http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2013/05/what_hurts_the_most_about_benghazi.html I can’t look my old liberal friends in the eye after Benghazi. Most partisan disagreements are forgivable, and I try hard not to lose dear friends over politics. Benghazi is different. Benghazi isn’t political for me. Benghazi is about Americans fighting jihadis for their lives and being abandoned to die by politicians. It is […]
Justin Bieber, my successor as Canada’s teen heartthrob, is currently touring Europe. Passing through Amsterdam, he was taken to visit the Anne Frank House and afterwards signed the guest book. “Anne was a great girl,” he wrote. “Hopefully, she would have been a belieber” — the term used by devoted fans of young Justin. Miss Frank did not live to become a belieber because she was shipped off to Belsen concentration camp and died of typhus in 1945. But had she lived I feel it safe to say she would have regarded Justin’s oeuvre as complete bilge: As a teenager, she liked Liszt, so she was a beliszter; she belonged to the franz club. Anyway, Justin’s poignant message set off a Twitterstorm of criticism at what the Washington Post called “the insensitivity and the sheer ego” of it.
I’m inclined to cut him some slack here. As the years go by, Anne Frank’s supposedly inspiring story makes me a little queasy. Europe venerates its dead Jews even as a resurgent anti-Semitism chases out its living ones. Everyone loves Jews as victims. In other roles, not so much.
http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2013/05/20/benghazi-and-going-the-full-nixon/?print=1 Choosing which is worse between the Benghazi and IRS scandals is probably as much a Rorschach test of the chooser as it is anything else. Both scandals are hugely serious and likely to be with us for a long time. For me, however, Benghazi is worse, in part because it is easier for some […]
http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2013/05/19/benghazi-as-lazarus-back-from-the-dead/?print=1 “The more we know, the more rancid, not to say criminal, the administration’s behavior appears.” Last fall, I thought  the premeditated terrorist attack on our consular facility in Benghazi — an attack, let us remember, that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead — would cost Barack Obama the election. I […]
Ahmad Mansour, EFD Policy Advisor, is an Arab-Israeli who has been living in Berlin since 2004. In addition, he is a Research Associate at the Centre for Democratic Culture, part of the Astiu Project (Conflict with Islamic extremism and ultra-nationalism) and is a member of the Prevention Work with Youths working group at the German Islam Conference
Ahmad Mansour tells of how he turned his back on the allure of religious fundamentalism
At 13-years of age, I was a shy boy with wild curly hair. I was keen on playing football and I would regularly quarrel with my grandparents. Until then, the world I knew reached the end of our dusty Arab village near Tel Aviv.
I was a good pupil, but had difficulties finding friends, because my shyness often got in the way. So I felt flattered when one day our local imam took an interest in me. He stopped me on my way to school telling me he wanted to talk to me.
After telling me I was a good boy, he said he saw potential in me for bigger things. When he proclaimed: “Islam needs you, my son!” I listened to him with wide eyes and open ears.
“All at once I was among the chosen ones”
Shortly afterwards and in an auspicious gesture, he invited me to attend his Koran classes. The presence of this impressive, elderly man with a full beard and bushy eyebrows, made me think that I was among the chosen ones. Although my parents were not very happy – they were anti- religious at the time – they preferred that I learnt something useful instead of joining a local youth gang, like the boy next door.
Our neighbourhood mosque was a white-washed building with a modest minaret and a turquoise gate. Each Thursday after evening prayers, we would gather for lessons in its coolly ventilated basement rooms. With its carpets and framed surahs, I found the place quite cozy and I enjoyed the coolness on hot summer days.
I still happily recall the first lessons. A whole new world opened up to me, and it was an intellectual sport to get one’s tongue around the Arabic words in the Koran. Our imam taught us the complexities of standard Arabic grammar and we listened to his interpretations and especially to his captivating portrayals of paradise with its blissful gardens, fresh springs and its many conveniences – which all fascinated me. To hear that I belonged to a people that had once been great and powerful filled me with exhilaration. But the best thing was I had finally found friends and we were united by a common purpose.
The Islamic school helped broaden my horizons. For the first time I could imagine a world beyond the edge of our village. In a ramshackle bus we would travel to seminars on Islam in other cities. There we saw imams who had attained superstar status. We accompanied our imam to weddings or excursions to lakes or sacred sites. Excitement had come into my once dreary life.
The lessons changed
But it didn’t take long before the nature of the classes shifted. All of a sudden it was not about poetic surahs or Arabic grammar. The focus shifted to frightening scenarios in which the imam evoked the oppression of the umma, or community of believers, who had to fight for the liberation of Palestine. He forcefully spoke of the accursed Jews; the inevitable recapture of Spain; and finally the Islamisation of Europe.
Sinning started to play a major rule. Our imam was verbose on the matter. Women were particularly dangerous; looking at them was forbidden, holding hands was forbidden and unveiled women were doomed to hell.
From that moment we weren’t allowed to feel affection for our female classmates. Instead they became enemies; creatures intended to lead us astray. It even became natural for me to despise the really pretty girls and lose interest, since they already seemed unattainable. Apart from that, our neighbours, who secretly drank alcohol, were, also apparently damned.
Arab girls, Jews and drinking villagers were the prime enemies in our midst, but the imam disclosed that in the outside world there were more foes: Christians, Americans, Europeans, Nationalists and Communists. They were all our enemies and aligned with the Devil. Our imam preached that a cruel and agonizing death was in store for them. One day, in order to maximize our respect for his words, he subjected us to a dramatic test.
Late in the evening we went to our village cemetery in our imam’s old car. As we got out, we recognised the cemetery’s little wall in the darkness. The whole group followed the imam who was muttering surahs. Around us there was nothing but the silver moonlight lighting our path between the graves. Finally we stood at the front of an open, freshly excavated grave. There the imam commanded us to stand around in a semicircle.
The test of courage: a bizarre initiation ceremony
With sudden and loud exclamations he said: “Think of your death! Think of your encounter with Allah! Bear in mind that you are all going to end here! Maybe tomorrow or in a month!” Then we were told to each climb down into the hole and lie flat one by one. It was a test of courage, but also a bizarre initiation ceremony. As we descended into the dugout one after another, the imam kept calling: “For all the people who didn’t follow Allah in their lives, snakes and demons are waiting in their graves to beat and torture them for all eternity!”
http://www.thecommentator.com/article/3569/whither_the_chilean_model Chile, once a model of what free markets can do to promote prosperity and lift millions out of poverty, was a poster boy of economic liberalization in Latin America. But today’s Chile is experiencing a period of political stagnation that could put its progress in peril. During the 1970s the copper-rich nation fell into […]
Iran’s Fars news agency reports the hanging of two spies, one Israeli and one American
Iranian authorities have reportedlty executed two men this Sunday after they were convicted of working for Israeli and U.S. spy agencies.
The report, from Iran’s Fars news agency stated that Mohammad Heidari, accused of passing security-related information and secrets to Israeli Mossad agents in exchange for money, and Kourosh Ahmadi, accused of gathering information for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, were hanged at dawn.
The sentence for their execution was handed down by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and confirmed by the country’s Supreme Court. The report did not say when the pair were arrested nor when their trial took place.
Iran has in the past said it had successfully detected and dismantled spy networks operating inside the country. It has blamed the assassinations of scientists associated with its disputed nuclear program on Western spy agencies, especially Mossad.
The United States has denied any role in the killings. Israel has not commented.
A Review of ” Militant Islam Reaches America (Paperback)by Daniel Pipes
I find myself in an incongruous position. For many years I’ve read the books, enjoyed the columns, and agreed with most political positions taken by Daniel Pipes; we diverge on his work: “Militant Islam Reaches America.”
In his usual well written, easily understood style, Pipes methodically attempts to build a case against what he and others profess to be true, that there exists a differentiation between Islam and militant Islam. Unfortunately, historical evidence does not support this premise. More to the point, Islam is Islam.
As the inside cover of the book suggests, the work is divided into two subjects, what he calls, “the crucial difference between Islam the faith and militant Islam the ideology.”
His secondary supposition claims the current conflict between Islam and the West is not a clash of civilizations “but a battle for the soul of Islam among Muslims themselves.” In effect, Pipes is professing what two Presidents before him have stated as well, “Islam is a peaceful religion.” This may be a politically correct espousal but it is also blatantly wrong.
http://www.dianawest.net/Home/tabid/36/EntryId/2512/Another-Reason-Congress-Should-Investigate-Extortion-17-Who-Why-Were-Afghans-Aboard.aspx The overwhelming presence in the Extortion 17 press conference last week, which I wrote about in last week’s syndicated column, was the pain that filled every corner of the room. The shootdown of the Chinook CH-47 carrying 17 SEALS and 13 other American forces on August 6, 2011 may have faded like newsprint for […]
http://www.thejerusalemconnection.us/blog/2013/05/17/oh-what-a-tangled-web-we-weave.html Those words written in the early years of the 19th century by Sir Walter Scott referred to his story of a love triangle with all of the intrigue that ensued. But it could equally represent the corruption and deception rife within the Obama Administration, within the State Department, in the IRS and among far […]