.

There is a common thread to all the violence happening around the world: in almost every instance, one side of the conflict is dominated by Muslims. Since Muslim terrorists are active, we need to identify them, so what name or phrase can we use? We can’t just refer to these terrorists by the simple name of “Muslims,” “followers of Islam,” or the like because there are many Muslims who don’t chop off heads of the kafirs they meet. I have worked with many Muslims, and I’m still OK. So how can we identify the group? People have tried a multitude of names: Islamic radicals, Islamists, and Muslim fundamentalists, to name a few. I like my own term of “Islamic nutjobs,” but none of these terms have really commonly used by people to describe the terrorists.

But there is a term that works to identify these people: fascists, specifically Islamofascists. The term “Islamofascism” has been used by many different people, but it is one that I like. And it is a term used by President Bush. Here he uses the phrase in a discussion back in October 2005:

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus — and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

I’m not all that concerned about the name we use; I’m more concerned that we actually have a common term to label these terrorists. I refuse to accept the commonly held belief that one man’s terrorist is another man’s “freedom fighter.” As far as I’m concerned, if you stoop to blowing up and beheading non-combatants, you are automatically disqualified from ever claiming the status of “freedom fighter.”

But of all the articles I have read both for and against the term of “Islamofascist,” the best I have read thus far was written by Victor Davis Hanson. I very rarely do this, but I will quote the article in its entirety here. It is well worth reading.

Islamic Fascism 101
On all they’ve done to earn the name.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Make no apologies for the use of “Islamic fascism.” It is the perfect nomenclature for the agenda of radical Islam, for a variety of historical and scholarly reasons. That such usage also causes extreme embarrassment to both the Islamists themselves and their leftist “anti-fascist” appeasers in the West is just too bad.

First, the general idea of “fascism” – the creation of a centralized authoritarian state to enforce blanket obedience to a reactionary, all-encompassing ideology – fits well the aims of contemporary Islamism that openly demands implementation of sharia law and the return to a Pan-Islamic and theocratic caliphate.

In addition, Islamists, as is true of all fascists, privilege their own particular creed of true believers by harkening back to a lost, pristine past, in which the devout were once uncorrupted by modernism.

True, bin Laden’s mythical Volk don’t bath in the clear icy waters of the Rhine untouched by the filth of the Tiber; but rather they ride horses and slice the wind with their scimitars in service of a soon to be reborn majestic world of caliphs and mullahs. Osama bin Laden sashaying in his flowing robes is not all that different from the obese Herman Goering in reindeer horns plodding around his Karinhall castle with suspenders and alpine shorts.

Because fascism is born out of insecurity and the sense of failure, hatred for Jews is de rigueur. To read al Qaeda’s texts is to re-enter the world of Mein Kampf (naturally now known as Jihadi in the Arab world). The crackpot minister of its ideology, Dr. Zawahiri, is simply a Dr. Alfred Rosenberg come alive – a similar quarter-educated buffoon, who has just enough of a vocabulary to dress up fascist venom in a potpourri of historical misreadings and pseudo-learning.

Envy and false grievance, as in the past with Italian, German, or Japanese whining, are always imprinted deeply within the fascist mind. After all, it can never quite figure out why the morally pure, the politically zealous, the ever more obedient are losing out to corrupt and decadent democracies – where “mixing,” either in the racial or religious sense, should instead have enervated the people.

The “will” of the German people, like the “Banzai” spirit of the Japanese, should always trump the cowardly and debased material superiority of decadent Western democracies. So al Qaeda boasts that in Somalia and Afghanistan the unshakeable creed of Islam overcame the richer and better equipped Americans and Russians. To read bin Laden’s communiques is to be reminded of old Admiral Yamamato assuring his creepy peers that his years in the United States in the 1920s taught him that Roaring Twenties America, despite its fancy cars and skyscrapers, simply could not match the courage of the chosen Japanese.

Second, fascism thrives best in a once proud, recently humbled, but now ascendant people. They are ripe to be deluded into thinking contemporary setbacks were caused by others and are soon to be erased through ever more zealotry. What Versailles and reparations were to Hitler’s new Germany, what Western colonialism and patronizing in the Pacific were to the rising sun of the Japanese, what the embarrassing image of the perennial sick man of Europe was to Mussolini’s new Rome, so too Israel, modernism, and America’s ubiquitous pop culture are to the Islamists, confident of a renaissance via vast petro-wealth.

Such reactionary fascism is complex because it marries the present’s unhappiness with moping about a regal past – with glimpses of an even more regal future. Fascism is not quite the narcotic of the hopeless, but rather the opiate of the recently failed now on the supposed rebound who welcome the cheap fix of blaming others and bragging about their own iron will.

Third, while there is generic fascism, its variants naturally weave pre-existing threads familiar to a culture at large. Hitler’s brand cribbed together notions of German will, Aryanism, and the cult of the Ubermensch from Hegel, Nietzsche, and Spengler, with ample Nordic folk romance found from Wagner to Tacitus’ Germania. Japanese militarism’s racist creed, fanaticism, and sense of historical destiny were a motley synthesis of Bushido, Zen and Shinto Buddhism, emperor worship, and past samurai legends. Mussolini’s fasces, and the idea of an indomitable Caesarian Duce (or Roman Dux), were a pathetic attempt to resurrect imperial Rome. So too Islamic fascism draws on the Koran, the career of Saladin, and the tracts of Nasserites, Baathists, and Muslim Brotherhood pamphleteers.

Fourth, just as it was idle in the middle of World War II to speculate how many Germans, Japanese, or Italians really accepted the silly hatred of Hitler, Mussolini, or Tojo, so too it is a vain enterprise to worry over how many Muslims follow or support al Qaeda, or, in contrast, how many in the Middle East actively resist Islamists.

Most people have no ideology, but simply accommodate themselves to the prevailing sense of an agenda’s success or failure. Just as there weren’t more than a dozen vocal critics of Hitler after the Wehrmacht finished off France in six weeks in June of 1940, so too there wasn’t a Nazi to be found in June 1945 when Berlin lay in rubble.

It doesn’t matter whether Middle Easterners actually accept the tenets of bin Laden’s worldview – not if they think he is on the ascendancy, can bring them a sense of restored pride, and humiliate the Jews and the West on the cheap. Bin Laden is no more eccentric or impotent than Hitler was in the late 1920s.Yet if he can claim that his martyrs forced the United States out of Afghanistan and Iraq, toppled a petrol sheikdom or two, and acquired its wealth and influence – or if he got his hands on nuclear weapons and lorded it over appeasing Westerners – then he too, like the Fuhrer in the 1930s, will become untouchable. The same is true of Iran’s president Ahmadinejad.

Fifth, fascism springs from untruth and embraces lying. Hitler had contempt for those who believed him after Czechoslovakia. He broke every agreement from Munich to the Soviet non-aggression pact. So did the Japanese, who were sending their fleet to Pearl Harbor even as they talked of a new diplomatic breakthrough.

Al-Zawahiri in his writings spends an inordinate amount of effort excusing al Qaeda’s lies by referring to the Koranic notions of tactical dissimulation. We remember Arafat saying one thing in English and another in Arabic, and bin Laden denying responsibility for September 11 and then later boasting of it. Nothing a fascist says can be trusted, since all means are relegated to the ends of seeing their ideology reified. So too Islamic fascists, by any means necessary, will fib and hedge for the cause of Islamism. Keep that in mind when considering Iran’s protestations about its “peaceful” nuclear aims.

We can argue whether the present-day Islamic fascists have the military means comparable to what was had in the past by Nazis, Fascists, and militarists – I think a dirty bomb is worth the entire Luftwaffe, one nuclear missile all the striking power of the Japanese Imperial Navy – but there should be no argument over who they are and what they want. They are fascists of an Islamic sort, pure and simple.

And the least we can do is to call them that: after all, they earned it.

One of the dangers of working in a coal mine is the presence of methane gas. It’s odorless and colorless, making it very hard to detect. In the old days, when miners used candles or lanterns to light their way, they could easily explode the gas. Or if the gas didn’t explode, it could replace the oxygen in an enclosed mine shaft and lead to asphyxiation. Miners were understandably concerned over either occurrence. But how do you detect an invisible, odorless gas? You could put an uncovered flame on a long pole and hold it out in front of you, but intentionally triggering an explosion in a confined underground area is not a good idea.

To combat this threat, many miners would take a cage with some common canaries in it down the mine shaft with them to act as an early warning system. The birds, smaller and with a much faster metabolism, would react to the presence of methane long before the miners did. If the canaries started to wobble on their perches or fell off, the miners would know methane was present and had enough time to clear out.

For many years, canaries served as an early warning system for miners. And today, the Jewish people serve much the same role as an early warning system for Western nations. Adolf Hitler was quite clear about his hatred of Jews in Mein Kampf, but people didn’t recognize the threat he would become to Europe. When he rose to power and started making life difficult for Jews in Germany, people again failed to see how he would come to menace Europe and the world. Had Hitler been stopped as soon as his anti-Semitic goals were known, all of Europe would have been spared much destruction and death. The Jews in Germany provided an early-warning system to show the danger of Hitler’s goals, but the nations of the world ignored the signs.

And Jews serve much the same function as an early-warning system today. There exist people who hate Jews with a passion and fervor that drives them to murder and destruction. We can sit back and pretend we have nothing to worry about because it’s all just some old land squabble in Asia. Or we could convince ourselves that we aren’t in any danger when many millions of people chant “Death to Israel” on Fridays. Besides, why should we care if people on the other side of the world want to kill Jews and are actively engaged in killing them? It’s not like their violence will spill over to other people.

Who are these people who willingly carry out death and destruction on the Jews and others? They are the followers of Islam. Does this mean that every follower of Islam is building bombs in his basement and plotting how to do the most damage in a crowded area? Of course not. But there is a common thread going through every link in the above paragraph. Hint: the perpetrators are all Muslims.

Don’t believe me? Well, you didn’t look at the above links, I guess. How about this interesting editorial coming out of Iran?

Iranian newspapers Kehyan and and Resalat have urged Muslims around the world to prepare for a ‘great war’ to destroy the State of Israel.

The newspapers published the editorials, translated from Persian by MEMRI , the Middle East translation service, to mark ‘Quds’ day on October 20, an Iranian ‘holiday’ calling for the “liberation” of Jerusalem and war against Israel.

“Hizbullah destroyed at least half of Israel in the Lebanon war… Now only half the path (to its destruction) remains,” an editorial in the conservative Keyhan newspaper declared.

“It was proven that, by means of an offensive operation that need not be equal to Israel’s moves, it is possible to neutralize the Zionist navy,” the article said triumphantly.

It continued: “Just as in one 33-day war more than 50 percent of Israel was destroyed, and the hope of its supporters for the continued life of this regime was broken, it is likely that in the next battle, the second half will also collapse.”

“On that day… Jordan will not be able to prevent the Jordanian Islamists from operating through the long Jordan-Palestine border, and the millions of Egyptian Islamists… will not let the Sinai-Israel border remain quiet, and the Syrian Golan Heights will not remain as a (mere) observer of the battle. That day is not so far off.”

By choosing to focus on Islam, I know I have lost some readers as they have gone elsewhere. Some of these are probably Muslim readers who visit infrequently from the Middle East, and some are no doubt those people who refuse to accept or even see the things I’m pointing out. But ignoring the world around us is not a recipe for success or safety.

For the rest of you who have read all the way to this point, I invite you to carefully read the next few articles as I explore more into the nature of Islam and the terrorist threat confronting us. Some of what you will read may be familiar to you, depending on the ways you gather news and follow current events and history. But I’m sure at least some of what I’ll be posting will be new to you.

For the next 5-6 days, I’ll be taking a closer look at Islam and its followers. I’m not doing this because I hate Muslims, but because we all deserve to know the truth. And if things don’t change, there is a real chance of death and destruction, both in the West and in the Middle East.

Clicking on A Look Into Islam will bring up a listing of all these posts after they are written.

Little Green Footballs pointed to a survey filled out by 307 American Muslims at the Islamic Society of North America’s convention held in Chicago at the beginning of September. In their own words, here is the purpose and the scope of this survey:

The purpose of the survey was to better understand the views of American Muslims on issues relating to Islam, Muslims, and American national security. It is important to let Muslims articulate their varied opinions on these issues in order to encourage dialogue within the Muslim community and with the rest of American society.

However, this was NOT a scientific survey, because ISNA Convention attendees who visited the Muslims For A Safe America booth are not necessarily representative of the American Muslim community as a whole.

So we can’t take the results of this survey as being true for every Muslim in the United States, whether a citizen or not, nor can we apply these results to non-U.S. citizens, whether here or abroad. But even with all those caveats, there is some interesting data from the survey. You can read the entire survey response at their website, but here are some that piqued my interest.

3. Is the American government at war with the religion of Islam?
YES 208
NO 79
UNDECIDED 20

Which is why there are are no mosques left standing in the United States now, and all Muslims have been rounded up and shipped out of the country. Wait, I guess we haven’t done that, have we. If the U.S. government is at war with the religion of Islam, we sure haven’t done much to fight that war. But this survey is not about reality; it is a look at the mind-set of the 307 participants of the survey.

5. Did Muslims hijack planes and fly them into buildings on 9/11?
YES 117
NO 139
UNDECIDED 51

6. Did the U.S. government have advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and allow the attacks to occur?
YES 200

NO 70
UNDECIDED 37

7. Did the U.S. government organize the 9/11 attacks?
YES 106
NO 151
UNDECIDED 50

Thank you, moonbat left and crazy professors, for making many of these American Muslims believe that the U.S. knew and/or caused the 9/11 attacks.

12. Is Al Qaeda a real organization, operated by Muslims who are trying to attack America?
YES 149

NO 109
UNDECIDED 49

13. Is Al Qaeda attacking America because Al Qaeda hates American freedoms?
YES 17
NO 269
UNDECIDED 21

14. Is Al Qaeda attacking America because Al Qaeda hates American involvement in the Muslim world?
YES 228

NO 54
UNDECIDED 25

If only 149 of the participants answered #12 as Yes, Al Qaeda exists and is run by Muslims who are trying to attack America, then how did 228 answer Yes to #14, that Al Qaeda is attacking the U.S. because they hate our involvement in the Muslim world? The two answers can’t both be accurate because they contradict each other.

24. Should American troops leave Iraq immediately, or stay there until the Iraqi government and Iraqi military are stronger?
LEAVE NOW 199
LEAVE LATER 86

UNDECIDED 22

If the U.S. and allied forces were to pull out of Iraq immediately, the way the majority of these participants want, the result would be a horrific blood-bath among the Iraqi people as different factions there and in neighboring countries would compete to fill the power vacuum. How compassionate are these people if they are willing to see fellow Muslims die in the thousands and possible hundreds of thousands just so they can have the pleasure of seeing American soldiers run away from the fighting in Iraq?

26. Is violence by Muslims against American civilians acceptable, in retaliation for the American government’s actions in the Muslim world?
YES 23
NO 274

UNDECIDED 10

Those 23 people scare me, but they should scare the other 284 Muslims more. Do they really want to see an American war against the religion of Islam? If so, they need to do nothing while their co-religionists kill fellow Americans.

30. If you learned about a plot by Muslims to attack targets inside America, would you tell law enforcement authorities?
YES 234
NO 39

UNDECIDED 34

And this is another scary number. 39 of the people who answered the survey would not tell the police if they learned of a plot to kill people and break things. And if the 23 people who answered No to the earlier question were among the 39 who answered Yes to this one, I can see why they might not want to say anything.

2. Do you consider yourself to be a Muslim first, an American first, or both equally?
MUSLIM FIRST 214
AMERICAN FIRST 4

BOTH EQUALLY 86
UNDECIDED 3

Initially, I was shocked by the answers to this question, but after I thought about it, I had to agree with the 214 people who said they were Muslims first. If my country and my religion were in conflict, I would also choose my faith first. I just don’t see much of a conflict now between my faith and my country, but that hasn’t always been the case. After being driven out of Missouri and Illinois, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints moved westward out of the United States into the territory that is now Utah and the surrounding states. Shortly after the Mormons moved west, the U.S. annexed the land they were living in from Mexico. So I can see how my country and my faith could be at odds, but historically when it has happened, the opposition from my faith has been peaceful.

That’s probably why you don’t often hear of Mormon suicide bombers screaming “BYU rocks!” before exploding in crowded surroundings.

There’s been much written about the angry responses of President Clinton during his interview with Chris Wallace, but here’s one article I recently read (thanks, TPK!) that is well worth reading in full. Cliff Kincaid posted this article on Sept. 27, 2006, at the Accuracy in Media site.

Of all the whoppers told by former President Clinton in his Chris Wallace interview, perhaps the most outrageous was his claim that he was involved in “trying to stop a genocide in Kosovo…” In fact, Clinton’s bombing of the former Yugoslavia killed more people than died in this “genocide.” And his policy benefited Osama bin Laden and the global Jihad.

In the year before the bombing, some 2,000 people had been killed in a civil war in Kosovo. A conservative estimate is that 6,000 were killed by U.S. and NATO bombs.

Interestingly, Al-Jazeera celebrated the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by airing several al-Qaeda videos, one of which showed two of the 9/11 hijackers saying their actions were designed to avenge the suffering of Muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya. Nothing demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Clinton policy more than that. Not only did Clinton order the CIA to help the KLA in Kosovo, he approved Iranian arms shipments to the Bosnian Muslims, in order to help them establish a Muslim state in Bosnia. Still, that wasn’t good enough for the Jihadists. Nothing appeases them.

That’s precisely it. Nothing appeases them. These Islamist nutjobs are not in it for the money. Their goal is a world ruled by sharia law, in which you are one of three things: a Muslim, a dhimmi, or dead.

Take your pick.

Charles Krauthammer wrote an excellent article in The Washington Post about the Muslim ire over Pope Benedict’s quoting of a 14th century emperor about Islam. It’s a short read, but here’s the beginning to tantalize you.

Religious fanatics, regardless of what name they give their jealous god, invariably have one thing in common: no sense of humor. Particularly about themselves. It’s hard to imagine Torquemada taking a joke well.

Today’s Islamists seem to have not even a sense of irony. They fail to see the richness of the following sequence. The pope makes a reference to a 14th-century Byzantine emperor’s remark about Islam imposing itself by the sword, and to protest this linking of Islam and violence:

* In the West Bank and Gaza, Muslims attack seven churches.

* In London, the ever-dependable radical Anjem Choudary tells demonstrators at Westminster Cathedral that the pope is now condemned to death.

* In Mogadishu, Somali religious leader Abubukar Hassan Malin calls on Muslims to “hunt down” the pope. The pope not being quite at hand, they do the next best thing: shoot dead, execution-style, an Italian nun who worked in a children’s hospital.

“How dare you say Islam is a violent religion? I’ll kill you for it” is not exactly the best way to go about refuting the charge. But of course, refuting is not the point here. The point is intimidation.

First Salman Rushdie. Then the false Newsweek report about Koran-flushing at Guantanamo Bay. Then the Danish cartoons. And now a line from a scholarly disquisition on rationalism and faith given in German at a German university by the pope.

And the intimidation succeeds: politicians bowing and scraping to the mob over the cartoons; Saturday’s craven New York Times editorial telling the pope to apologize; the plague of self-censorship about anything remotely controversial about Islam — this in a culture in which a half-naked pop star blithely stages a mock crucifixion as the highlight of her latest concert tour.

Back in the later 80s a common BBS tagline I used when talking religion was “Believe in a loving god, infidel, or die!” This has left the realm of humor and has become a statement of fact, thanks to the knee-jerk reaction by Muslims.

Here’s the scene — on the fifth anniversary of the attack of Sept. 11th, 2001, George “Brother Jed” Smock, a Christian preacher, stood holding a Bible in one hand and a Koran in the other at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. He was denouncing Islam as violent and calling Allah a false god. According to the Minnesota Daily newspaper, an unidentified Muslim woman took offense at his words and tried to take the Koran from him. When he refused, she hit and kicked him. She succeeded in breaking his glasses, and she tried to choke him with his own tie.

When the University police arrived, they arrested the woman for assault and battery. Yeah, right. Maybe in another parallel universe, but not here. There is no report of the Muslim woman being arrested for her physical abuse of the street preacher. But Smock was warned (read: threatened) that if he didn’t stop preaching, he could be arrested for disorderly conduct.

I can feel badly for the Muslim. I’m sure she wasn’t used to the fact that people have freedom of speech in the United States, and they can use it to attack other religions. Smock did exactly that when he was bad-mouthing Islam. Trey Parker and Matt Stone routinely bash and mock religions in their television cartoon, South Park. And artists like Madonna and Andres Serrano create Christian-themed art and media that are seen as objectionable, even blasphemous, to many Christians. Either Christians are too wimpy to stand up for their beliefs, or they are mature enough that they don’t need to lash out at their detractors like a five-year-old in a snit. I believe it is the latter.

In Muslim nations, insulting Islam, attempting to convert someone away from Islam, or choosing to convert to another faith are punishable acts. So I can understand why the woman tried to physically restrain Smock from saying what he did. But this is the United States, and we still have our First Amendment rights, even if that Amendment is under assault. You can tell that this isn’t a common understanding in Islam. Consider Batool Al-Alawi, a Kuwaiti student who confronted Smock and another preacher at Indiana State University at Terre Haute. According to the Indiana Statesman, Al-Alawi charged the steps where Smock was preaching and told him, “You have no right.” Well, sorry, Ms. Al-Alawi, but he does have the right, no matter how much you might dislike it.

I’ve noticed recently that not everyone is treated the same way when religion and freedom of speech come together. Every six months, the followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather for a conference in Salt Lake City to receive teachings from their leaders. This gathering also attracts many people who object to the LDS Church and its teachings, and some of their demonstrations and actions can be deeply insulting to church members. One notorious street preacher paraded before the long lines of faithful Mormons waiting to enter the Conference Center, dragging Mormon scriptures along the ground and using Mormon religious vestments to mime wiping his rear end. To make this relevant to other religions, imagine someone using a Jewish prayer shawl or a Catholic Bishop’s stole in like manner. Most LDS members, knowing that they were being taunted, ignored the antics of these street preachers, but one person lost his temper and tried to take the religious garment from the preacher. The police promptly arrested the Mormon and allowed the preacher to continue doing his thing. Strangely, this is the polar opposite of what happened to Smock and his fellow preachers, who were forced off campus by police at both ISU and the University of Minnesota.

Why the difference between Mormons and Muslims? Muslims are treated differently because they are now part of a protected minority here in the States. You can’t treat them as Christians are treated, because the Council for American Islamic Relations would scream “hate crime” if you did.

And I can’t help but think there is another reason why Christians are punished, but Muslims are treated with kid gloves. Christians, as a rule, don’t riot in the streets and issue fatwas calling for people’s deaths. That’s reserved for the followers of Islam, who collectively display the maturity of a five-year-old in a snit.

UPDATE (9/22/2006 1:48:29 PM): This article has been corrected from its original format; there were two separate incidents involving “Brother Jed” Smock, which were accidentally compressed into one in the original article. –TPK