Norwegian Schools Preach the Wonders of Niqab Posted By Bruce Bawer

The news came three days before Christmas:

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has announced that the Department of Defense will now allow Muslim and Sikh students participating in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) to wear headscarves and turbans while in uniform.

When I read this, the first thing I thought was: What?! And the second was: Since when does CAIR make announcements on behalf of the Department of Defense?

The background was as follows: a Muslim girl in Tennessee was told by her JROTC commanding officer that she could not wear her headscarf, or hijab, in a homecoming parade. She contacted CAIR, which in turn contacted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, asking for a change in policy. And instead of informing CAIR that the Department of Defense does not take its marching orders from fronts for terrorist organizations, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Larry Stubblefield fell right into line, writing a letter to CAIR assuring that henceforth JROTC policy would be different.

France and the Netherlands have banned the niqab, the face-covering veil, in public; the hijab is also prohibited in certain venues (such as classrooms and government offices) in a few European jurisdictions. But in most of the Western world, there are no laws against any Muslim garments. In many Western cities, there has been a visible increase in the number of women wearing these things in public. And there has also been an increase in the number of Muslims who demand their right to wear them in institutions ranging from the armed forces and police to schools and universities.

Case in point: a twenty-year-old woman named Aisha Shezadi Kausar. Kausar wears niqab. Last year her name appeared on an essay, “You, Me, and Niqab,” which was included in Utilslørt (Uncovered), a collection of essays by and about Muslim women. On December 20, she was featured in a news report on Norwegian public television (NRK) about a nationwide project aimed at Norwegian children and teenagers. Kausar, NRK reported, is making personal appearances at various schools around Norway, where she presents her use of the niqab as a feminist choice. In the report, she was seen in front of an auditorium full of students, first praying, then talking about Allah, and then making her case. She’s engaged in a “struggle for freedom” and “fighting against xenophobia.” The only reasons for opposition to niqab are “prejudice” and “fear of foreigners.” At the end of her talk the students gave her a big round of applause, and the kids interviewed by NRK said all the “right” things about diversity and tolerance. Plainly they had not learned anything about Islam, the place of women in Islam, or what niqab actually represents. Their teachers had taken them away from their studies to be propagandized.


Central Asia: Lessons for the Middle East Posted By Nodir Ataev and Steven Plaut

Just as the new calendar year was about to begin, new violence broke out in the village of Andarak in southern Kyrgyzstan. Internecine violence among the ethnic groups of Kyrgyzstan has been flaring up periodically for years with the worst outbreaks in 2010. Kyrgyzstan may be the closest thing to be found in Central Asia to a “bi-national state,” the sort of state that some are proposing be imposed upon the Middle East as a “solution” to replace Israel. It is the second poorest of the ex-Soviet republics. The two main ethnic groups in Kyrgyzstan are the Kyrgyz, about 70% of the population, until relatively recently in history a nomadic tribal population, and ethnic Uzbeks, close to 20%. There are also ethnic Tajiks living in the country. And there are lessons to learn from the violence there about the viability of multi-ethnic states in the Middle East.

At first glance, Kyrgyzstani ethnic relations might be expected to be idyllic. Both of the two main population groups consist of predominantly Moslem people speaking Turkic dialects. The Tajiks are also Moslem, speaking a language close to Farsi. Yet the country has seen outbreaks of massive inter-ethnic violence. In June 1990, a violent land dispute between the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks erupted in the city of Osh. In the summer of 2010, southern Kyrgyzstan was again gripped by bloody internecine violence. (The New Year’s violence this year was between ethnic Tajiks and Kyrgyz.)


A funny thing happened on the way to the New Hampshire primary: ABC moderator George Stephanopoulos embarrassed himself on national television with questions plainly intended to embarrass the Republican candidates. Therein lies a lesson.

On Saturday night, Mr. Stephanopoulos stepped outside the role of honest interlocutor when he pursued Mitt Romney with the issue on nobody’s lips or legislative agenda: whether states have the right to ban contraception. Likewise, fellow moderator Diane Sawyer, who asked Republicans what they would say, “sitting in their living rooms,” to a gay couple.

As the audience appreciated—they booed after Mr. Stephanopolous’s sixth follow-up—these questions were designed less to illuminate than to paint Republicans as people who hate gays and are so crazy they might just ban contraception if elected.



Spending less on defense means squandering the money elsewhere.
It’s never entirely easy to distinguish between retrenchment and retreat.

For three years, the Obama administration has followed what it believes is a strategy of retrenchment—withdrawing from Iraq, setting a deadline for Afghanistan, calling off further expansion of NATO, signing arms-control treaties, asking the Europeans to take the lead in Libya, preferring sanctions to military strikes, and now slicing into the Pentagon’s budget—all on the commendable theory that America must learn once again to pick its spots, match its ambitions to its means, and pursue a “sustainable” foreign policy.

The only problem is, the theory is wrong. What the administration would like to have you believe is a matter of vision is seen by others as a function of weakness.

Consider the Strait of Hormuz, 2012 edition. The administration kicks the year off by imposing sanctions on Iran’s oil trade and persuading the Europeans to follow suit. The Iranians conduct military drills and warn the U.S. not to send an aircraft carrier back to the Persian Gulf. Then a potential diplomatic deus ex machina appears in the form of the USS Kidd’s high-profile rescue of some Iranian sailors from their pirate captors. Iran repays the gesture by sentencing to death 28-year-old Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, an American citizen of Iranian descent.

The lesson of this parable is that you don’t get more by doing less. The administration’s policy toward Iran amounts to avoiding direct confrontation at all costs on the view that the last thing the U.S. needs is another war in the Middle East. But the result is that Iran is more truculent than ever (and much closer to a bomb), while our allies are more skittish than ever about the strength of U.S. commitments.

Sooner or later, the U.S. will have to prove the worth of those commitments in the face of an adversary that’s more likely to test them. How sustainable is that?

This scenario has been playing itself out with depressing regularity since Mr. Obama came to office. About Iraq, Hillary Clinton said in October that the U.S. would not tolerate Iranian meddling. Yet the likelihood that the promise will be tested is far greater now than when we had a residual force in the country, even as the prospective cost of honoring the promise has become almost unaffordable. About Afghanistan, we surged our forces but attached a deadline. The upshot is the U.S. expending itself on temporary triumphs over the Taliban as Pakistan waits and plans a pro-Taliban end game.


First things first. Criticizing the way a politician ran a company at a time when he is running for office on that record isn’t radical leftism, it’s Politics 101. Unless any of Romney’s rivals have called for him to have to pay higher taxes or be closely regulated by the government, then they have nothing in common with Occupy Wall Street and suggesting otherwise is a talking point that doesn’t hold up.

Romney was the one who brought in his record as a job creator. It’s entirely legitimate for his opponents to question whether he really created jobs or destroyed them. Asking whether a candidate’s record holds up isn’t class warfare, it’s common sense. And it’s ridiculous that some of the same figures who turned Gingrich’s personal spending into a campaign issue are suddenly insisting that Romney’s time at Bain Capital is off limits.


Iran’s 30-year war against the United States may be reaching its decisive moment. Signs of the worsening crisis abound. Iran just announced it has begun enriching uranium at the Fordo underground nuclear site, a key step to producing more quickly fissile material for a nuclear warhead. As Europe moves closer to embargoing Iranian oil, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guard Ali Ashraf Nouri threatens, “ If enemies block the export of our oil, we won’t allow a drop of oil to pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil passes. In support of this threat, the regime continues to stage war games in the area and to warn American warships from passing through the strait into the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile the U.S. and Israel have announced a joint missile defense exercise, as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad​ visits America’s enemies in Latin America, bearding the U.S. lion in its own hemisphere of influence.

Iran may be just indulging bluster and bluff. Perhaps the mullahs recall the severe punishment inflicted on its navy in 1988 during the Tanker War​, an earlier attempt to disrupt oil shipments transiting the Persian Gulf. That effort ended when Ronald Reagan​ retaliated for a missile attack on an American warship by eventually destroying two Iranian oil platforms, two Iranian ships, and six Iranian gunboats. Yet our current president has not shown as yet any of Ronald Reagan’s guts and nerve, and the mullahs may be calculating that the bluff will work.

And why wouldn’t they? Iran has been killing Americans for 30 years with impunity, from the 241 military personnel killed in Beirut by a suicide bomber, to the hundreds more soldiers murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan by Iranian proxy terrorist outfits trained and armed by Tehran. Repeated rounds of sanctions, threats, U.N. Security Council resolutions, and deadlines for cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have been contemptuously ignored. Our citizens are arrested and held on trumped-up charges, our ally Israel is threatened with genocide, and incessant anti-American “Great Satan” rhetoric daily pours from Tehran. Just this week a former American Marine was condemned to death by an Iranian court for allegedly being a spy and a “mohareb,” or “fighter against God.” Yet Obama has answered this aggression against our security and interests with appeasing diplomatic “outreach” offered “without preconditions,” and pleas for “mutual respect” that the regime correctly interprets as a sign of weakness and failure of nerve.

Given that Iranian aggression has so far provoked appeasement and empty threats, the mullahs very well could believe that since they are the “best of nations,” as the Koran has it, in any conflict Allah will protect the Islamic Republic and render insignificant America’s overwhelming military superiority. After all, Muslims for centuries have believed in their superiority based on Allah’s special regard for them, as aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry noted in 1939: “Their [Muslims] pride was born of the illusion of their power. Allah renders a believer invincible.” The mullahs today will remember what the Ayatollah Khomeini​ said in 1980, after America’s ill-planned and half-hearted mission to rescue the embassy hostages was ignominiously thwarted by a sandstorm that caused two helicopters to crash and burn: “Those sand particles were divinely commissioned. . . . [President] Carter still has not comprehended what kind of people he is facing. . . . Our people is the people of blood and our school is the school of Jihad.”


A Terrorist’s Triumphant Tour Posted By P. David Hornik URL to article: The new star of Middle Eastern diplomacy is Gaza-based Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. Most recently visiting Tunisia, he’s also been in Egypt, Sudan, and Turkey, and the itinerary will also include Qatar and Bahrain. It’s Haniyeh’s first tour of the region […]


The New York Times sees — but knows not what it sees.

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan soldier turned his gun on American military personnel while they were playing volleyball at a camp in southern Afghanistan, killing one and wounding three others before being fatally shot, the Afghan police said on Monday.

It was the third time in just over two weeks that a man wearing an Afghan Army uniform attacked NATO personnel.

And at least the 43rd such fatality in 26 months.

In the earlier cases, the Taliban claimed responsibility, although there was no immediate claim in this case that the Afghan soldier had Taliban sympathies.

Card-carrying Taliban or not, as a Muslim, the ANA soldier was subject to the call of jihad. Fact. I’m sorry about that, but I didn’t write the Koran.


The only known photos from the White House’s 2009 “Alice in Wonderland” party

By now you’ve probably heard about the “Alice in Wonderland”-themed Halloween party that Obama threw back in 2009 and which the White House tried to cover up (a charge they’re already furiously denying). Here at PJM Belladonna Rogers and J. Christian Adams have already blogged about it, so there’s no need for me to go into the details any further.

But the question everyone’s asking is: Where are the photos?

Well, unfortunately, it seems that the Obamas successfully banned discouraged photographers from inside the party itself. But all is not lost: There were a few photos taken inside of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton in Alice in Wonderland costumes along with Alice herself and the Obamas. And some other photos were taken of festivities outside the event. I’ve done quite a bit of searching, and this is what I could find, so for all of you out there hungry for pictures, here you go (presented in the highest resolution I could track down for each image):

[Note: THESE ARE REAL PICTURES of Halloween at the White House in 2009.]


The big news over the weekend, that the Obama White House had a secret Alice and Wonderland-themed Halloween party, really didn’t surprise me. The taxpayer-funded event featured Johnny Depp in full Mad Hatter costume prancing on tables in the White House State Dining Room. Someone wore the actual Chewbacca Wookie costume, while guests drank punch from blood vials. (An aside: why is Halloween such a big event for some people, requiring excessive decorations and festivities?) The State Dining Room was turned into a Lewis Carroll-themed house of horrors for the invited guests.

Not surprisingly, the White House deliberately concealed the existence of the grotesque party from the public and the press corp. That pesky 16% real unemployment rate required stealth.

The Alice in Wonderland party won’t surprise anyone who has read my book Injustice, for Chapter Seven is actually titled “Through the Looking Glass.” The Justice Department held a similar bizarre party at the Mellon Auditorium courtesy of the taxpayers on April 27, 2010. They called it a “retreat,” but it had skits, singing, dancing, and of course free lunch for nearly 800 DOJ employees paid for by you. It also featured a bizarre agenda, almost as strange as Johnny Depp in Mad Hatter makeup dancing on tables: