Friday, January 23, 2015

Does Islam Have Anything to do With Islam?

By Donald Sensing

I have posted recently why Muslim "moderates" fail to persuade me with their disclaimers that Islamist terrorism and murders have nothing to do with Islam,  (I use scare quotes because what Muslim moderate really means  is, "doesn't kill people" when such nonviolent Muslims may be as absolutist and dedicated to total Islamic triumph as the most die-hard, sword wielding ISIS jihadis).

See here and here, for example.

Pat Condell comes to the logical conclusion that what we are being asked to believe is that Islam has nothing to do with Islam, actually.

In August 2002 I posted that "Islam is what Muslims do" (no longer online) because Islam is exclusively a religion of deeds - deeds of merit or condemnation. Sayyid Qutb, Egyptian author, educator, Islamic theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s, put it this way:

The basis of the Islamic message is that one should accept the shari’ah without any question and reject all other laws, whatever their shape or form. This is Islam. There is no other meaning of Islam.
Sharia is Islamic law. It is the code of conduct that encompasses every aspect of human life and society. Living faithfully as a Muslim means, as Qutb wrote, doing what sharia requires and not doing what it forbids. That is all. There is nothing else to Islam. Islam is not a "personal religion" as Christianity is, according to Muslim jurist Sam Solomon. A Muslim's feelings or intellect matter not a whit in being justified before Allah. Allah is a sort of cosmic Yoda: "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."

Professor Bala Ambati, writing in Duke University's "Chronicle" newspaper, later echoed my point:
Religions are defined not only by ideals but by realities, not just by their deepest and most beautiful insights, but by their adherents' behavior. . . . When moderate Muslims state terrorist attacks are disconnected from Islam, they ignore the reality that Islamic fundamentalist imperialists act in the name of Islam and Muslims, claiming "true Islam's" mantle from conspicuously absent moderates. . . . Until the realization that theocracies cannot be democracies dawns throughout the Islamic world, saying terrorism is disconnected from Islam is a smokescreen employed to abdicate responsibility to face reality.
Unless the "moderates" can present a more compelling case to 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide on what they mean by true Islam, they will lose the ideological, hence behavioral, war. And right now they are losing.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sunni And Shiite British Imams Denounce ISIS Together

By Donald Sensing

Sunni And Shiite British Imams Denounce ISIS Together In New Video

This is welcome, but I do not put a lot of stock in its effectiveness for reasons I explained in "The unserious stance of "moderate" Muslims."

As I said then, the Quran's "verses of the sword" are later than the verses of peace, hence abrogate the earlier verses. The terrorists know this. And so do moderates. And that's one reason Islamists win the argument - 1,400 years of Muslim exegesis is on their side, not the moderates. The other reason they win, of course, is that they simply kill anyone who opposes them, including moderates.

Meanwhile, this is what Daesh (ISIS) is doing, and warning, it is stomach turning:

Islamic State terrorists have begun their promised killing of Christians in Mosul, and they have started with the children. According to a report via CNN, a Chaldean-American businessman has said that killings have started in Mosul and children's heads are being erected on poles in a city park.
Photos at the link. I have seen some gore in my life, but those are sickening.

Speaking of ISIS and these imams, it's worth remembering the words of just retired British Gen. Jonathan Shaw.
He believes that Isil can only be defeated by political and ideological means. Western air strikes in Iraq and Syria will, in his view, achieve nothing except temporary tactical success.

When it comes to waging that ideological struggle, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are pivotal. "The root problem is that those two countries are the only two countries in the world where Wahhabi Salafism is the state religion – and Isil is a violent expression of Wahabist Salafism," said Gen Shaw. ...

[The bombing campaign against ISIS is] "not addressing the fundamental problem of Wahhabi Salafism as a culture and a creed, which has got out of control and is still the ideological basis of Isil – and which will continue to exist even if we stop their advance in Iraq."
And yet history does show that German and Japanese ideology got changed pretty quick and permanently back in 1941-1945. But that is not like what we are doing against ISIS, not even remotely.

Gen. Shaw also makes clear the bloodstream of this rancid ideology is Saudi and Qatari money. And now even some Pakistani government ministers are starting to get it.

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Does House of Saud intend to destroy Mohammed’s tomb?

By Donald Sensing

It could happen: 
Saudi Arabia's proposal to destroy Prophet Mohammed’s tomb and move remains to anonymous grave risks new Muslim division

Al-Nabawi mosque around the tomb has been expanded by generations of Arabian rulers, particularly the Ottomans. It includes hand-painted calligraphy documenting details of the Prophet’s life and his family. Dr Alawi said the plans also call for these to be destroyed as well as the Green Dome which covers the Prophet’s tomb. The Prophet is venerated by both branches of Islam, Sunni and Shia. The strict Wahhabi sect is a branch of the Sunni faith, however, and removing the Prophet could further inflame tensions between the two groups. ... It was previously revealed how the multibillion-pound expansion of the Grand Mosque has, according to the Washington-based Gulf Institute, led to the destruction of up to 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings. They have been replaced with luxury  hotels, apartments and  shopping malls.
The decision is still pending. 


Mecca for the rich: Islam's holiest site 'turning into Vegas'
Over the past 10 years the holiest site in Islam has undergone a huge transformation, one that has divided opinion among Muslims all over the world. Once a dusty desert town struggling to cope with the ever-increasing number of pilgrims arriving for the annual Hajj, the city now soars above its surroundings with a glittering array of skyscrapers, shopping malls and luxury hotels.
Osama bin Laden's principal complaint was that the Saudi ruling family was utterly corrupted and apostate from "true" Islam. Hence, one of his goals was the downfall of the House of Saud and replacing it with faithful Muslim rulers. In his 1996 fatwa, bin Laden said of the House of Saud: 
The latest and the greatest of these aggressions, incurred by the Muslims since the death of the Prophet (Allah's blessing and salutations on him) is the occupation of the land of the two Holy Places - the foundation of the house of Islam, the place of the revelation, the source of the message and the place of the noble Ka'ba, the Qiblah of all Muslims - by the armies of the American Crusaders and their allies. . . .

From here, today we begin the work, talking and discussing the ways of correcting what had happened to the Islamic world in general, and the Land of the two Holy Places in particular. . . .

But the competition between influential [Saudi] princes for personal gains and interest had destroyed the country. Through its course of actions the regime has torn off its legitimacy:

(1) Suspension of the Islamic Shari'ah law and exchanging it with man made civil law. . . .

(2) The inability of the regime to protect the country, and allowing the enemy of the Ummah - the American crusader forces- to occupy the land for the longest of years. . . .
There followed a long list of grievances against the Saudi regime, particularly emphasizing its un-Islamic rule, the wealth-corruption of its princes and accusing it of being a puppet of the USA. 
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why you're a sap to save for college now

By Donald Sensing

The president's plan for "free" community college includes:
4. Tax Increase on Families Saving for College

Under current law, 529 plans work like Roth IRAs: you put money in, and the money grows tax-free for college. Distributions are tax-free provided they are to pay for college.

Under the Obama plan, earnings growth in a 529 plan would no longer be tax-free. Instead, earnings would face taxation upon withdrawal, even if the withdrawal is to pay for college. This was the law prior to 2001.
You can bet that if the Dems keep the White House in 2016 (and I have predicted all along that they will), then Roth IRA's will be next on the tax block. After all, the "free" community college plan includes provision for $320 billion in tax hikes, including this gem:
5. Tax Increases in Retirement Plans and a New Employer Mandate

There would be a new cap in the amount one could accumulate in the aggregate in all IRA and 401(k) type accounts of $3.4 million. After that, you can’t save any more new dollars. The idea is that this is enough to secure a $210,000 annual distribution in retirement, which the government apparently deems “enough” for a retiree.
So now the government thinks it knows what is "enough" for people to pay for retirement. What will happen to dollars accumulated by earnings above the $3.4 million level?

Oh, you know. "Fairness" will happen.

Forbes points out that the 529-plan tax increases will hit the middle class exclusively.
The levy in question would increase taxes on college savings accounts known as “529 plans” (after their section in the Internal Revenue Code). By definition, these accounts are really only used by middle class families. Poorer households don’t have the extra income to save (and even if they have a little, there are much higher priorities like retirement or saving for a home). Very wealthy families might use 529 plans, but it’s far more likely that they have complex trust arrangements set up for their children.

According to the Investment Company Institute (the trade association for the mutual fund industry), there was $245 billion accumulated in 529 plans in 2014. With just south of 12 million accounts open, that means there’s an average balance of about $21,000 in these plans. This is not a mechanism for rich Democrats like the Kennedys or the Gates to shelter wealth.

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Windows 10 to be a free upgrade

By Donald Sensing

Microsoft announced Wednesday that its new windows 10 operating system would be a free upgrade for users who are already using Windows 7 or 8.

A release date of Windows 10 has not yet been announced. The free upgrade will be valid only for the first year after the release.

The Windows 10 preview release date is today, as a matter of fact.
The biggest takeaway Microsoft is hoping to that Windows 10 is built on a single, common "core" (known internally as "OneCore") that will work across...phones, tablets, PCs...Perceptive Pixel...and ultimately, Xbox. ... In addition to the OS kernel, OneCore also includes the...DLLs, application platform layer and other pieces. ... Microsoft's pitch to developers:..they can target the same core environment with..."Universal" apps [which] will be available in a single store. 
This accords with MS's previously announced plan to converge one OS to work on all platforms, from desktop PCs to notebooks to tablets and phones. And that capability is what will likely make me abandon Android - which is getting long in the tooth - for all-MS-powered devices. For example:
Word, Excel and Powerpoint will come on all phones and small tablets
Microsoft demoed its 'universal' apps with new versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint for phones and tablets. It confirmed that each Office app will come as standard on all phones and 'small tablets'. There's also going to be a new universal Outlook app that will work across all devices.
Good idea.

A Catholic's summary of the State of the Union speech

By Donald Sensing

Seems pretty accurate.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Islamophobia watch. Oh, wait. . . .

By Donald Sensing

Italy: Muslims Destroy and Urinate on Virgin Mary Statue

Friday, January 9. A man was kneeling in prayer before the statue of the revered Madonna, with the photograph of a loved one in hand, in the small chapel of St. Barnabas in Perugia (Italy), when he was attacked by five “immigrants.”
The first thing they did was rip the photo from his hands.
Next they unleashed their hatred against the image of the Virgin Mary. They broke the statue to pieces and then urinated on it.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Winchester mystery

By Donald Sensing

A good question is why did the owner leave it? A new Model 1873 rifle cost $50 when it was first offered for sale; after a few years Winchester dropped the price to $25 (probably because of the release of a subsequent model).

That $50 was about two months wages (at least, and was probably more) for a cowboy, meaning that not many people had them. In 2013 dollars that comes to just over $1,000. Even at the $25 price, it was still the equivalent of several hundred today.

So why an owner 132 years ago would leave that rifle behind is a real poser. Easy answer is that he got killed and couldn't retrieve it, but we'll never know.

BTW, the list price of a brand new 1873 on is $1,300, meaning that Winchester has raised the price 20-30 percent since 1873. But they can be had new from dealers for $1,000 or less, so in reality, the price has not changed in 141 years.

Yes, I want one. But Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

An article on the Winchester site explains the mystery of this found gun.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Did Obama say to end multiculturalism?

By Donald Sensing

Obama: Europe should better integrate Muslims

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Friday urged European governments to try to better assimilate their Muslim minority populations as they respond to extremist attacks like last week’s shootings in Paris. 
What could "assimilate" mean if not to end the suicidal practice of multiculturalism? But this will be much harder for the French and other Europeans than Obama thinks:
This dilemma is compounded by Europe's hidden secret: The Europeans do not see Muslims from North Africa or Turkey as Europeans, nor do they intend to allow them to be Europeans. The European solution to their isolation is the concept of multiculturalism — on the surface a most liberal notion, and in practice, a movement for both cultural fragmentation and ghettoization. ...

But the dirty secret of multiculturalism was that its consequence was to perpetuate Muslim isolation. And it was not the intention of Muslims to become Europeans, even if they could. They came to make money, not become French. The shallowness of the European postwar values system thereby becomes the horror show that occurred in Paris last week.
Europeans have never conceived of their countries as "melting pots." They do not actually want the Muslims colonies on their soil to be "assimilated." And there is no reason to believe that Muslims in Europe want it, either. For sure the radicalized ones don't. And so another "bell the cat" suggestion from the US president.

Update: Whether Presiden Obama understood the implications of "assimilation," it is certain that Gov. Bobby Jindal does, and says so.

The unserious stance of "moderate" Muslims

By Donald Sensing

Tenn. Muslims condemn Paris massacre, stand for freedom

Paul Galloway is executive director for the American Center for Outreach, based in Nashville, which was established to bring the Muslim voice to the Tennessee political stage.
An open latter in response:

Fine words, but what, Mr. Galloway, are you and your fellow Muslims in Tennessee going to do about the ongoing violence of Islamists?

It's abundantly clear that verbal renunciations mean nothing to Daesh, al Qaeda, the Taliban and their ideological-religious allies. So you may shout your disapprovals from the tallest tower and they do not care. And because Muslims who want to kill me don't care what you say, why should I?

You wrote,
In reality, the [Charlie Hebdo] attack itself insulted the honor of Prophet Muhammad more than any speech or image attempting to mock or insult him ever could.
How, exactly, did it insult Mohammed? Muslim writer Tarek Fatah, writing in the Toronto Sun, wrote of his own imam who said in Friday'a assembly,
... that in reacting to insults we should take the example of Prophet Muhammad himself and follow in his footsteps.

The problem with that suggestion is that while there were indeed times when Prophet Muhammad forgave those who mocked him, there were others when he ordered them killed.
So did the Kouachi brother embarrass Mohammed, or did they emulate him? What do you base your answer on? Don't answer, "The Quran," because the Quran can be used to justify either answer - and according to the classical Muslim Quran exegete, Ismail ibn Kathir, the verses of the Quran that permit or command violence abrogate and supersede those that exhort forgiveness or mercy. In this he is joined by scholars Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Qatadah and As-Suddi and countless others, in fact, by every Muslim scholar and imam and ayatollah alive today.

This is the reason you are losing the argument with Muslims murderers: you and they alike know that the "verses of the sword" abrogate the verses of forgiveness or mercy. On this there has been universal Muslim agreement going all the way back to Mohammed himself.

So frankly, when "moderate" Muslims write of follow Mohammed's example of peaceableness or cite Sura 2.256, "Let there be no compulsion in religion . . .," they are engaging frankly in propaganda because all of those verses are superseded according to the Muslim doctrine of abrogation, followed by all Muslims everywhere, including yourself, which simply states that when verses in the Quran seem to contradict one another, the chronologically-later verses win.

The verses of the sword are later than the verses of peace. The terrorists know this. And so do moderates. And that's one reason Islamists win the argument - 1,400 years of Muslim exegesis is on their side, not yours. The other reason they win, of course, is that they simply kill anyone who opposes them, including moderates.

Then you wrote,
I'm also deeply frustrated that despite well over a decade of American Muslims, along with Islamic scholars around the world, publicly and consistently condemning all forms of terrorism, that people still don't seem to know where we stand.
We do know where you stand: NATO = No Action, Talk Only. After your decade of condemning terrorism, terrorists are stronger than ever. I do not blame you or your fellow Tennessee Muslims for the Paris attacks. Rather, I consider you and them irrelevant to the entire discussion. As I said, Muslim terrorists do not care what you think or say and in fact, they will kill you just as readily as anyone else. So why exactly should I heed your denunciations at all? Your disclaimers do not matter.

And now to your most ridiculous claim:
It is becoming increasingly clear that anti-Muslim bigots are the mirror image of Muslim terrorists.
This is where your op-ed revealed your voice as a decidedly unserious one. Tens of thousands of people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, have been murdered at the hands of Muslim extremists. Since 1950 millions of Arab Muslims have died at the hands of other Arab Muslims, though most of them for political reasons rather than religious. But Daesh, al Qaeda et. al. are doing their best to catch up.

Please, Mr. Galloway, identify the "anti-Muslim bigot" terrorist organizations that are killing Muslims as a matter of religious devotion. Please tell me how many Muslims and non-Muslims have died at their hands.

You wrote of the need to "undermine the forces that seek to divide us," then,
America, by virtue of our Constitution, our nation's legacy of religious freedom and our unique and inherent pluralism, all make us particularly well suited to this task.
Do you therefore agree that Islam should be subordinated to the secular nature of Constitutional government? Do you agree that sharia law can never be the supreme law of the land in the United States? Do you agree therefore that Islam in America does and shall always enjoy exactly the same rights, no more no less, than Methodism, Roman Catholicism, Mormonism or Judaism?

Words are cheap, Mr. Galloway, and another decade of bemoaning disclaimers will only cheapen them further still.


A Muslim writer explains the "the honor brigade, an organized campaign to silence debate on Islam."

"Defending Islam from free speech"

"Islamism choking freedom everywhere," by a Muslim author

"Charlie Hebdo attacks prove critics were right about Islam," by Vanderbilt Law Prof. Carol Swain, who has since come under the templated Leftist attacks routine for anyone who criticizes Islam.