Category Archives: Arabs

Passing The Torch To Geert

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
A FAIRLY NEW WEBSITE called SITAmnesty has popped into place and is sprinting formidably to get out the word about Islamic jihad using the raw patriotism and brutal genius of Winston Churchill in the past, and not least, the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders who appears to have inherited the mantle of the former and is today warning us of the true historical nature of our pernicious enemies in the war at hand. Take notice young sprigs. Inform yourselves. Share and hone your knowledge. Liberty must be defended by those who would steal not only your life but the culture of all your descendants replacing it with the misery of Islamic sharia law.

From the powerful pen of the great British statesman, Sir Winston Churchill we learn:

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

Far from being moribund, Islam is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”

The Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler had this to say about Islam:

“Muslims responded to the call of Muslim leaders and joined our side because of their hatred of our joint Jewish-English-Bolshevik enemies, and because of their belief and respect for, above all—Our Fuehrer.”

In his memoirs Albert Speer wrote about Hitler’s enamour of Islam, reporting a discussion which captures Hitler’s effusive praise for Islam:

“…a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and subjugating all nations to that faith. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament.”

Hitler, according to Speer’s account, repeatedly expressed the conviction that:

“The Mohammedan religion…would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?”

Sir Winston Churchill likened Islamist terrorism to Nazism :

“In truth though, just as the British stoicism recalls the same from 65 years ago, so too, there is a deep and instructive similarity between the Nazis and the Islamic-fascist forces that attacked then and attack today. The fact of the matter is that even more important than invoking the famous British “stiff upper lip,” to fight this current war to victory requires understanding and accepting the similarities between the Nazis and the Arab-Islamic terrorist armies.”

Geert Wilders, among many others, likened the Koran to Mein Kampf:

Jihad means “personal(supposedly) struggle”
Mein Kampf means “my struggle”

During WWII, we might remind ourselves, Muslims themselves, when there was completely free to make their own choice, chose the Nazi side.

And lastly, this I have found:

Arial Sharon is one of my heroes and I am not a Jew or an Israeli. I simply read history and am very impressed with this man’s courage, accomplishments, and values.

However, I do understand the bitter hatred felt toward him. You can expect that anytime there is something truly good, praiseworthy, or of good report in the world—evil will attempt to poison and brainwash people against it. All one needs do is read ordinary grade-school books used to teach the young in the Arab states. Israel and America are portrayed as little Satan and big Satan—rather than the light and hope that they have undisputedly represented to so many.

Freedom inevitably gathers evil to oppose it—uncovering an eternal truth: There is opposition in all things. Choose ye this day whom you will serve . . . Freedom or Tyranny.

The Art Of Criminal Collusion

bill-moyers
Bill Moyers

CONFOUNDED BY THE PERSISTENT and pernicious moral relativism of the high strutting Lefties in your midst? Today in Breath of the Beast, Yaacov ben Moishe takes issue with the chortling and hairsplitting of PBS navel gazer—Bill Moyers—in Saint Bill or Accessory to Mass Murder? The Dilemma of the Morally Relativistic Media. Or as we might put it if we didn't want to be nice, the art of criminal collusion.

On the one hand Mr. Moyers considers Israel to be entitled to defend herself (as if she needed his permission) on the other hand, he wants, from the vantage point of his snug PBS studio to be able to pass judgment on what a fitting (proportional?) defense would be.

Proportionality? Yes, that grand doctrine of proportional warfare. Taking the old dictum (Newton's Third Law of Physics) about an equal and opposite reaction to its contemporary extreme, we are always stuck in some unwinnable war. Israel’s armed forces always has done and continues to do their best at separating Hamas from their human shields and killing only the combatants. But that is not enough for Bill Moyers. He uses two examples, examples which all media professionals by the time he used them knew to be suspect, to imply that the Israelis are no better than those who want only to murder them. He pointedly ignores the obvious difference in the morality of the two sides.

He pretends, as it were, that he has just walked into the room and sees Israel beating up the Palestinians without knowing any of the background. According to him, it is an onslaught and a slaughter and he hurls those epithets at Israel, not the hate-filled murderers who have caused the problem and intentionally placed their own people between them and the tiger they had taunted once too often.

He crowns his assault on morality with the remark that first caught our attention—the one he has already backed away from as “obviously not sufficiently precise”. (Ah, suddenly the man who has traded in words all his professional life has “misspoken?

More likely he spoke too quickly and revealed too much) Not only did he state that it was the bible that “genetically encoded” violence in the Jewish people, even as he goes on to say, “A radical stream of Islam now seeks to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth,” he compounds his betrayal of common sense and moral decency by adding “Israel misses no opportunity to humiliate the Palestinians with checkpoints, concrete walls, routine insults” as if he agrees with the Islamist honor/shame formula that their humiliation must be avenged in blood.

Read it all.

Unravelling and understanding this Israeli-Arab conflict is a rather simple task. Unravelling and understanding the mental gymnastics the Left uses to suggest its own moral superiority is not.

Netanyahu Defiant Against Appeasers

Benjamin_Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu

ISRAEL'S SECURITY CHALLENGES ARE daunting. Hamas remains in power and will try to rearm itself with an even more deadly arsenal. This goes without saying, however much the Arab and Western Left wish to spin "context" contrary to the facts on then ground since day one of Israel's declaration of independence as a modern state on May 14, 1948.

The Israeli papers carried reports on Monday (here, for instance) about an article in the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat claiming Egypt was warning Hamas to strike a deal with Israel before Binyamin Netanyahu forms the next government. Otherwise, the Egyptian officials are supposed to have said, Hamas stands to “lose everything.”

Rumors were flying about a ceasefire of a year to a year and a half in which Israel would open the crossings to Gaza and free 1,000 Hamas prisoners in return for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel’s current leaders Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, and Tzipi Livni are said to be anxious to conclude a deal for Shalit before the February 10 elections.

If so, they’re badly miscalculating. Israelis want Shalit freed and are perturbed that Operation Cast Lead didn’t secure that result. The renewed terror puts the government’s claims about restored Israei deterrence in doubt as well.

Clearly Olmert, Barak, and Livni can’t boast that the war was a resounding success, gravely weakening Hamas, and then agree to abject terms of 1,000 terrorists for one Israeli soldier. Israelis would rejoice to see Shalit back home in any case—then send Livni and Barak (with Olmert finished in any case) deeper into political defeat.

Bibi to world: I don’t believe Operation Cast Lead came anywhere near defeating or neutralizing Hamas. I am realistic about the danger Hamas continues to pose.

“Hizbullah has de facto control over Lebanon and has tripled its lethal capacity.”

Bibi to world: Ditto for the Second Lebanon War. It didn’t achieve much and I am realistic about the danger Hizbullah continues to pose.

“And advancing peace with moderate Palestinians is possible, but must be done in a way that does not sacrifice Israel’s security interests.”

Bibi to Obama administration: Again, I don’t dismiss this idea, but I’m going to be real careful about it and will not be pushed into moves I deem harmful to Israel.

“Above all else, the top priority of the next government of Israel will be to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. Iran is a regime openly pledged to our destruction, and its threats must never be dismissed lightly. Israel must immediately redouble its efforts to work with the United States and other allies to neutralize this threat.”

Bibi to Obama administration and Europeans: If you’re really intending to do something about it, I will work with you against the Iranian threat. If you’re not, take note: Israel will go it alone.

To sum up, Netanyahu’s advent evokes rational fears in those who wish Israel ill and irrational enmity in those purporting to wish it well. Netanyahu, aware of the various perceptions, wants it to be known that he is above all an Israeli nationalist concerned about his country’s survival. After three years and more of weak, obsequious leadership, Israelis—with their mixed feelings about his earlier tenure at the helm—are ready to put him there again.

Read it all.

We, in the United States, who share this resolve to identify and stop the rising global tide of Islamic jihad in all of its infamy can only hope that Bibi Netanyahu rises once again to the top slot in the Israeli government at this most dangerous time in history. His abiding strength and iron resolve to confront those who would "wipe Israel off the map" not with weakness but with clarity of purpose will be the corrective and timely anecdote to the wobbly Obama policies already in motion.

Remember people, our Dear Leader has already—in his first week as top policy maker of the most powerful military force on earth—reached out to the Islamic rabble in a pitiful show of "dhimmitudinal" solidarity, just like he telegraphed in one of those two biographies of his (and William Ayers), in stating that "when the political winds change in an ugly direction I will stand with my Muslim brothers."

As Charles Krauthammer put it, "Every new president flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is beginning the world anew. Yet, when Barack Obama in his inaugural address reached out to Muslims with to the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect, his formulation was needlessly defensive and apologetic.

Krauthammer is being gentle. The truth is that Obama has more up his sleeve than even this well-respected conservative columnist will admit publically.

Is it "new" to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world? Obama doesn't just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to "restore" the "same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago."

Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years—the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world—America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved—and resulted in—the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

That's right. Stop the misplaced appeasement to these vulgar peoples who are aggressive the world over, thanks to Saudi-financed Wahabbi madrassas now stretching into every corner of the free world. Bottom line, Mr. President. No more dhimmitude. We had enough of that with the last man to sit in the same seat you now occupy. Enough! said this patriot.

Jihad Al-Mal Suffers Setback

Dollar Roll
My Own Financial Losses of Great Meltdown of 2008

ARAB INVESTORS HAVE LOST $ 2.5 trillion from the credit crunch, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah, whose country hosts an Arab economic summit next week, said yesterday. “The Arab world has lost $ 2.5 trillion in the past four months” as a result of the global financial crisis, Sheikh Mohammad told a press conference following a joint meeting of Arab foreign and finance ministers in Kuwait. This is most excellent news, and if the 25% hit my family took in its own modest financial portfolio went to sandbag the financial jihad (jihad al-mal) being leveled against the west, I will gladly stop worrying about my own personal losses. It may be twisted to think so, more so to say so, but in some small way, I took a bullet for America, and will gladly take another hit if it would help stop those enemies who aggressively target the weak underbelly of the West with its myriad of jihadi techniques, For all of al-Qaeda's talk that it will economically "bleed" the West dry, and that Allah is on "their" side, this story implies otherwise. If the West is limping, the Arab world appears to have been hobbled.

However, another glance at the details of this story suggest another interpretation of the facts.

"This very public lament is deliberately designed to head off demands in the West that the rich Arabs start to take care of the poor Muslims who so far have been bleeding the West dry—see Pakistan, Afghanistan, even oil-rich Iraq, see Egypt, see Jordan, and of course see the "Palestinians" who never have to suffer, and are constantly replenished, and who have been living off the Infidel dole for 60 years, on the UNRWA roles, in so-called "refugee camps" that have DVD stores, and cell-phone stores, and apartment skyscrapers, and are nothing like the real refugee camps in which black Africans in Darfur or the southern Sudan, or Rwandans in the Congo, or the hundreds of millions of refugees, since World War II, have had after a short time to fend for themselves, while the "Palestinian" Arabs receive, by themselves, almost as much from the U.N. as all other refugees—real refugees—all over the world together manage to receive. The rich Arabs don't like what they fear may come, and so they are poor-mouthing it all they can.

If you read the report, you will see that their investments suffered as have all investments everywhere. But they refer to only 40% of that $2.5 trillion as being a loss reflecting stock and bond prices. What about the rest? That is not a real loss, but merely their calculation of the diminishing of oil revenues because of a drop in the price of oil. Their calculation of that $2.5 trillion loss, in other words, assumes that anything less than oil at $150 a barrel can be considered a loss."

Sunshine Patriots Among Us

palest
The Palestine Martyr?

Picture this basic scenario—roving gangs terrorizing the neighborhood; residents and police act to curb the violence. Gang members, adept at finding flaws in a system meant to work as a favorable policy, start crying foul that they are being picked on.

Who was "living" in the area of Israel in 1947? Nobody. It was unattended forgotten desert. Bedouins migrated through it, but it was a vast wasteland. Now with the help of pseudo-compassionate people we are supposed to believe that this turf was always inhabited by the so-called Palestinian people. Hey, I know, let's introduce a turf war. Many an Arab country could alleviate the problem by assimilating the Palestinians (pan-Arabs) into their cultures and societies, but no, it is much more convenient for the Muslim world for them to be 'a thorn in Israel's side'.

Others have said it before, but honestly, the more I hear the screams from the sunshine patriots of the Left the more I am persuaded that unbridled liberalism is indeed some sort of mental disorder—to be unable to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and fiction, the real and the unreal is to be delusional.

Too many Americans digest too much of what the MSM reports as news, thinking that US foreign policy is utterly without redeeming features and that things have never been worse in the nation or the world at large.

But just like President Georgie Bush said yesterday—things during President Abe Lincoln's tenure surely weren't the rosiest of times, now were they? A nation crippled and divided where fathers fought sons, brothers fought brothers, and the blood ran red.

It's unfortunate our automobiles today can't run on the vitriolic fuel our political climate seems to produce in quite an abundant supply.

Islam's Influence On Old Sicily

The following information has been culled from a thorough if somewhat romanticized article written by Palermo native Vincenzo Salerno, and at first glance, contradicts a good portion of what I have learned about the nature of parasitical Muslim culture. But I'll leave that final assessment to the reader, because attached at the end of this article is a highly critical opinion of The Camp of Islam and its controversial history.

islam-sicily
Sicily about to get new mega-mosque...

PALERMO MAY NOT HAVE the polished look of Venice or Florence, but it is a beautiful stretch of Old Country charm, an open-air museum to the foreign cultures that have conquered Sicily over the centuries. A short breezy walk can lead one past Byzantine mosaics, Arab domes, Norman churches and Spanish sculptures. The most striking architectural hybrid must be the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, a lush Roman Catholic sanctuary that was converted from a Muslim mosque after the 12th century departure of the Arabs. The church's Islamic roots can be clearly seen in its red domes and cubic structure. Another mixed, though ultimately Christian, visual feast is the city's main cathedral, an imposing 12th century testament to Gothic grandeur. This is an interesting detail in the study of Islam's influence on Sicily and what became the hidden hand, or mafioso culture on the island and in America, because often we only hear of beautiful churches that have been converted to mosques.

The Muslims ruled Sicily for two centuries and a few decades but their influence was nothing short of monumental. Under their administration, the island's population doubled as dozens of towns were founded and cities repopulated. The Arabs changed Sicilian agriculture and cuisine. Their scientific and engineering achievements were remarkable. More significantly, they changed society itself. To this day, many Sicilian social attitudes reflect the profound influence—often in subtle ways—of the Arabs who ruled a thousand years ago but who (with the Greeks and others) are the ancestors of today's Sicilians.

The Arabs, who in medieval times were sometimes called "Saracens" or "Moors," have been identified since antiquity (in Assyrian records dated to circa 850 BC), but until the Middle Ages they were not unified as a people. In the Early Middle Ages, it was Islam that united the Arabs and established the framework of Arab law. Initially, most Muslims were Arabs, and during the Arab rule of Sicily their Islamic faith was closely identified with them. (Even today, many principles believed to be tenets of Islam are, in fact, Arab practices unrelated to Muslim ethics.) The rapid growth of Arab culture could be said to parallel the dissemination of Islam.

fatimid_islamic_caliphate
The Fatimid Caliphate

Except for some poetry, the first major work of literature published entirely in Arabic was the Koran (Quran), the holy book of Islam, and one may loosely define Arabs by the regions where Arabic was spoken in the Middle Ages and afterwards. Arabs were a Semitic people of the Middle East. The Berbers of northwest Africa and the Sahara were not Arabs, though many converted to Islam, adopted Arabic as their language and assimilated with Arab society. Though most parts of Sicily were conquered by Arabs, certain areas where settled by people who, strictly speaking, were Muslim Berbers. Like many Berbers, some Arabs were nomadic.

With the emergence of the Byzantine Empire, groups of Arabs lived in bordering areas in the Arabian peninsula and parts of what are now Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt. Their language, Arabic, is a Semitic tongue of various dialects related to Hebrew and Ethiopic, written in script from right to left.

Muhammad (the prophet of Islam) was born in Mecca around AD 570 and his religious and military community at Medina eventually grew to dominate the entire Arabian peninsula. Following Muhammad's death in 632, caliphs (civil and religious leaders) succeeded him. Three families from Muhammad's tribe ruled the expanding Arabian empire for the next few centuries, namely the Umayyads (661-750), the Abbasids (750-850) and the Alids (Fatimid dynasty in northern Africa from 909 to 1171). In practice, certain regions—including Sicily—were actually controlled by particular (if minor) families, or often under local emirs (there were several in Sicily when the Normans arrived in 1061).

Initially, the Arabs aspired to little more than some productive land in coastal areas and around the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, but within decades of Mohammed's death their objectives grew greater. With the growth of their society supported by conversions to Islam, the wealth sought by Arabs was precisely that which the Koran (3:14) discouraged: "The passion for women, the desire for male children, the thirst for gold and silver, spirited horses, and the possession of cattle and land, in fact all the pleasures of life on earth." Sicily offered all of these things in abundance.

By 650, the Arabs were making their way through Libya and Tunisia, and what remained of the once-prosperous city of Carthage was destroyed in 698. The Byzantines had already lost these areas, but they retained control of Sicily—despite numerous raids by Arab pirates—until 827. In that year, Euphemius, a Byzantine admiral and resident governor of Sicily who found himself at odds with the Emperor, offered the governorship of the island to Ziyadat Allah, the Aghlabid Emir of Al Qayrawan (in Tunisia) in exchange for his support. This fiasco resulted in the landing of over ten thousand Arab and Berber troops at Mazara in the western part of Sicily. Euphemius was soon killed and Sicily's Arab period had begun.

Three Arab dynasties ruled Sicily—first the Aghlabids (a "minor" family based in Tunisia which had broken away from the Abbasids of Baghdad) and then, from 909, the Fatimids, who entrusted much of their authority to the Kalbids in 948. In that year, Hassan al-Kalbi became the first Emir of All Sicily. By 969, the Fatimid dynasty (descended from the Prophet's daughter, Fatima) were moving their geographic center of power to Cairo, leaving their Tunisian capitals (Madiyah and Al Quayrawan) and western territories to the care of what in Europe would be called "vassals."

Islam spread quickly across the Mediterranean but in Sicily the Arabs' conquest was a slow one. Panormos, which was to become the seat of an emirate as Bal'harm (Palermo) in 948, fell in 832. Messina was taken in 843. Enna (the Arabs' Kasr' Yanni, also an emirate) was conquered in 858. With the violent fall of Syracuse in 878, the conquest was essentially complete, though Taormina and several other mountaintop communities held out for a few more years.

Byzantine society, culture and government were closely identified with Christianity, and the law was based largely (though not entirely) on Judeo-Christian ideas, but it would have been mistaken to consider the Byzantine state a theocracy. Moreover, as Christianity already existed in many regions (such as Sicily) in the Byzantine Empire, there was not always a need to introduce (or impose) it. Islam, however, was a way of life that could not easily be separated from society itself, and it was a religion formerly unknown in Sicily. This obviously influenced Arab society in Sicily and elsewhere, though efforts were made to retain something of the established order. In the early ninth century, Islam itself could be said to be in its formative stages socially, with certain literary sources (collections of hadiths containing sunnahs or "laws") still being written.

Arab administration, if not particularly enlightened, was not very harsh by medieval standards, but it was far from egalitarian. Sicily's Christians and Jews (Sicily was at least half Muslim by 1060) were highly taxed, and clergy could not recite from the Bible or Talmud within earshot of Muslims. Christian and Jewish women (who like Muslim ones were veiled in public) could not share the public baths with Muslim women—many of whom were ex-Christians converted to Islam to contract financially or socially advantageous marriages to Muslim men. Non-Muslims had to stand in the presence of Muslims. New churches and synagogues could not be built, nor Muslims converted to other faiths. A number of large churches, such as the cathedral of Palermo, were converted to mosques. (The Arabic inscription shown above is still visible on one of its columns.)

map-sicily2

A degree of religious tolerance prevailed; there were no forced conversions. Yet, a new social order was soon in place. Except for a few merchants and sailors, there had been very few Muslim Arabs in Sicily before 827, but Byzantine legal strictures imposed upon them, and upon the Jews living across the island, cannot be said to have been as rigid as those imposed upon non-Muslims by the Arabs after about 850. At first, however, many Sicilians probably welcomed the prospect of change because they had been overtaxed and over-governed by their Byzantine rulers.

The Arabs introduced superior irrigation systems; some of their qanats (channels) still flow under Palermo. They established the Sicilian silk industry, and at the court of the Norman monarch Roger II great Arab thinkers like the geographer Abdullah al Idrisi were welcome. Agriculture became more varied and more efficient, with the widespread introduction of rice, sugar cane, cotton and oranges. This, in turn, influenced Sicilian cuisine. Many of the most popular Sicilian foods trace their origins to the Arab period.

Dozens of towns were founded or resettled during the Saracen era, and souks (suks, or street markets) became more common than before. Bal'harm (Palermo) was repopulated and became one of the largest Arab cities after Baghdad and Cordoba (Cordova), and one of the most beautiful. Construction on Bal'harm's al-Khalesa district built near the sea was begun in 937 by Khalid Ibn Ishaq, who was then Governor of Sicily. Despite later estimates of a greater population, there were probably about two hundred thousand residents in and around this city by 1050, and it was the capital of Saracen Sicily. Bal'harm was the official residence of the Governors and Emirs of All Sicily, and al-Khalesa (now the Kalsa district) was its administrative center.

As we've mentioned, in 948 the Fatimids granted a degree of autonomy to the Kalbid dynasty, whose last "governor" (effectively a hereditary emir), Hasan II (or Al-Samsan), ruled until 1053. By then, Kasyr Yanni (Enna), Trapani, Taormina and Syracuse were also self-declared, localized "emirates." (This word was sometimes used rather loosely to describe any hereditary ruler of a large locality; in law Sicily had been a unified emirate governed from Palermo since 948, but by the 1050s the others had challenged his authority over them.)

Naturally, Arabic was widely spoken and it was a major influence on Sicilian, which emerged as a Romance (Latin) language during the subsequent (Norman) era. The Sicilian vernacular was in constant evolution, but until the arrival of the Arabs the most popular language in Sicily was a dialect of Greek. Under the Moors Sicily actually became a polyglot community; some localities were more Greek-speaking while others were predominantly Arabic-speaking. Mosques stood alongside churches and synagogues.

Arab Sicily, by 948 governed from Bal'harm with little intervention from Qayrawan (Kairouan), was one of Europe's most prosperous regions—intellectually, artistically and economically. (At the same time, Moorish Spain was comparable to Sicily in these respects, but its prior society had been essentially Visigothic rather than Byzantine.) With the exception of occasional landings in Calabria, the Sicilian Arabs coexisted peacefully with the peoples of the Italian peninsula. These were Lombards (Longobard descendants) and Byzantines in Calabria, Basilicata and Apulia, where Bari was the largest city.

Under the Byzantines' empire, Sicily enjoyed some contact with the East, but as part of a larger Arab empire having greater contact with China and India, Far Eastern developments such as paper (made from cotton or wood), the compass and Arabic numerals (actually Indian) arrived. So did Arab inventions, such as henna—though today's middle-class Sicilian obsession with artficial blondness is a twentieth-century phenomenon. Under the Arabs, Sicily and Spain found themselves highly developed compared to England and Continental northern Europe.

Byzantium hadn't forgotten Sicily, and in 1040 George Maniakes, at the head of an army of Byzantine-Greeks, Normans, Vikings and Lombards, attempted an invasion of Sicily without success. By the 1050s, the Pope, and some Norman knights from this failed adventure, were casting a long glance toward Sicily with an eye to conquest. This desire was later fueled by dissension among the island's Arabs, leading to support by the Emir of Syracuse for the Normans against the emirates of Enna and Palermo. Most of these internal problems developed after the ruling Fatimids moved their capital from Tunisia to Egypt, where they established Cairo (near ancient Memphis).

norman_achievements
The Norman's Break Muslim Hold On Sicily
The Normans conquered Messina in 1061 and reached the gates of Palermo a decade later, removing from power the local emir, Yusuf Ibn Abdallah, but respecting Arab customs. Their conquest of Arab Sicily was slower than their conquest of Saxon England, which began in 1066 with the Battle of Hastings. Kasr Yanni was still ruled by its emir, Ibn Al-Hawas, who held out for years. His successor, Ibn Hamud, surrendered, and converted to Christianity, only in 1087. Initially, and for over a century, the Normans' Sicilian kingdom was the medieval epitome of multicultural tolerance.

By 1200, this was beginning to change. While the Muslim-Arab influence continued well into the Norman era—particularly in art and architecture—it was not to endure. The Normans gradually "Latinized" Sicily, and this social process laid the groundwork for the introduction of Catholicism (as opposed to eastern Orthodoxy). Widespread conversion ensued, and by the 1280s there were few—if any—Muslims in Sicily. Yet, the mass immigration of north-African Arabs (and Berbers) was the greatest Sicilian immigration since that of the ancient Greeks, leaving today's Sicilians as Saracen as Hellenic.

While Norman government and law in Sicily were essentially European, introducing institutions such as the feudal system, at first they were profoundly influenced by Arab (and even Islamic) practices. Many statutes were universal, but in the earliest Norman period each Sicilian—Muslim, Christian, Jew—was judged by the laws of his or her own faith.

When did the various Sicilian localities cease to be Arab (or Byzantine Greek)? There was not an immediate change. Following the Norman conquest, complete Latinization, fostered largely by the Roman Church and its liturgy, took the better part of two centuries, and even then there remained pockets of Byzantine influence in northeastern Sicily's Nebrodi Mountains.

Had the Normans not conquered Sicily, it might have evolved into an essentially Arab society not unlike that which survived in some parts of Spain into the later centuries of the Middle Ages, and the Sicilian vernacular language (as we know it) would have developed later. It is interesting to consider that general functional literacy among Sicilians was higher in 870 under the Arabs and Byzantines than it was in 1870 under the Italians (at about seventeen percent). In certain social respects, nineteenth-century Sicily still seemed very Arab, especially outside the largest cities, well into the early years of the twentieth century.

And now for a critical look at the Islam of contemporary times by an online contributor: Islam is like a lobster pot. It's easy to get in but impossible to get out.

This fact above all else needs to be shouted from the rooftops across the entire Infidel world. Christian, Jewish and other non-Muslim chaplains and psychologists/ counsellors who work in prisons in the West particularly need to be informed of this fact, so that they can warn the vulnerable why it is NOT WISE to listen to Muslim da'wa. Even the most hardened ghetto gangsta might surely think twice if told—if you became a Muslim, and then decided you wanted to leave, THEY WOULD KILL YOU, OR AT LEAST TRY VERY HARD TO DO SO.

Islam is the only modern religion that explicitly prescribes and enforces death for the apostate—and for all critics and questioners, that is, 'blasphemers', as well, be they Muslim or non-Muslim.

If our politicians and journalists and academics can be forced to wrap their minds around this one simple, amply demonstrable fact; if they can be made to realize it is general, common, standard Islamic practice; that even the most well-educated, 'moderate' Muslim families living IN THE WEST have been known to transform into murderous assassins upon discovering that a family member has converted out to another faith; then we might get people to realize that This Thing Called Islam Is Dangerous.

Let's start pointing out, loud and clear, the unpleasant parallels between mainstream, historic Islam and—the Mafia, or the Thuggees, or the Triads. Not all members of a mafioso crime 'family' do the actual hands-on stuff—the robberies, kidnappings and mutilations, application of threats/ extortion, concrete bootings, briberies and shootouts; one might compare such 'silent participants' to the 'peaceful' Muslims. But everybody in 'the family' is loyal to 'the family'; everybody lives off the payola; everybody admires il capo; and nobody rats, or they die.

—Dumble Dore's Army

You be the judge.

Ordinary Men, Or Idiots In Pajamas

FOLLOWING ARE SEVERAL EXCERPTS from an interview with an Hamas MP which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 23, 2008. If these men weren't running a country, perhaps they would be fabulous comedians, but otherwise, this is simply the work of an idiot in pajamas. If idiot is too harsh a word, bigot will work just as well. And if the word bigot offends thee, let's just call him an Israeliophobe. Yeah, that's the ticket!

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Islam Gone Wild

Salem Salamah: "There are many companies established by the colonialists and occupiers—large companies with branches all over the world, like Pepsi, Pepsi Cola. This is a well-known company. Pepsi is an acronym. P-E-P-S-I—Pay Every Pence to Save Israel. Pay every pence—pence is one hundredth of a dollar—to save Israel. Pay every pence to save Israel. Shouldn't the Muslims have a fund, a company, or a large project to save the Al-Aqsa Mosque?"

Then there's this to chew on. Boycotts work both ways. If only the US would just say NO to the Saudi oil shieks, we might once again begin to exert some real leverage against these adversaries. History is a description of conflict, no doubt, so read on for some tough but real history thanks to the folks at Snopes...

Claim: Coca-Cola was once considered anti-Semitic for refusing to do business in Israel.

Status: True.

Origins: The last thirty-odd years have seen allegations of anti-Semitism hurled at both Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and for both companies the charges stemmed from their one-time reluctance to do business with Israel.

Successfully doing business in the Middle East often depended upon not doing business in Israel. The Arab League was quick to boycott, and multinational concerns were forced to choose between the smaller market of Israel and the much larger market of the combined Arab states. For firms caught in the middle, it was a "no win" situation. Coca-Cola's turn in the harsh spotlight of public opinion came in 1966.

She, too, decries the "creeping individualism" that has seeped into the discourse on May '68 and related phenomena. But that is material for another post. The thing that is important now is to indicate just why Stirner is not just another apologist for the small-time shopkeeper. The key point has to do with the irreducible toggle in the individualism/collectivism question: can I keep my own prerogatives intact if I allow a collective entity to be primary in my own mind and, by extension, in the world?

April 1 1966: At a press conference in Tel Aviv, businessman Moshe Bornstein accused Coca-Cola of refusing to do business in Israel out of fear of reprisals and loss of profits in the Arab soft drink market. A week later in New York, the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith released a statement backing up the charges, triggering headlines across the U.S.A. Coca-Cola was in hot water, and the American public was demanding answers. It was also rejecting the answers it was getting.

In 1949 Coca-Cola had attempted to open a bottling plant in Israel, but its efforts had been blocked by the Israeli government. As long as no one questioned the company too closely, the failure of this one stab at the Israeli market appeared to provide a satisfactory answer for Coca-Cola's conspicuous absence from the Israeli market. In the meanwhile, Coca-Cola was content to continue quietly serving the much larger Arab market, a market it was likely to lose if it began operating in Israel.

In 1961 an incident in Cairo involving civil servant Mohammad Abu Shadi momentarily shattered the quiet. Shadi had come into possession of a Coca-Cola bottle manufactured in Ethiopia, mistaken the Amharic lettering on its label for Hebrew, and publicly accused Coca-Cola of doing business with Israel.

The manager of Coca-Cola's Egyptian bottling operations wasted no time (and little thought) in assuring the press that Coca-Cola would never allow the Israelis a franchise. With their hands forced by their bottler's impolitic statement, company officials quickly invented the explanation that Israel was too small to support a franchise and gave their reasons for staying away as purely economic, not political. For the time being, this seemed to keep a lid on the brewing storm.

It wasn't until 1966 that people began to wonder openly why it was that nearby Cyprus had no difficulty supporting its Coca-Cola franchise despite their having only one-tenth the population of Israel. The comfortable aura of quiet was shattered by Bornstein's charges and the subsequent uproar they raised in the US.

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israeli flag still not vanquished...

When these issues came to light in 1966, they proved highly embarrassing to Coca-Cola. The administrators of Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan announced they would stop serving Coke, and the owners of Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Emporium on Coney Island followed suit. Faced with the prospect of a Jewish boycott in America, the company attempted to right the tipped canoe by announcing it would open a bottling plant in Tel Aviv. (Such is the price of business: Israel with the fury of America behind it became a much more attractive market than it ever had been all on its own.) The Arab League struck back by placing Coca-Cola on its boycott list. The boycott began in August 1968 and lasted until May 1991 (or until 1979 in Egypt, where they made their own rules).

Pepsi's entry into Israel in 1992 did not go smoothly—the evolution theme of its "Choice of a New Generation" ad campaign (in which man was portrayed as evolving from a monkey into a Pepsi drinker) angered the strictly observant haredi community. Though Pepsi pulled the campaign from Israel, it found itself in more hot water over a 1993 Michael Jackson tour. Jackson's unthinking flashbulb-popping arrival on a Sabbath was viewed by many observant Jews as a desecration. For a time Pepsi lost its kashrut (kosher) certificate because it was deemed to be promoting a culture that would corrupt the nation's youth through rock music concerts and advertisements featuring scantily-clad women.

Prior to 1992, Pepsi had backed the other horse, choosing to service the lucrative Coke-less Arab markets in the boycott days. For its decision to stay out of Israel (and thus itself avoid being placed on the Arab League's blacklist), Pepsi faced continued criticism in the United States. In certain circles it was considered politically incorrect to be seen drinking Pepsi.

She, too, decries the "creeping individualism" that has seeped into the discourse on May '68 and related phenomena. But that is material for another post. The thing that is important now is to indicate just why Stirner is not just another apologist for the small-time shopkeeper. The key point has to do with the irreducible toggle in the individualism collectivism question: can I keep my own prerogatives intact if I allow a collective entity to be primary in my own mind and, by extension, in the world?
The Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith investigated claims that Pepsi was participating in the boycott of Israel. U.S. law prohibited American companies from taking part in this boycott, but the law was vague, and outright violations were hard to pin down. Nothing ever came of the investigations, and Pepsi was never placed on the American government's list of violators.

Pepsi always denied it was the fear of losing their Arab markets that kept them out of Israel. Like Coca-Cola in 1961, Pepsi fell back upon the claim of Israel's being too small to support a franchise. At least this time the excuse was a bit more believable—Coca-Cola's already holding down the lion's share of the Israeli soft drink market gave this claim a bit more plausibility. Even so, Pepsi was doing business in many other small markets and much more often than not competing head-to-head against Coca-Cola. If these conditions were keeping them out of Israel, then why weren't they equally keeping them out of these other markets?

Many people in the United States believed Pepsi was going along with the boycott, whether it was proveable in the eyes of U.S. law or not. Those lucrative Arab markets did not come without a price, and Pepsi paid it in loss of goodwill in the US. A significant number of American cola drinkers grew up suspecting Pepsi of being anti-Israel and refrained from buying their product. By contrast, Coca-Cola appeared heroic.

This appearance failed to take into account Coca-Cola's fast stepping to shake off similar charges in the 1960s. Pepsi's mud-spattered skirts were but Coca-Cola's hand-me-downs—same skirt, just a bit older.

Today you can get either Coke or Pepsi in anywhere in the Middle East, and the days of the boycott have faded into memory. Even so, there are still those who observe the stricture of "Coke is for Jews; Pepsi is for Arabs." Old wounds are not necessarily healed wounds.

Ordinary men, or idiots in pajamas?