I just returned tonight from a lecture on state-sponsered Islamic-Totalitarianism by Dr. John Lewis at George Mason University here in suburban Washington, DC. There were numerous police officers posted in and around the building providing security. Needless to say, haven't we seen this move before? Mob mentality ruled as chaos via invective broke out as "demonstrators" in the audience disrupted the entire event.
Obviously having learned their playbook backwards and forwards, left to right, right to left, the Islamofacist groups and their Marxist dhimmi associates who showed up at this lecture by Dr. Lewis hurled insults, howled like rabid wolves, and spat into the whole mix in possessed frenzy. The professor and his supporters, much to their credit, behaved with complete restraint and respect for different viewpoints during the Q&A session. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of his opponents. The rumor of tolerance and diversity among so-called politically correct duffers is an irrelevant myth built with straw. Those repeated attempts to disrupt and shut down the speech and follow-up discussion were a disrespectful, uncivilized display of hate that supports the argument that one cannot reason with or appease this type of enemy, the liars.
Remember when. May, 2005. Ali al-Timimi, 41, (left) who recently earned a doctorate in computational biology at George Mason University , was convicted last week on ten federal counts of supporting and encouraging terrorist activities. Specifically, he was convicted of urging his followers to join Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a violent Pakistani radical group known for participating in the decade-long insurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir and for attacking the Pakistani Shi’ite minority. Although the charges on which al-Timimi was convicted carry a mandatory prison sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema has not ruled out tossing out some of these charges. Toxic interlopers.
Al-Timimi, as a frequent speaker at the Center for Islamic Information and Education, also known as Dar al-Arqam, in Falls Church, Virginia, which hosted several well-known Salafi scholars from Saudi Arabia, has come under increasing federal scrutiny since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A native of the D.C. area, he received some religious education as a young man in Saudi Arabia, though it is unclear whether he has the religious training generally expected of a traditional Sunni Muslim religious scholar. Toxic interloper? Toxic certainly.
Dar al-Arqam, which was co-founded in June 2000 by al-Timimi, has its origins in study groups made up of Muslim students at Mason who gathered on a weekly basis to hear lectures by Shaykh Ja’far Idris, an internationally-known Salafi cleric and a member of the Saudi diplomatic corps. Idris was forced to leave the U.S. in late 2003 due to increasing pressure by the federal government. Al-Timimi was one of several speakers from Dar al-Arqam that has participated in events sponsored by Mason’s Muslim Students Association. Mason is full of it...
The First Amendment to the US federal constitution was drafted in 1789, and was ratified by the States in 1791. It states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." The interpretation of the First Amendment and in particular its first clause, referred to as the "Establishment of Religion" or "Establishment" clause, has a direct bearing on how federally-funded public schools can teach religion. Alan Brownstein, a constitutional law expert from the University of California at Davis' School of Law states: "From a constitutional perspective, schools can't teach the truth or falsity of religious belief, and atheism would fall in that parameter."
Public schools can teach about religions, but can neither denigrate one religion nor promote another. When 9/11 happened, children were confronted with the spectacle of Muslim terrorism on their TV screens. Sadly, for children growing up in America, their understanding of why Islamic terrorism takes place is not likely to be explained at school. There are "problematic" verses in the Koran, advocating violence against "unbelievers". These include Sura 8:12: "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them."
Sura 3:151 states: "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrong-doers!" Sura 9:25 declares: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."
Sura 9:29 states: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (Jizya was a tax which non-Muslims had to pay to their Muslim overlords).
The First Amendment was originally designed to prevent the conflicts which (Christian) religion had caused in Europe. Now, it is being employed by the politically correct to present an anodyne and inaccurate portrayal of Islam in US public schools. Sura 4:34 specifically states that a husband has the right to beat his wife if she is not submissive. Problematic Suras such as this are not likely to even be mentioned in public schools, for fear of being seen to break the terms of the First Amendment by "denigrating" Islam.
Already schools in America are being taken to task by Muslim activists who perceive that their religion is not treated with enough "respect". In December 2006 Baltimore County School Board in Maryland was accused of inaccuracy in its teaching of Islam. The claim was made by Bash Pharoan, who is president of the local American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and head of Baltimore County Muslim Council.
Pharoan was complaining about resource sheets given to students in seventh and tenth grade. He has been whining for three years that the sheets do not show respect to Mohammed, founder of Islam, because they merely call him "Mohammed." "Omitting the word prophet is disrespectful", Pharoan claimed.
He also objected to the description in the resource sheets of "jihad". He accepted that the sheets refer to its meaning as "struggle" but objected to the statement: "Muhammad justified his attacks to his followers by explaining that to weaken those who opposed the spread of God's word was a virtue, and that those who fell in battle would be rewarded in heaven. Thus the idea of the jihad became the holy war of the Muslims against 'the unbelievers."
The issue of how Islam is taught in schools has become a political hot potato. In California one school, the Excelsior Elementary, took its teaching of Islam to seventh graders to extremes. School pupils were made to dress up in Islamic clothing, to memorize Koranic verses and even to fast during their lunch hour to mimic Muslim behavior during Ramadan. The Five Pillars of Islam were to be learned, pupils were encouraged to say "Allahu Akbar" and using dice, the children played a "jihad game". The materials employed at the school stated: "From the beginning, you and your classmates will become Muslims."
The games were neither new, nor exclusive to Excelsior. In 1994 the Joseph Kerr Junior High School in Elk Grove, California displayed a banner stating "There is one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet" while children ran around in Islamic garb. In summer of 2002, Byron Union School District, which governs Excelsior, became subject of a lawsuit. This suit was brought by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center said of the Islamic sessions at Excelsior: "No federal court would have permitted a class where public school students were taught to 'become Catholics' for three weeks, selected a saint's name, wore identification tags that displayed their new name and a Crucifix, and engaged in Catholic religious practices. Here, however, students were subjected to Islamic religious indoctrination and propaganda and the courts turned a blind eye. The Supreme Court missed an opportunity to demonstrate that the Establishment Clause is to be applied the same to all religions and is not just a weapon to be used only against Christians."
On 10 December 2003 U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton issued a 22 page ruling which claimed that Excelsior was not violating the constitution as it was not indoctrinating students into Islam. TMLC pointed out that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional in 2002.
The simulations of Islam as practiced by Excelsior Elementary School were recommended in a textbook published by Houghton Mifflin, entitled "Across the Centuries". The publishers have defended this book, claiming one major critic had not read the book. William J. Bennetta of the Textbook League has read the book, and still condemns it. "Across the Centuries" is one of several controversial text books available in US schools.
The book "Across the Centuries" was republished after it was reviewed by Susan L. Douglass, an American-born Muslim who works for the Council of Islamic Education (CIE) which was founded in 1990. She is also associated with the International Institute of Islamic Thought, whose president declared that jihad was the only way to liberate Palestine.
CIE describes Douglass as "an American-born Muslim social studies educator and author, with experience in teaching, curriculum and instructional design. She has a Master's Degree in Arab Studies (History) from Georgetown University and a B.A. in History from the University of Rochester. Ms. Douglass is an independent consultant who has served as CIE's principal researcher and writer, contributing to projects involving textbook review, analysis of curriculum and standards, teacher training, and development of supplementary materials."
For nearly a decade, up until 2003, Douglass taught at the Saudi-funded Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1993 the Islamic Assembly published "Answers to Common Questions to New Muslims." In this a question was posed: "Now that I am Muslim, can I keep my non-Muslim friends that I have known all my life?" The answer was given: "You should try to remain away from mixing with non-Muslims because mixing with them removes your religious zealousness and pride from your heart and may lead you to having love and compassion in your heart for them...it is obligatory upon a Muslim to be free of the people of infidelity and to hate them for the sake of Allah."
The agendas of those who maintain that religions are discriminated against should always be examined. Bash Pharoan, who maintains that Baltimore County School Board is not respectful of Islam, has demanded that Jewish school holidays be banned. This move was made in June 2006 after his three-year campaigns to have the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha introduced into school calendars was not accepted. He described his vindictive proposal thus: "This issue is about equality, about equity."
On June 13, 2006, the school board ruled that there would not be official Muslim holidays. The reasons were purely financial. There are very few Muslim students and teachers, and the Baltimore County School Board already allows these to stay at home on their holidays. Only when more teachers in the county were taking Muslim holidays (with substitute teachers costing $59.66 to $103.05 per day) would these holidays become universal. Bash Pharoan, unable to get his own way, then argued that there should be no religious holidays for anyone.
A similar situation arose in 2005 in Hillsborough county in Florida. Here the politicking was manipulated by Ahmed Bedier of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). In October 2005, Hillsborough County School Board approved a calendar for 2006 to 2007 which had removed holidays for Yom Kippur and Good Friday. Since December 2004, Bedier had argued that Eid al-Fitr should be included as an official school holiday. On November 8, the school board took another vote, and religious holidays were reinstated, though with no Eid holiday. Bedier said: "I'm disappointed but I'm satisfied. We're back at square one. If others are getting their holidays, it gives us hope we'll get ours as well someday."
Issues of holidays are trivial compared to the material which purports to educate students about Islam. If such material is of itself biased, then the primary duty of education is undermined. In 2004, Georgetown University hosted a seminar for teachers, federally funded under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. The university (already a recipient of $20 million from Saudi Prince Alaweed Bin Talal to "educate" the West about Islam) is one of 18 centers of learning that provide resources to educationalists.
Among the study materials on offer is the "Arab World Studies Notebook", which makes some bizarre claims, such as Muslims arrived in the Americas before Columbus and spread through the Caribbean and into Canada. This preposterous claim was later removed, but other contentious passages remained, including comments suggesting Jews have no claim to Israel. The book is edited by Audrey Shabbas, who has hosted more than 268 seminars for teachers in 155 cities since 1987. A joint publisher of the book is Dar al Islam, based in New Mexico. According to JTA, Susan L. Douglass is an associate of Dar al Islam's Teachers Institute.
Books which promote Islamic radicalism have made their way into school districts through donations. In 2001, the Omar Ibn Khatab Foundation made a donation of 300 Korans, entitled "The Meaning of the Holy Quran", to Los Angeles city school district. In 2002, these copies of the Koran had to be removed, as it was found that they contained anti-Semitic footnotes, such as: "The Jews in their arrogance claimed that all wisdom and all knowledge of Allah was enclosed in their hearts. Their claim was not only arrogance but blasphemy."
The public schools in America are partially protected from Islamist indoctrination by the First Amendment. Though imperfectly applied and interpreted, the Establishment Clause prohibits religious indoctrination from entering the classroom. Through the efforts of Susan L Douglass and the Council of Islamic Education, a biased assessment of Islam is entering public schools via textbooks produced by mainstream publishers. The extreme and uncompromising form of Islam known as Wahhabism is still being taught in the numerous Saudi-funded schools that exist in North America. Being independent of the US government, such establishments are not subject to the terms of the Establishment Clause. The Saudi-funded Islamic Academy in Virginia, where Susan L. Douglass formerly taught, has already produced three graduates who were jailed in 2002 on suspicion of planning a terrorist act.
Parents should make themselves aware of what their children are being taught about Islam in school. Demand to see study sheets. Demand a list of approved textbooks, and check these out in your local library. Talk to teachers, principals, or write to your local school board. If you think your child is being indoctrinated, write to your Congress representative. You have a Constitution which prevents religious indoctrination by government bodies. For this privilege you should feel fortunate.
Listening to ordinary Americans told to stay alert is often overlooked by the powers of the air. The following first-hand report from reporter Annie Jacobsen is not unique, but it is important to note. She has since written a book describing her "probing" experience. There have since been many similar probes, which we never hear about in the mainstream media. So be diligent and do your homework. As Ms. Jacobsen puts it: "there's no one looking out for us."
On June 29, 2004, at 12:28 p.m., I flew on Northwest Airlines flight #327 from Detroit to Los Angeles with my husband and our young son. Also on our flight were 14 Middle Eastern men between the ages of approximately 20 and 50 years old. What I experienced during that flight has caused me to question whether the United States of America can realistically uphold the civil liberties of every individual, even non-citizens, and protect its citizens from terrorist threats. On that Tuesday, our journey began uneventfully. Starting out that morning in Providence, Rhode Island, we went through security screening, flew to Detroit, and passed the time waiting for our connecting flight to Los Angeles by shopping at the airport stores and eating lunch at an airport diner. With no second security check required in Detroit we headed to our gate and waited for the pre-boarding announcement. Standing near us, also waiting to pre-board, was a group of six Middle Eastern men. They were carrying blue passports with Arabic writing. Two men wore tracksuits with Arabic writing across the back. Two carried musical instrument casesthin, flat, 18 long. One wore a yellow T-shirt and held a McDonald's bag. And the sixth man had a bad leghe wore an orthopedic shoe and limped. When the pre-boarding announcement was made, we handed our tickets to the Northwest Airlines agent, and walked down the jetway with the group of men directly behind us.
My four-year-old son was determined to wheel his carry-on bag himself, so I turned to the men behind me and said, You go ahead, this could be awhile. No, you go ahead, one of the men replied. He smiled pleasantly and extended his arm for me to pass. He was young, maybe late 20's and had a goatee. I thanked him and we boarded the plan.
Once on the plane, we took our seats in coach (seats 17A, 17B and 17C). The man with the yellow shirt and the McDonald's bag sat across the aisle from us (in seat 17E). The pleasant man with the goatee sat a few rows back and across the aisle from us (in seat 21E). The rest of the men were seated throughout the plane, and several made their way to the back.
As we sat waiting for the plane to finish boarding, we noticed another large group of Middle Eastern men boarding. The first man wore a dark suit and sunglasses. He sat in first class in seat 1A, the seat second-closet to the cockpit door. The other seven men walked into the coach cabin. As aware Americans, my husband and I exchanged glances, and then continued to get comfortable. I noticed some of the other passengers paying attention to the situation as well. As boarding continued, we watched as, one by one, most of the Middle Eastern men made eye contact with each other. They continued to look at each other and nod, as if they were all in agreement about something. I could tell that my husband was beginning to feel anxious.
The take-off was uneventful. But once we were in the air and the seatbelt sign was turned off, the unusual activity began. The man in the yellow T-shirt got out of his seat and went to the lavatory at the front of coachtaking his full McDonald's bag with him. When he came out of the lavatory he still had the McDonald's bag, but it was now almost empty. He walked down the aisle to the back of the plane, still holding the bag. When he passed two of the men sitting mid-cabin, he gave a thumbs-up sign. When he returned to his seat, he no longer had the McDonald's bag.
Then another man from the group stood up and took something from his carry-on in the overhead bin. It was about a foot long and was rolled in cloth. He headed toward the back of the cabin with the object. Five minutes later, several more of the Middle Eastern men began using the forward lavatory consecutively. In the back, several of the men stood up and used the back lavatory consecutively as well.
For the next hour, the men congregated in groups of two and three at the back of the plane for varying periods of time. Meanwhile, in the first class cabin, just a foot or so from the cockpit door, the man with the dark suitstill wearing sunglasseswas also standing. Not one of the flight crew members suggested that any of these men take their seats.
Watching all of this, my husband was now beyond anxious. I decided to try to reassure my husband (and maybe myself) by walking to the back bathroom. I knew the goateed-man I had exchanged friendly words with as we boarded the plane was seated only a few rows back, so I thought I would say hello to the man to get some reassurance that everything was fine. As I stood up and turned around, I glanced in his direction and we made eye contact. I threw out my friendliest remember-me-we-had-a-nice-exchange-just-a-short-time-ago smile. The man did not smile back. His face did not move. In fact, the cold, defiant look he gave me sent shivers down my spine.
When I returned to my seat I was unable to assure my husband that all was well. My husband immediately walked to the first class section to talk with the flight attendant. I might be overreacting, but I've been watching some really suspicious things... Before he could finish his statement, the flight attendant pulled him into the galley. In a quiet voice she explained that they were all concerned about what was going on. The captain was aware. The flight attendants were passing notes to each other. She said that there were people on board higher up than you and me watching the men. My husband returned to his seat and relayed this information to me. He was feeling slightly better. I was feeling much worse. We were now two hours into a four-in-a-half hour flight.
Approximately 10 minutes later, that same flight attendant came by with the drinks cart. She leaned over and quietly told my husband there were federal air marshals sitting all around us. She asked him not to tell anyone and explained that she could be in trouble for giving out that information. She then continued serving drinks.
About 20 minutes later the same flight attendant returned. Leaning over and whispering, she asked my husband to write a description of the yellow-shirted man sitting across from us. She explained it would look too suspicious if she wrote the information. She asked my husband to slip the note to her when he was done.
After seeing 14 Middle Eastern men board separately (six together, eight individually) and then act as a group, watching their unusual glances, observing their bizarre bathroom activities, watching them congregate in small groups, knowing that the flight attendants and the pilots were seriously concerned, and now knowing that federal air marshals were on board, I was officially terrified. Before I'm labeled a racial profiler orworse yeta racist, let me add this. A month ago I traveled to India to research a magazine article I was writing. My husband and I flew on a jumbo jet carrying more than 300 Hindu and Muslim men and women on board. We traveled throughout the country and stayed in a Muslim village 10 miles outside Pakistan. I never once felt fearful. I never once felt unsafe. I never once had the feeling that anyone wanted to hurt me. This time was different.
Finally, the captain announced that the plane was cleared for landing. It had been four hours since we left Detroit. The fasten seat belt light came on and I could see downtown Los Angeles. The flight attendants made one final sweep of the cabin and strapped themselves in for landing. I began to relax. Home was in sight.
Suddenly, seven of the men stood upin unisonand walked to the front and back lavatories. One by one, they went into the two lavatories, each spending about four minutes inside. Right in front of us, two men stood up against the emergency exit door, waiting for the lavatory to become available. The men spoke in Arabic among themselves and to the man in the yellow shirt sitting nearby. One of the men took his camera into the lavatory. Another took his cell phone. Again, no one approached the men. Not one of the flight attendants asked them to sit down. I watched as the man in the yellow shirt, still in his seat, reached inside his shirt and pulled out a small red book. He read a few pages, then put the book back inside his shirt. He pulled the book out again, read a page or two more, and put it back. He continued to do this several more times.
I looked around to see if any other passengers were watching. I immediately spotted a distraught couple seated two rows back. The woman was crying into the man's shoulder. He was holding her hand. I heard him say to her, You've got to calm down. Behind them sat the once pleasant-smiling, goatee-wearing man.
I grabbed my son, I held my husband's hand and, despite the fact that I am not a particularly religious person, I prayed. The last man came out of the bathroom, and as he passed the man in the yellow shirt he ran his forefinger across his neck and mouthed the word No.
The plane landed. My husband and I gathered our bags and quickly, very quickly, walked up the jetway. As we exited the jetway and entered the airport, we saw many, many men in dark suits. A few yards further out into the terminal, LAPD agents ran past us, heading for the gate. I have since learned that the representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the Federal Air Marshals (FAM), and the Transportation Security Association (TSA) met our plane as it landed. Several menwho I presume were the federal air marshals on boardhurried off the plane and directed the 14 men over to the side.
Knowing what we knew, and seeing what we'd seen, my husband and I decided to talk to the authorities. For several hours my husband and I were interrogated by the FBI. We gave sworn statement after sworn statement. We wrote down every detail of our account. The interrogators seemed especially interested in the McDonald's bag, so we repeated in detail what we knew about the McDonald's bag. A law enforcement official stood near us, holding 14 Syrian passports in his hand. We answered more questions. And finally we went home.
ON THIS FINE SPRING DAY when the cherry blossoms are in maximum bloom along the Potomac River and Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, the Beiruit Daily Star reports that Nancy Pelosi has landed. With a squeak and a thud, I might add.
On the eve of a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she believed greater communication between the United States and Syria could help establish stability in the region and called the bilateral talks a matter of US national security.
"The road to solving Lebanon's problems passes through Damascus," Pelosi told reporters after meeting with Lebanese parliamentary leader Saad Hariri at Qoreitem. Our trip to Syria is one that is important to us, it is also important to the Iraq Study Group which encourages such diplomacy and engagement," she said, referring to a bipartisan US panel that last year recommended engaging US foes Syria and Iran in order to calm war-torn Iraq. The purpose of this trip is a part of our responsibility for the national security of the United States," Pelosi said.
Oh really? For the Syrian government, the road back to Lebanon starts with its military convoys and ends in the complete occupation and political domination of formerly Christian Lebanon by Hezbollah-financing Syria. If Mrs. Pelosi is too dim-witted or belligerent to comprehend that this level of appeasement leads to ruin, we don't have a shot of surviving these rather dangerous times as an unified America.
The Bush administration accuses Syria of supporting "terrorism" and harboring insurgents, yet a growing number of US politicians are continuing to urge more dialogue. Perfunctory to her role as dame-in-charge Pelosi also paid her respects at the grave of Hariri's father, assassinated former Premier Rafik Hariri.
"It is very important to establish the international tribunal so we establish the truth so we can go forward," Pelosi said of the court whose formation has been caught up in Lebanon's current political impasse.
Pelosi said talks with Assad would center around "the overarching issue, the fight against terrorism and the role that Syria can play to help or to hinder that role" and that the delegation will also discuss "the role of Syria in supporting Hamas and Hezbullah." Pelosi admitted the two countries had a long way to go toward improving relations.
"We think it's a good idea to establish the facts to hopefully build some confidence between us. We have no illusions but we have great hope," she stressed.
Representative Tom Lantos, a California Democrat who was part of Pelosi's delegation, said it is in the Syrians' best interest "to return to a position where they can be part of the positive forces in this region and not be in tight alliance with [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's Iran."
Representative Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat with Lebanese roots, praised Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government "for the work it did under very hard circumstances. It is very important that Parliament convene and for the Lebanese people to express their will."
Pelosi defended the delegation's looming Damascus visit, saying: "We think it's a good idea, that's why we're doing it."
Absolutely astonishing! This flies in the face of the American way, in terms of the separation of powers articles in the US Constitution outlining the tasks and responisbilties of the legislative and executive branches. This breech in constitutional protocol signals yet again to these rogue countries that the US President can be trumped by Congress in times of war. This is an extremely dangerous breech of congressional conduct fostered, yet again, by the Democratic forces hell-bent in appeasing the Islamic aggressors over and beyond the call of duty.
Meanwhile, the White House on Monday reiterated objections over the trip, saying Pelosi risked undermining US-led efforts to isolate Assad. "It sends the wrong message to have high-level US officials going there to have photo opportunities that Assad then exploits," White House spokesperson Dana Perino said.
Perino denied that the criticism was of a partisan nature after Pelosi pointed out that the White House did not censure a Damascus visit made by three Republicans on Sunday. "We discouraged it [the Republican visit]. When I was asked last week I was only asked about Speaker Pelosi," Perino responded.
Following talks with Hariri, Pelosi and the delegation met with Siniora and Speaker Nabih Berri. "The meeting was excellent and the outcome was highly positive," Amal MP Ali Bazzi told The Daily Star. He said the talks focused on regional politics and the role of democracy in the region.
"The speaker explained the situation in Lebanon because they were concerned about Parliament not being in session. The speaker explained the reasons for this. They understood his point of view and they wished Lebanon would overcome the political crisis," Bazzi said. Also on Monday, Syria's embassy in Washington hailed Pelosi's trip as "momentous" and expressed hope that it might ameliorate strained relations with the United States.
Momentous indeed. Anything to undermine the hardline against the aggressors. Again the terrorists are empowered when US leadership is shown to be weak and at odds within itself as is the case here. No firm resolve helps terrorism and terrorist states. There are those who suggest that George Bush has nobody but himself to blame for this. When he gave his wretched and obsequious “tiny minority” it’s a “religion of peace” speech, and then went down to the local mosque to prostrate before Allah, well, that provided sufficient cover for the petrodollar scoundrels, political pimps, globo-socialists, EU bureaucrats, Leftist opinion celebrities and other creeps to ride the pony another decade or two.
"Pelosi is welcome in Damascus. There are great hopes of a rebalancing of US policy in the region," Syria's official Tishrin daily said. "[The US] knows Syria is open to dialogue."
Let's start the dialogue here. How is this for insight? Lebanon will only have prosperity when Islam is gone.
Other representatives traveling with Pelosi include Democrats Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim member of Congress, Henry Waxman of California, Louise Slaughter of New York, and Ohio Republican David Hobson. Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, became the first senator in nearly two years to meet with Assad when he traveled to Syria in December. Three other senators, including 2004 presidential nominee John Kerry, also met with Assad in December.
Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution assigns diplomacy and foreign policy to the President. No matter how often Pelosi & Co. say their trip is for "fact-finding," they're engaging in diplomacy and thus violating the Constitution as well as the Logan Act, which defines the violation as a felony. Could you imagine the outrage if Newt Gingrich went to visit Milosovic without Clinton's consent?
But more and more of our elected and unelected officials are ignoring the Constitution. In fact, many places have been forced to remove copies of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. The U.S. flag has been banned from displays. The pledge of allegiance has been banned, prayer has been banned, and civil liberties are eroding. The US government is gearing up for total desecration of all heritages of the United States paid for with the blood of our freedom-giving forefathers. This despicable flight from our heritage continues in free fall.
Here's the scenario as observed by a blogger named Tookson:
The Liberal strategy for resolving conflict is always premised on one thingdialogue. They consider dialogue the cure-all for any international problems.
The ASSUMPTION which is entirely naive, is that the two nations just don't understand each other. Dialogue allows me to understand you, and allows you to understand me. If we all just understood each other, the liberal must think, we would all just see that we are all basically good people and all want the same things, and that would bring peace and lots of free sex.
Liberals do not know how to confront evil specifically because they do not believe in the concept of evil. Liberals only think that the 'king of the hill' is evil and all the little monkeys trying to get to the top of the hill just need more love and free sex that the king of the hill is not providing for them. They hate themselves for being prosperous and blessed, and think that white Anglo-Saxon Christians are the instigators for all things from teenage suicide bombers to the environmental demise of planet earth.
Liberals cannot confront evil because they don't know evil when they see iteven if you blows a bomb up right in their face killing all their children. Just ask Israel if years of unfettered DIALOGUE has resulted in anything but peace for their enemies and increased struggle and weakened leverage for themselves.
If you do not recognize the built-in HATRED devout Muslims have for all infidels, especially Jews and Christians who are SINGLED OUT BY MOHAMMED in the actual Koran as a target of Muslim war, then your dialogue with them is merely another opportunity for THEM to enter into unfettered dialogue with you to increase their peace while they increase your struggle and weaken your leverage.
Now it's time you decide which side you're on. The time is coming when fence-sitting will not be an option, and the time required for changing your mind may be the same time it takes to get you killed. Or worse.
Trouble. Indeed, there is much that is clearly wrong with the Islamic world. Women are stoned to death and undergo clitorectomies. Gays hang from the gallows under the approving eyes of the proponents of Shariah, the legal code of Islam. Sunni and Shia massacre each other daily in troubled Iraq. Palestinian mothers teach 3-year-old boys and girls the troubled ideal of martyrdom. One would expect the orthodox Islamic establishment to evade or dismiss these complaints, but less happily, the non-Muslim priests of enlightenment in the West have come, actively and passively, to the Islamists' defense. Trouble.
It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the "end of days." The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong. Trouble.
The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Shariah. Unlike Salafism, more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts. And so, for more than 20 years I have been developing and working to establish a theologically-rigorous Islam that teaches peace.
Yet it is ironic and discouraging that many non-Muslim, Western intellectualswho unceasingly claim to support human rightshave become obstacles to reforming Islam. Political correctness among Westerners obstructs unambiguous criticism of Shariah's inhumanity. They find socioeconomic or political excuses for Islamist terrorism such as poverty, colonialism, discrimination or the existence of Israel. What incentive is there for Muslims to demand reform when Western "progressives" pave the way for Islamist barbarity? Indeed, if the problem is not one of religious beliefs, it leaves one to wonder why Christians who live among Muslims under identical circumstances refrain from contributing to wide-scale, systematic campaigns of terror.
Politicians and scholars in the West have taken up the chant that Islamic extremism is caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict. This analysis cannot convince any rational person that the Islamist murder of over 150,000 innocent people in Algeriawhich happened in the last few decadesor their slaying of hundreds of Buddhists in Thailand, or the brutal violence between Sunni and Shia in Iraq could have anything to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Western appeasement of their Muslim communities has exacerbated the problem. During the four-month period after the publication of the Muhammad cartoons in a Danish magazine, there were comparatively few violent demonstrations by Muslims. Within a few days of the Danish magazine's formal apology, riots erupted throughout the world. The apology had been perceived by Islamists as weakness and concession.
Worst of all, perhaps, is the anti-Americanism among many Westerners. It is a resentment so strong, so deep-seated, so rooted in personal identity, that it has led many, consciously or unconsciously, to morally support America's enemies.
Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the inhumane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values. And they must not take for granted the respect for human rights and dignity that we experience in America, and indeed, the West, today.
Well-meaning interfaith dialogues with Muslims have largely been fruitless. Participants must demand&@151;but so far haven't&@151;that Muslim organizations and scholars specifically and unambiguously denounce violent Salafi components in their mosques and in the media. Muslims who do not vocally oppose brutal Shariah decrees should not be considered "moderates."
Western feminists duly fight in their home countries for equal pay and opportunity, but seemingly ignore, under a façade of cultural relativism, that large numbers of women in the Islamic world live under threat of beating, execution and genital mutilation, or cannot vote, drive cars and dress as they please. Trouble.
The tendency of many Westerners to restrict themselves to self-criticism further obstructs reformation in Islam. Americans demonstrate against the war in Iraq, yet decline to demonstrate against the terrorists who kidnap innocent people and behead them. Similarly, after the Madrid train bombings, millions of Spanish citizens demonstrated against their separatist organization, ETA. But once the demonstrators realized that Muslims were behind the terror attacks they suspended the demonstrations. This example sent a message to radical Islamists to continue their violent methods.
All of this makes the efforts of Muslim reformers more difficult. When Westerners make politically-correct excuses for Islamism, it actually endangers the lives of reformers and in many cases has the effect of suppressing their voices. Tolerance does not mean toleration of atrocities under the umbrella of relativism. It is time for all of us in the free world to face the reality of Salafi Islam or the reality of radical Islam will continue to face us. Trouble.
Dr. Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, is a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West.
Achtung, baby! Here's one German who understands what Germany, and the entire West now faces. He is Claus Christian Malzahn, SPIEGEL ONLINE's Berlin bureau chief.
"Forty-eight percent of Germans think the United States is more dangerous than Iran, a new survey shows, with only 31 percent believing the opposite. Germans' fundamental hypocrisy about the US suggests that it's high time for a new bout of re-education.
"For us Germans, the Americans are either too fat or too obsessed with exercise, too prudish or too pornographic, too religious or too nihilistic. In terms of history and foreign policy, the Americans have either been too isolationist or too imperialistic. They simply go ahead and invade foreign countries (something we Germans, of course, would never do) and then abandon them, the way they did in Vietnam and will soon do in Iraq.
"Worst of all, the Americans won the war in 1945. (Well, with German help, of coursefrom Einstein and his ilk.) There are some Germans who will never forgive the Americans for VE Day, when they defeated Hitler. After all, Nazism was just an accident, whereas Americans are inherently evil. Just look at President George W. Bush, the man who, as some of SPIEGEL ONLINE's readers steadfastly believe, "is worse than Hitler." Now that gives us a chance to kill two birds with one stone. If Bush is the new Hitler, then we Germans have finally unloaded the Führer on to someone else. In fact, we won't even have to posthumously revoke his German citizenship, as politicians in Lower Saxony recently proposed. No one can hold a candle to our talent for symbolism!
"Today, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks about a world without Israel while dreaming of an atom bomb, it seems obvious that weas Germans of all peopleshould be putting two and two together. Why shouldn't Ahmadinejad mean what he says? But we Germans only know what we believe.
"The Americans are more dangerous than the ayatollahs? Perhaps the Americans should take the Germans at their word for a change. It's high time for a new round of re-education. The last one obviously didn't do the job."
Read Malzahn's lengthy but witty and poignant essay here.
Wouldn't you know it, another superb essay from Fjordman:
Europe, 480 BC: "Come and take them!" Leonidas, King of Sparta, to the vastly more numerous Persian forces calling for the Greeks to lay down their arms during the battle of Thermopylae. Leonidas and his men died in battle after holding their ground for three days, but bought the Greek city-states enough time to defeat the Persians and permanently end Persian inroads into Europe. Europe, 2004 AD: "We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us." Thus speaketh Jens Orback, Minister for Democracy, Metropolitan Affairs, Integration and Gender Equality from the Swedish Social Democratic Party during a debate in Swedish radio.
Fast forward to Europe, 2006 AD:
You stone your mothers Flog your sisters Mutilate your daughters Behind veils But I want to be your friend
Norwegian singer Åge Aleksandersen in his song "Æ vil vær din venn" ("I want to be your friend") about his relationship with Muslims. No irony was intended in the lyrics.
Henry Ford once famously said that "History is bunk." Personally, I subscribe more to the view of Edmund Burke: "People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors." Knowing your people's history is crucially important when you want to shape your future. Unfortunately, especially in my native Europe, we are either suffering from a deliberate historical amnesia or are being spoon-fed a mixture of half-truths and outright lies.
One of the most persistent myths so eagerly promoted by Eurabians is that of the "shared Greco-Roman heritage" between Europeans and Arabs, which is now going to lay the foundations for a new Euro-Mediterranean entity, Eurabia. It is true that countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Algeria were just as much a part of the Roman Empire as were England or France. However, the Arab conquerors later rejected many elements of this Greco-Roman era once they invaded these nations.
As British philosopher Roger Scruton has explained, one of the most important legacies of the Roman Empire was the idea of secular laws, which were unconcerned with a person's religious affiliations as long as he accepted the political authority of the Roman state. This left a major impact on Christian Europe, but was neglected in the Arab Middle East because it clashed fundamentally with the basic principles of sharia, the law of Allah. Scruton calls this "the greatest of all Roman achievements, which was the universal system of law as a means for the resolution of conflicts." The Roman law was secular and "could change in response to changing circumstances. That conception of law is perhaps the most important force in the emergence of European forms of sovereignty."
Likewise, it is true that Arabs translated some Greek classics, but they were highly particular about which ones to include or exclude. Historian Bernard Lewis writes in his book What Went Wrong?, page 139:
"In the vast bibliography of works translated in the Middle Ages from Greek into Arabic, we find no poets, no dramatists, not even historians. These were not useful and they were of no interest; they did not figure in the translation programs. This was clearly a cultural rejection: you take what is useful from the infidel; but you don't need to look at his absurd ideas or to try and understand his inferior literature, or to study his meaningless history."
"To understand a civilisation it is important to understand its vocabulary. If it was not on their tongues it is likely that it was not on their minds either. There was no word in any of the Muslim languages for democracy until the 1890s. Even then the Greek word democracy entered Muslim languages with little change: democrasi in Persian, dimokraytiyah in Arabic, demokratio in Turkish. (...) It is no accident that early Muslims translated numerous ancient Greek texts but never those related to political matters. The great Avicenna himself translated Aristotle's Poetics. But there was no translation of Aristotle's Politics in Persian until 1963."
In other words: There was a great deal of Greek knowledge that could never have been "transferred" to Europeans by Arabs, as is frequently claimed by Western Multiculturalists, because many Greek works had never been translated into Arabic in the first place. Arabs especially turned down political texts, since these included descriptions of systems in which men ruled themselves according to their own laws. This was considered blasphemous by Muslims, as laws are made by Allah and rule belongs to his representatives.
Lars Hedegaard, president of the Danish Free Press Society, believes that economic progress hinges on free speech. In the 1760s, a scientific expedition financed by the king of Denmark set out from Copenhagen destined for Egypt, today's Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey. The objective was to study all aspects of these lands, their culture, history and peoples. Only one participant survived, the German Carsten Niebuhr, whose notes have left us with important information from this period.
Notice that this expedition was partly arranged due to Western intellectual curiosity. Ibn Warraq has severely criticized Edward Said and his book "Orientalism" for ignoring what has been a hallmark of Western civilization: the seeking after knowledge for its own sake: "The Greek word, historia, from which we get our 'history,' means 'research' or 'inquiry,' and Herodotus believed his work was the outcome of research: what he had seen, heard, and read but supplemented and verified by inquiry."
This part of the Greek heritage was, again, carefully ignored by Muslims. Carsten Niebuhr's writings leave a powerful impression of a region that was primitive, underdeveloped and steeped in Islamic fatalism. This was prior to European colonialism in the area and before the United States had even been created. Western influences thus had nothing had to do with it; the backwardness was caused by local cultural factors.
About Mesopotamia (Iraq), Niebuhr had this to say: "In Cairo there is at least still a store where the Muhammedans can buy old books. In Baghdad one will not find that sort of thing. If one collects books here, and is neither prepared to copy them oneself nor to let others copy them, one must wait till somebody dies and his books and clothes are carried to the bazar, where they are offered for sale by a crier. A European who wants to buy Arabian, Turkish or Persian manuscripts will find no better opportunity than in Constantinople for here at least there is a sort of bookstore where Christiansat least Oriental Christianscan buy books" (Niebuhr, Vol. 2, p. 305)
Printing had not been adopted in the Muslim Middle East due to religious resistance. Three centuries after Gutenberg had invented the movable type printing press in 15th century Europe, and a thousand years after the earliest versions of printing were invented in China, books were still rare in Muslim countries and could be bought most easily when somebody died.
Printing was reinvented in Europe at exactly the same time as the last vestige of the ancient Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire (Constantinople), fell to Turkish Muslims. It was a major stroke of historical luck that the classical texts that had been preserved by the Byzantines for a thousand years could now be rescued forever by printing instead of quietly disappearing. It was printing, introduced during the later stages of the Renaissance, that ensured that the Renaissance marked a permanent infusion of Greek knowledge into Western thought, not just a temporary one.
According to historian Elizabeth L. Eisenstein and her celebrated book "The Printing Press as an Agent of Change", page 220:
"The classical editions, dictionaries, grammars and reference guides issued from print shops made it possible to achieve an unprecedented mastery of Alexandrian learning even while laying the basis for a new kind of permanent Greek revival in the West. (...) We now tend to take for granted that the study of Greek would continue to flourish after the main Greek manuscript centers had fallen into alien hands [Constantinople in 1453] and hence fail to appreciate how remarkable it was to find that Homer and Plato had not been buried anew but had, on the contrary, been disinterred forever more. Surely Ottoman advances would have been catastrophic before the advent of printing. Texts and scholars scattered in nearby regions might have prolonged the study of Greek but only in a temporary way."
Eisenstein also points out that printing greatly facilitated the Scientific Revolution in the West. Young students could rely on the wide diffusion of works by earlier masters, and could thus bypass their own teachers and educate themselves. The young Sir Isaac Newton took full advantage of available libraries, learned by himself from mathematicians, modern and ancient, and astronomers such as Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler in order to develop his ideas about gravity into his 1687 treatise Principia.
In the notes from his travels, Carsten Niebuhr wrote about the state of the desert around the Syrian town of Aleppo: "Under the Muhammedan and especially Turkish administration the most beautiful areas have been turned into wastelands. This despotic government does not protect the inhabitants bordering the desert provinces against the Arabs, Kurds or Turkomen, who live under tents and wander about with their cattle and who like to reap what they have not sown.. Unconcerned whether the peasant is robbed of his grain or his cattle, they let the taxes be collected with all possible severity; little by little the peasants leave their ancestral dwellings where they can no longer secure their livelihood; the fields are no longer plowed but abandoned to wandering bands of people and thus the limits of the desert are expanding more and more" (Niebuhr, Vol. 2, p. 457).
The famous 14th century Muslim traveler Ibn Battuta visited Cairo, Egypt, and gave this description of the Great Pyramids: "The pyramid is an edifice of solid hewn stone, of immense height and circular plan, broad at the base and narrow at the top, like the figure of a cone." This grossly incorrect description of them as circular strongly indicates that he never actually saw them, possibly because he as a devout Muslim didn't find such infidel monuments worthy of attention. His attitude is indicative of the general view of many Muslims, who were at best uninterested in non-Muslim cultures, past or present, at worst actively hostile.
Saladin or Salah al-Din, the twelfth century general loved by Muslims for his victories against the Crusaders, is renowned even in Western history for his supposedly tolerant nature. Very few seem to remember that his son Al-Aziz Uthman, the second sultan of the Ayyubid Dynasty founded by Saladin and presumably influenced by his father's religious convictions, actually tried to demolish the Great Pyramids of Giza only three years after his father's death in 1193. The reason why we can still visit them today is because the task at hand was so big that he eventually gave up the attempt. He did, however, manage to inflict significant damage to Menkaure's Pyramid, the smallest of the Great Pyramids, which contains scars clearly visible to this day. It is tempting to view this as a continuation of his father's Jihad against non-Muslims:
"When king Al-Aziz Othman, son of [Saladdin] succeeded his father, he let himself be persuaded by some people from his Court, who were devoid of good sense, to demolish the pyramids. One started with the red pyramid, which is the third of the great pyramids, and the smallest. (...) They brought there a large number of workmen from all around, and supported them at great cost. They stayed there for eight whole months (...) This happened in the year 593 [ i.e. 1196 AD)."
Such vandalism has been a recurring feature of Islamic nations throughout the ages. Guarding the pyramids at the Giza Plateau is the Great Sphinx. However, sphinxes in ancient times usually appeared in pairs, and there are indications in both classical and medieval sources that the Sphinx used to have a twin. According to archaeologist Michael Poe, there was another sphinx facing the famous one on the other side of the Nile, but it was damaged during a Nile flood, and then completely dismantled by Muslims using it as a quarry for their villages.
The legend that the missing nose of the Great Sphinx was removed by Napoleon Bonaparte's artillery during the French expedition to Egypt 1798-1801 is not only factually incorrect, it's ludicrous to anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of history. Sketches indicate that the nose was gone long before this. The Egyptian fifteenth century historian al-Maqrizi attributes the act to Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, a Sufi Muslim. According to al-Maqrizi, in the fourteenth century, upon discovering that local peasants made offerings to the Sphinx to bless their harvest, al-Dahr became furious at their idolatry and decided to destroy the statue, managing only to break off its nose. It is hard to confirm whether this story is accurate, but if it is, it demonstrates that Sufis are not always the soft and tolerant Muslims they are made out to be.
Far from damaging the Sphinx, the French expedition brought large numbers of scientists to Egypt to catalog the ancient monuments, thus founding modern Egyptology. The trilingual Rosetta Stone, discovered by the French in 1799, was employed by philologist Jean-François Champollion to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs in 1822. In this task, Champollion made extensive use of the Coptic language, which in modern times survives only as the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Coptic is a direct descendant of the language spoken in ancient Egypt, and might have been understood by pharaohs such as Tutankhamun or Ramses II, although they would no doubt have considered it a rather strange and difficult dialect.
Arab Muslims had controlled Egypt for more than a thousand years, yet never managed to decipher the hieroglyphs nor for the most part displayed much interest in doing so. Westerners did so in a single generation after they reappeared in force in Egypt. So much for "Arab science." And they did so with the help of the language of the Copts, the Egyptian Christians, the only remnant of ancient Egypt that the Arab invaders hadn't managed to completely eradicate.
According to Andrew G. Bostom, editor of "The Legacy of Jihad", the contrast between jihad and British imperialism was equally pronounced on the Indian subcontinent. Lord Curzon, who served as Viceroy and Governor-General of India from 1898-1905, stated:
"If there be any one who says to me that there is no duty devolving upon a Christian Government to preserve the monuments of pagan art or the sanctuaries of an alien faith, I cannot pause to argue with such a man. Art and beauty, and the reverence that is owing to all that has evoked human genius or has inspired human faith, are independent of creeds, and, in so far as they touch the sphere of religion, are embraced by the common religion of all mankind. Viewed from this standpoint, the rock temple of the Brahmans stands on precisely the same footing as the Buddhist Vihara, and the Mohammedan Musjid as the Christian Cathedral…To us the relics of Hindu and Mohammedan, of Buddhist, Brahmin, and Jain are, from the antiquarian, the historical, and the artistic point of view, equally interesting and equally sacred. One does not excite a more vivid and the other a weaker emotion. Each represents the glories or the faith of a branch of the human family. Each fills a chapter in Indian history."
As Hugh Fitzgerald writes, "One opens 'The World of Islam' by Ernst J. Grube and finds on p. 165 a picture of the 'Kutb Mosque (Quwaat al-Islam) Delhi' shown and described: 'Built by Kutb al-din Aibak in his fortress of Lallkot near Old Delhi in 1193. This mosque is the earliest extant monument of Islamic architecture in India and its combination of local, pre-Muslim traditions and imported architectural forms is typical of the earliest period. The mosque is built on the ruins of a Jain temple.' So the earliest 'extant monument of Islamic architecture in India' was 'built on the ruins of a Jain temple.'"
Infidels would be well-advised not to believe that such cultural Jihad is a thing of the past. In the early 21st century, a religiously motivated attack on statues at a museum in Cairo by a veiled woman screaming, "Infidels, infidels!" shocked the outside world. She had been inspired by Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, who quoted a saying of the prophet Muhammad that sculptors will be among those receiving the harshest punishment on Judgment Day. The influential Sheikh Youssef Al Qaradawi agreed that "Islam prohibits statues and three-dimensional figures of living creatures" and concluded that "the statues of ancient Egyptians are prohibited."
Within a few years, thousands of churches have been destroyed in Indonesia, and many more Serb Orthodox churches and monasteries have been damaged or destroyed by Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia. Saudi hardliners are even wiping out their own heritage in cities such as Mecca and Medina. The motive behind the destruction is supposedly Wahhabist fears that places of historical interest could give rise to idolatry, although critics might also suspect that they don't want researchers to dig too deep into the early history of Islam, in case this might turn out to deviate from the traditional version of it.
The great Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan were demolished by the Taliban regime in 2001, who decreed that they would destroy images deemed "offensive to Islam" and that the statues had been used as idols before. Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, who was the Taliban's governor of Bamiyan province when the fifth-century Buddha statues were blown up, was elected the Afghan parliament in 2005.
The Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal in 2001 complained that "The destruction work is not as easy as people would think. You can't knock down the statues by dynamite or shelling as both of them have been carved in a cliff. They are firmly attached to the mountain."
In fact, the statues, 53 meters and 36 meters tall, the tallest standing Buddha statues in the world, turned out to be so hard to destroy that the Taliban needed help from Pakistani and Saudi engineers to finish the job. Finally, after almost a month of non-stop bombardment with dynamite and artillery, they succeeded. Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor notorious for his Islamic religious zeal and his persecution of non-Muslims in India, had attempted to achieve the same thing centuries earlier, but failed.
Indeed, judging from the experiences with the Bamiyan Buddhas, it is tempting to conclude that the only reason why the Great Pyramids of Egypt have survived to this day is because they were so big that it proved too complicated, costly and time-consuming for Muslims to destroy them. Had Saladin's son Al-Aziz had modern technology and engineers at his disposal, they might well have ended up like countless Hindu temples in India or Buddhist statues in Central Asia.
As a European, I read about this and fear for the future of the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Michelangelo's figurative paintings in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. There is every reason to believe that they will end up the same way as the Bamiyan Buddhas if we continue to allow Muslims to settle in our lands. Some would say that this is not just likely, but inevitable. Although it may not happen today, tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow, sooner or later, groups of pious Muslims will burn these works of art, and doubtlessly consider it their sacred duty.
The official reason given by many Muslims for why non-Muslims are not allowed to visit the cities of Mecca and Medina is because they might damage or destroy the Islamic Holy Sites. But since Muslims have a proven track record of more than a thousand years, from Malaysia to Armenia, of destroying non-Muslim places of worship or works of art, perhaps we should then, in return, be entitled to keep Muslims permanently away from our cultural treasures?
According to military historian Victor Davis Hanson, 2,500 years ago, almost every society in the ancient Mediterranean world had slaves, yet "only in Greece was there a constant tradition of unfettered expression and self-criticism. Aristophanes, Sophocles and Plato questioned the subordinate position of women. Alcidamas lamented the notion of slavery. Such openness was found nowhere else in the ancient Mediterranean world. That freedom of expression explains why we rightly consider the ancient Greeks as the founders of our present Western civilization."
That freedom of expression is, and long has been, totally lacking in the Islamic world. Europeans, not Muslims, are the true heirs of the Greek heritage. Maybe saying so makes me a bigot, but if so, I think I can live with that.