Thursday, November 18, 2010

POST ONE: HOW MUCH PROOF DO YOU NEED?



This first post is dedicated to the memory of former Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl, who was brutally murdered by Islamic fanatics. Please visit http://danielpearl.org/ to contribute your efforts toward peace, healing and remembering Mr. Pearl.



Islam in general, and Palestinians in particular, interpreted the birth of Israel as the West laughing at them.

We were laughing loudly, they still think and intimate, pointing our fingers at the Arab world in ridicule, revealing the nudity of ignorance in the Mideast.

The Islamic world's popular myth is that because Western civilization arrived with accomplishments in science, philosophy, technology, weaponry, culture, literature and -- above all -- respect, it was a cover for some toxic evil injurious to them.


In any reformation of Islam, this is the first notion that must go. Islamic myths must be thrown out because they're dangerous, and have served to retard the intellectual identity of Arabs since 1948. Such myths about the evils of modernity have worked against Islamic peoples repeatedly and harshly.

In any reformation of Islam, this notion of the democratic world mocking Islam has to be erased because it's a lie. We do not breathe and eat and write our histories to insult Islam. The modern world is likely to criticize Islam because Islam needs criticism. Cartoons and jokes are an outgrowth of how much of the world sees today's Islam.

The West -- much of the world -- is tired of apologizing to Islam. It's time for serious change in Islam.

Frankly, the world is growing tired of drying Islamic tears, changing the diapers of the forsaken, over and over and over and over and over again, decade after decade after decade after decade forevermore...

Islam's campaign against Israel is tagged and treated as a religious dispute. In reality, it's a set of land disputes that could be solved if Islam grew up, arrived at the negotiating tables like mature negotiators.

The world wants Islam to move away from the 7th Century and give the 21st Century a try. It would be an honest start to meaningful negotiations between Islam and the modern world.


September 13, 2010
Lurene Gisee


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"WE'LL BEGIN WITH A REIGN OF TERROR..." POSTING 2


The Invisible Man, the 1933 movie by Universal, was based on 1897 book by H.G. Wells. This photo of film's lead character I found at http://www.Flixter.com


ISLAM NEEDS REFORM, #2
By Lurene Gisee
September 19, 2010



Getting back to today’s subject, Islam needs reformation right now. Tomorrow won’t do. Islam’s reformation must be engineered by the world’s smarter Moslems who want to break free of the ruthless and irrational domination of shariah’s laws.

Today’s Islam operates in one way: it smashes the creative initiative of millions. It survives on rumor, paranoia and despotism.

That is all. There are no liberal democracies in Islam. There are a few less-oppressive authoritarian states where one can make a life by being invisible, however.

The modern world cannot construct a better legal, social and financial architecture for Islam. Unless there is reformation from the inside, Islam will lay contentedly forever with despotism.

We in the modern world are not seeing things as they are. We’ve let political correctness become a semi-legitimate compass point. We want to make excuses for Islam’s failures. We allow ourselves to BE the excuse for Islam’s failure.


Speaking of not seeing, I was getting past this last September 11, 2010 – the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center -- by distracting myself, watching an old movie. It was The Invisible Man, a film made in 1933 by Universal.

In the film, based on the book written by H.G. Wells, a scientist concocts a radical chemical mixture that causes complete invisibility. But the mixture has a terrible side effect. It makes the poor scientist hungry for an unlimited power. It’s a typical horror film.

My favorite area of the film is when The Invisible Man reveals his shocking ideas to his former friend. Here’s his speech:

“Suddenly, I realized the power I held. The power to rule, to make the world grovel at my feet…We’ll begin with a reign of terror. A few murders here and there. Murders of great men, murders of little men, just to show we make no distinction. We might even wreck a train or two. Just these fingers around a signalman’s throat…”


For me, it’s a caricature of what we face today with Islam. Even this brief likening might get me wiped off the map, of course, if recent news headlines are any guide.

In fact, that’s one of the major problems with Islam. It’s the religion that can’t take a joke.

Islam can’t tolerate open media, free speech.

You can tell a strong-arm Moslem by the way he or she discusses the week’s news – and it’s all he or she discusses. It’s all about how the media was or was not fair to Islam.

Cartoons, satires and criticism are loaded weapons to Islam. Remember Salman Rushdie? If you’re a writer or journalist or cartoonist, you have no seat in the Islamic theater. Remember Daniel Pearl? Kurt Westergaard? Lars Vilks? Theo Van Gogh? Molly Norris?

We don’t want a suspicious society like this. It’s hard to live this way, always in distrust of the one next to you.

I want the security of treating everyone with bland disinterest– no matter what their accent or color. This is not possible in Islam.

Moslems feign the African-American history of oppression in the United States when it suits them, or whatever ethnic costumery advantageous for the short-term. Some seem to crave arrival in the U.S. just to sue for discrimination.

It’s never made sense to me. What are they calling it in England these days? Libel Tourism? I can’t help thinking of John Milton: “Better to Reign in Hell than Serve in Heaven.”


This is what comes to my mind when I hear the word “Islamophobic” in the U.S. The whole notion of Islamophobia smells prefabricated.

It’s a bad idea to begin discriminating randomly – and there are genuine cases.

However, we should start looking at Islam far more closely than we have. We need to examine Islam’s attitude toward Free Speech in particular. There’s no right to Free Speech in Islam. In the next section, I want to examine the right to free expression in Islam.

September 19, 2010
Lurene Gisee


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WHY FREEDOMS NOT CATCHING ON YET FOR ISLAM. POSTING 3




Image of Giles Corey being crushed to death by rocks September 19, 1692 at Salem Witch Trials. Others were hanged. Rock execution image can be found at Lane Memorial Library site at http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/biog/pooroldgoodycole.htm

Photo of Three Stooges from The Alaska Standard website, photo from early 1930s, Columbia films.



Once again, Islam needs reformation. You should have no doubt this is necessary immediately for the sake of Islam’s modern populations. The world outside can’t do this for Islam in a meaningful way.

Let’s start with The American First Amendment, what it is not and what it is. Islam does not allow the concepts therein. Islam has a hard time with liberal ideas in general. We could use examples other than the American First Amendment, but let’s stick with that for the sake of argument.


Sometimes, when trying to imagine Islam with respect to The First Amendment, I feel I am watching an old episode of The Three Stooges with Larry, Curly and Moe. With Islam, I imagine, Larry is Freedom of Religion, Curly is Freedom of Speech, and Moe is the Right to Peacefully Assemble to Petition Government for a Redress of Grievances.

Using this imaginary scene, it’s easy to see why freedoms are not catching on for Islam yet.

Each freedom is poking the other in the eye, knocking the next senseless, or pushing neighbors down the nearest stairwell. This isn’t too far from the truth, if you ask me,

Using this imagery to think, in fact, I kind of feel sorry for Islamic populations. They have plenty to pray, complain and gather about, but they just can’t get a break from one another. They keep blaming the rest of the world, but they have themselves to blame over and over and over again.

On that same note, incidentally, Islamic academics and students are increasingly, in 2010, trying to change the history of free expression, as the West understands and learns it. I was shocked when seeing the entry for Wikipedia here, where you should examine the footnotes and references quite closely. Notice the paper noted in #13:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech#Origins_and_academic_freedom

Seems history is being rewritten a bit, no?

So, regarding the American rights to free expression, the First Amendment considers not just public media, but also other means by which people tend to express themselves. That is, through protest and religion. This goes back considerably in Amercian history, well before the founding of the U.S.

I poked around the colonial writers of the American east. I found the 1702 work of Cotton Mather, who was then living in a society which practiced slavery and burned accused witches. He is today known, among other things, for supporting the Salem Witch Trials.

In one of his works, "Wonders of the Invisible World," which was published in 1693, he supported the trials, attended and recorded them. Here is one section of his writing from the scene:

"The Court being sensible, that the Testimonies of the Parties Bewitched use to have a Room among the Suspicions or Presumptions, brought in against one Indicted for Witchcraft, there were now heard the Testimonies of several Persons, who were most notoriously Bewitched, and every day Tortured by Invisible Hands, and these now all charged the Spectres of G. B. to have a share in their Torments. At the Examination of this G. B. the Bewitched People were grievously harassed with Preternatural Mischiefs, which could not possibly be Dissembled; and they still ascribed it unto the Endeavours of G. B. to kill them..." http://etext.lib.virginia.edu

I use this small section only to show that Mr. Mather was not what we could call a progressive man back then, or today. He thinks he is describing works of evil spirits, the devil. In the world he walked, there was enough freedom of speech to let him write the above buffoonery, but it was not solid enough a right to protect the accused. Who believes evil witches, anyway?

Many of the accused were hanged, one guy crushed to death by the weight of large rocks. He refused to confess to a crime.

The reason I bring this up is, first, such societies almost never encourage freedom of expression. They are ready to believe rumors and conspiracy theories, as was Mr. Mather. We today tend to view him and his paranoid neighbors, though, as products of the late 1600s. Mather was one of the more intelligent writers of the day, mind you. At least two in the Mather family were students at Harvard and Yale, as the colleges existed then.

Second, backward as they were in these witchhunts, Mr. Mather shocked me by criticizing Islam, as he then perceived it:

"Having arrived thus far, I will here make a Pause, and acknowledge the shine of Heaven on our Parts of the Earth, and in the Improvements of our modern Philosophy.

To render us the more sensible hereof, we will propose a few Points of the Mahometan Philosophy, or Secrets reveal'd unto Mahomet, which none of his Followers, who cover so much of the Earth at this Day, may dare to question.

The Winds; 'tis an Angel moving his Wings that raises them...The thick-skull'd Prophet sets another Angel at work for Earthquakes; he is to hold so many Ropes tied unto every Quarter of the Globe: and if a City, or Mountain, or Tower, is to be overturned, then he tugs harder at the Pulley...

May our Devotion exceed the Mahometan as much as our Philosophy!"


(Colonial American Writing, edited by Roy Harvey Pearce, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, June of 1964.)


I don't want to make too, too much of these passages, because they are from a relatively unenlightened age. It was before the founding of the U.S., before the Civil War, before the end of slavery. Battles with Indian tribes were still common.

However, Mather here is satirizing Islam. He seemed to understand he was discussing something far outside his realm. He calls Islam here a philosophy, not, in this quote, a religion, per se.

My point is that, even then, at least some observers did not think they were observing a mere religion with Islam, and said so without hesitation. It was something outside religion to some in the 1600s.

How is it Mather, without even our First Amendment yet, felt comfortable in writing this while, in 2010, the world's Moslems fear such speech within their own societies? Such freedom of expression would likely get them killed within Islam and their actions against one another remind us of this constantly.

Here in the United States, I've met many from Islamic countries who have left Islam, but still fear it highly. Now outside the grip of Islam, they display some of the most violent hatred of it that one will ever see of any ideology in the United States.

It's a larger hatred of religion than many of us understand. It's the hatred of former Moslems for Islam. I am almost more afraid of the rebels than I am of the multitudes of terrorists; the rebels won't hide forever. Today's Islamic apologists will eventually have to face them in some respect.

Given free expression, I want to include more documentation from Islam's rebels. I know, Free Speech does not cure all ills, but we can continue the discussion.

By Lurene Gisee
October 2, 2010

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POST 4: ISLAMIC REFORM, MAD SAM, AND THOMAS PAINE




"The Night Bivouac of the Napolean Army during Retreat from Russia, 1812"

Oil on Canvas, Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia. Painting by Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin, 1896-1897.



Let’s start with a pop quiz: Israelis and Palestinians will make the most progress toward a lasting peace settlement by adopting which of these three options:

1 – Continue talks, but outside, naked, in Fargo, North Dakota this January;
2 – Continue talks, but about the rising price of gold last year in Burkina Faso;
3 - Discontinue talks until the Palestinians accept Israel’s right to exist. [Answer at end.]



Islam needs reformation immediately for the sake of Islam’s populations. The world outside Islam can’t do this for them. This is the main theory of these writings.

Free expression within Islam would be a tremendous step in the right direction, many of those outside Islam might say in 2010. I used to think it was a matter of teaching the populations of Islam the basics of free speech.

Now, however, I think Islam's movers and shakers understand free speech quite well because they so often use it -- misuse it, actually -- as a kind of modeling clay. With this ideological clay, Islamic radicals, activists and terrorists seem increasingly able to maintain their own oppressions, justify them.

Notice events in Iran in this first week of November, 2010. The despotic government there was afraid of rebellion inside the country, so arrested people without charge as a preventive measure. Don’t laugh yet; Iran’s just getting started.

A November 4, 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal by Farnaz Fassihi reported “400 more people would be arrested and ‘paraded’ in the coming days to set an example for anyone planning social unrest."

A spokesman out of Tehran said some would be "charged with 'moharebeh' or 'war against God,' a charge that carries the death penalty and is typically handed out to political dissidents,” according to Fassihi's article, which was filed from Beirut.

While reading the article, I found myself laughing. Who does God have as his attorney? What is this attorney’s hourly rate? Does he actually have an office in Tehran?


LET'S CELEBRATE RACISM AND DESPOTISM!

But wait! The Yemeni-proposed 2011 “commemoration” of the first UN anti-racism conference in 2001 South Africa would be another stage for Iranian nonsense.

The original 2001 event, which ended just days before the attacks of September 11, 2001, was a hate festival against Israel. The next affair would, theoretically, spiritually host the usual dictators like Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Libya’s Ghaddafi and Syria’s Assad to fill us in with the usual slanderous, anti-Semitic vomit. They always make these parties.

(Oh, don’t miss the first-grade numerology of these involved dates. The World Trade Center in New York was attacked September 11, 2001. The proposed date for this “commemoration” is September 21, 2011 at the United Nations, which would also make it conveniently located next to the proposed Cordoba Mosque, scheduled for opening in late 2011. Many in the media announce the mosque has a planned opening for September 11, 2011, but I can’t confirm this intention. I don’t need to, however. I trust you’re getting the point by now.)


IT GETS FUNNIER WITH EACH PASSING DAY

With news like this, I've often thought that Islamic despots have no appreciation of power's limits. Like previous dictatorial systems, Islam seems likely to burn itself out by growing overconfident about itself.

Such systems fly high for some period of time, and then eventually run into the brick wall of reality.

This is what happened to Napoleon Bonaparte when he tried invading Russia in 1812. The image of the painting above is a fair depiction of events, from what I've read. Napoleon thought he could do anything he liked because he kept getting away with stunts in Europe, starting with the French Revolution in 1789.

Then, entering Russia, he eventually had to admit that his troops had basically starved to death, froze, thus were defeated and humiliated and killed in the foolish pursuit of more world authority.

Is this not what we increasingly see developing with Islam? Think of the recent calls by Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki for Moslems the world over to kill Americans and others, to not bother seeking Islamic approval now. Just kill who you like. Forget the silly laws and pointless moral contemplations. Just kill.

It's not that his words shock us, because they do not. It's more the realization that this is what today's Moslems are forced to acknowledge, defend and live alongside each day whether they like it or not.

Many Islamic activists want to call Americans Islamophobic for protesting Awlaki and the likes of him. Fact is, individuals in the United States and Europe are becoming increasingly insensitive to such accusations; we all hate hate, but at this point, there's little left to negotiate. We're on high alert all the time, having our genital areas checked for explosives at airports. We're starting not to care what Islam thinks of us anymore. Things are likely to go down from here.


THE COMING NEGOTIATIONS; GETTING UNSTUCK

With all this being the case, I had to pause in the last two weeks with this draft essay. I had a nightmare of Islamic armies freezing and starving in the sub-zero temperatures of Moscow. They have been, decade after decade, using methods which leave all sides uselessly heroic and ideologically homeless.

Regarding negotiations involving Islam, I discovered there's something else I want to say and write, though most will disagree as we close 2010. Here it is:

Israelis should demand that the Islamic world accept their existence before any further negotiations.

Jews should not sit at the same table with negotiators who deny Israel exists as a nation and that Jews exist as a moral, modern people.

There is no legitimate peace process when the other side does not even accept Israel. Until Islam accepts Israel, these negotiations need to end. They can start again under acceptable terms.

I do not think this stance will necessarily produce a peace agreement next year, but it will force the involved parties to consider new, more practical positions.

It will also encourage the world’s peoples to quit portraying Jews as eternal victims, beggars and recalcitrants. This image of Jews was never true, and it remains untrue. Yes, Jews were the victims of multiple crimes throughout history and remain so, absolutely. But the word “victim” has been twisted against them in too many ways, to their disadvantage.

I always hesitate to use this word, “victim”, today, anyway. I prefer the word “target” in most debates. I admit, it’s a difficult issue altogether, but the word has diplomatically worn itself out.

This constant use of the term “victim” isn’t doing much for Palestinians, either, but day after day, we see states like Iran encouraging this portrayal and this image of Arabs in and around Jerusalem. In fact, this ongoing language satisfies outsiders, but does nothing for Palestinians.

Having offered that, I suspect Palestine, and Islam, in 2010 is making at least some of the same mistakes Napoleon did in 1812, so to speak; they are not seeing what they will not and can not win.

I get this impression when I think of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. It's possible, but extremely unwise, for U.S. Moslems to continue making their political point in New York City just because they have the cement and the permits.


WHAT IS FREE SPEECH, ANYWAY?

Here they are once again yelling FIRE in the world’s theaters and calling it legal because it’s not the Supreme Court’s crowded theater as defined originally by Justices Holmes and Brandeis.

In other words, Islam’s activists leave the impression that they are trying to get away with whatever is legally possible, but not what makes sense. Review 2010 antics of some Islamic leaders at the United Nations. They do not seem to understand the underlying philosophies of free expression.

Where do you go to gain some understanding of free expression? One place would be in the writings of John Stuart Mill, his 1859 book, On Liberty. (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859, London, any local library, or on internet.)

Here are some of my notes from Mill’s work:

“In the part [of behavior] which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute.”

Mill said this philosophy only applies to adults. Not kids or backward states of society. People would find it difficult to get this sort of writing published in 2010, by the way. Somehow, we have increasing social restrictions today in the U.S. and Europe. Mill got really wild, as some more of the following quotes show.

“Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement and the means justified by actually effecting that end.”

“Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion.”

[Mill mentions Akbar, Emporer of India from 1542 to 1605, and Charlemagne/Charlemagne/Charlemagne – 742 to 814 – also known as Charles the Great, and/or Carolus magnus. Important to Western European history. Invader. Of course, both good and bad features with Charlemagne, by standards of 2010. Must be studied with reasonable caution. -- Lurene]

“…until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience to an Akbar or Charlemagne, if they are so fortunate to find one.”

But for educated peoples, Mill proposes, liberty is necessary. Absolutely.

“The real advantage which truth has consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it…”

“Persons of genius are, ex vi termini, more individual than other people – less capable, consequently, of fitting themselves, without hurtful compression, into any of the small number of molds which society provides in order to save its members the trouble of forming their own character.”

If they constrain themselves, Mill says, society loses genius. If they rebel, they’re tagged as erratics, wilds, in need of societal control. Regular minds can’t possibly see original, genius minds.

Mill’s definition of public opinion: “…they are always a mass, that is to say, collective mediocrity.”

Lack of eccentricity in society is “the chief danger of the time.”

“The greater part of the world has, properly speaking, no history, because the despotism of Custom is complete. This is the case over the whole East. Custom is there, in all things, the final appeal; justice and right mean conformity to custom; the argument of custom no one, unless some tyrant intoxicated with power, thinks of resisting.”

Why? Because there is no individuality, Mill said. No allowance of singularity. Change okay en mass, ONLY.

He makes China an example, though Mill is not demeaning the Chinese. He is using China as example of societies in East.

Truth is served, ultimately and continuously, by refuting the error let in through free expression.

The state easily over-reaches, interferes with individuality. This is part of what Mill wrote. He was wild for his day. Thomas Paine, in comparison, seemed nearly insane.


THOMAS PAINE AND RELIGION…OR IS THIS COMEDY?


Notes on Thomas Paine, 1737 – 1809, from World Book Encyclopedia, 2003 at library

While in a French prison, Paine worked on AGE OF REASON, about 1793.

“I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.”

He disagreed with many, accepted church teachings. “His unorthodox views made him one of the most hated men of his time.” Today, the location of his grave, in England, is unknown. He was an American revolutionary.

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY, 1967, LIBRARY

Thomas Paine published COMMON SENSE in January of 1776. This argued for American independence, and avoiding European entanglements. Attacked hereditary aristocracy.

Confounded-mingled, blended, confused. Said government and society were distinct entities, should never be confounded. This theory also developed by JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, later WILLIAM GODWIN.

In France's Luxembourg Prison, he says all those scheduled for execution were with cell doors marked with a number. He argued that divine providence protected him by causing his jailor to place the fatal number by mistake on inside of door.

This is a lesser-known, but funny story from French revolution, what happened to Paine. I saw story like this on old television show ONE STEP BEYOND....

Quotes from Paine’s work, THE AGE OF REASON, 1794:

The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. Date of his introduction is January 27, 1794.

“The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall. Your affectionate friend and fellow citizen, THOMAS PAINE.”

Comments regarding Paine by Alburey Castell in New York, 1948:

Paine was in France in 1789 as French Revolution got underway. He was, from 1789 to 1792, with moderate leaders of French Revolution.

Comments by Lurene: However many bows we take today to the French Revolution, France was not the place to be in 1792 or 1793. By the start of ’92, the revolution passed to extremists. Paine opposed them, was arrested by December of 1793. He was marked for prison, execution. The AGE OF REASON, Part I, was published while Paine was in prison for ten months. His work was “more widely read than any similar writing published during the last quarter of the eighteenth century,” according to Castell’s 1948 remarks.

Note by Lurene: For anyone proposing dramatic change in a human system, expect the worst treatment, tortures, slander, financial failures, disappointment, and betrayals. Expect, like Paine, to be buried in an unmarked grave, IF THAT EVEN.

Islam’s revels and reformers must understand this. There is no easy way to free speech and expression and revolution. Even as an American, I would not tell a friend in today’s Mideast that there are rewards around the bend. I would tell him the truth.

Paine is writing to “my fellow citizens of all nations.” So, does that mean the resident of today’s dictatorial Islam is included? In 2010, we’re all unsure how to answer the question.

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

Paine does not condemn those who believe otherwise, and was not an atheist.

Paine writes he does not believe any religion has a unique path to God. Moses, angel, divine inspiration. “…for my own part I disbelieve them all,” Paine wrote.

From Lurene: I hear and have heard various swipes at religion over the years. Christian Arabs swipe at Moslem Arabs in Jerusalem, Jews at other Jews, Christians at other Christians atheists and agnostics at them all. You have idea by the time you finish junior high school in the United States that derogatory remarks about religion are propitious to speech in general, as long as some intuitive, reasonable restraint is observed by those involved.

But Islam has its greatest difficulties here, and we know this because it is in the news each week; only with today’s Islam do I feel I might make a cartoon that will get me killed.

Paine mentions heathen myths as more likely author of the Jesus story. It was nothing new, he wrote from a revolutionary France, on his way to prison. The story of Jesus “sprang out of the tail of the heathen mythology.”

Yet, he does not take issue with “the real character of Jesus Christ.” He found virtue and amity in this. He said there were similar notions in Greece and China, and tells reader that Jesus did not write a word of his own life story.

In other words, Jesus was a man of his day. This is what many Jews will say from the streets of Jerusalem; Jesus lived, but was a normal man. Christianity and its history, however, is another subject.

Paine wrote things that were amazing for his day and time. He said the story of Jesus “has every mark of fraud and imposition stamped upon the face of it.”

The Jews were there. But in the Jesus story, Paine reminded us, "Christians are saying, in effect, ‘I will prove the truth of what I have told you by producing the people who say it is false.’”

I could continue quoting Thomas Paine, but the larger point is that Paine was one of the American founders. I like reading him today because he is funny, though there are other reasons to read him.


WHY NOT AN ACCEPTABLE NEUTRALITY, AT LEAST?

Why can’t those in Islam enjoy a similar freedom of neutrality or doubt or common disinterest? Because Islam chokes such questions from the time they arise. Humor and self- reflection is what Islam lacked in the days of Paine and still lacks. A man like Paine would not have survived Islam.


WHY I AM NOT A MUSLIM by Ibn Warraq, 1995, Prometheus Books.

Warraq draws on article by Bernard Lewis titled, “Islam and Liberal Democracy.” It appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, February of 1993.

Islam is hard to trust in speech of any variety. You never know motives of the Islamic speaker. It may work to Islam’s advantage, but it’s incompatible with free speech. – lurene’s note, but check out against other notes.

Ibn Warraq, in his book, Why I am Not a Muslim, writes on page 352:

“We notice the double standards inherent in all such Muslim demands. While the Muslims feel free to insult Christianity, they themselves go into paroxysms of rage and violence at the slightest hint of criticism of Islam, which must be ‘accepted uncritically as divine revelation by non-Muslims, and that this must be reflected in the structure and conduct of the state, and of society.”

Warraq is quoting Dr. Zaki Badawi, former director of Islamic Center of London, as well as Hiskett. [Just quote Warraq directly.]

Pg. 354, Warraq writes:

“Multiculturalists are incapable of critical thought, and in a deep sense are more racist than the racists they claim to fight. Instead of fighting injustice wherever it occurs, they turn a blind eye if it is black-on-black violence or Muslim-on-Muslim barbarity.” Pg. 355

Pg. 174, Warraq

Article 19 of UN Charter reads, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of the frontiers.”

Pg. 174-175

Comments. 1. The rights enshrined in articles 18 and 19 have been consistently violated in Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. In all three countries, the rights of their Bahai, Ahmadi, and Shia minorities, respectively, have been denied. All three countries justify their actions by reference to sharia.

Pg. 170: Warraq

“The continuing influence of the ulama is the major factor [in] why there has been so little intellectual progress in muslim societies, why critical thought has not developed. Throughout Islamic history, but especially in recent times, the ulama have actively hindered attempts to introduce the idea of human rights, freedom, individualism, and liberal democracy.”

He mentions Iran, Sudan, Pakistan.

“The principles enshrined in the Koran are inimical to moral progress.” Pg 171, last sentence here...


ISLAM'S FRIENDS IN AMERICAN HISTORY

A good way to amplify this point is in the discussion of SAM DESTEFANO, a.k.a., MAD SAM. This information following about Mad Sam is from page 88 of THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME, Library, Ref HV 6441.D48

You can also cite Abdullah Catli, Dawood Ibrahim, who masterminded 1993 Mumbai (Bombay) bombings in India.

Back to Mad Sam Destefano, pg. 88, Encyclopedia of Organized Crime, he was already convicted of rape in Chicago when he was 18, and that was in 1927.

Juice Loan – Old slang word of Chicago mob. Otherwise known as a loan shark. In making Juice Loans, Mad Sam would use violence to obtain repayment. This was Mad Sam’s choice of occupation by the 1960s. He was too unstable for the Chicago Mafia, but they liked him for his violent tendencies.

He had torture tools in his basement. Used ice pick to stab victims in throat, testicles, torso. Either to get money, or as “play” before murdering victim.

This personality type important to modern terrorists in Islam, in Mexico drug gangs and in the Chicago Mafia discussed here.

“Mad Sam was one of the most deranged, sick, notorious, and feared hit men in the history of the Chicago mafia,” according to the Encyclopedia of Organized Crime.

Mad Sam had a wife, three kids and a sound-proof basement. Reminds me of guys in Islamic states who have outfits for their terror work, and outfits for their respectable work as salesmen.

Artie Adler was a local restaurant owner late paying loan to Mad Sam. They were Juice Payments, to use the lingo then in effect. Mad Sam attacked Adler with an ice pick, Adler had a heart attack, died at the scene. Mad Sam dumped Adler’s body in a near sewer. His body was found during the seasonal thaw because it was backing up sewers, so it was the nearby Department of Sanitation that discovered Adler.

That’s not all. Peter Capelletti tried to run off with $25,000 he owed. Caught, brought to Mario DeStefano’s restaurant in Cicero. Stripped naked, handcuffed to boiling radiator, beaten and tortured by Sam for 3 days.

Mario’s whole family shows up for dinner, gets multicourse Italian meal. But Mario not there. Then, after meal done, the naked, burned Mario thrown at feet of his mom.

“According to different stories, De Stefano forced Cappelletti’s family to urinate on him or did it himself in front of them,” according to Encyclopedia of Organized Crime.

It got worse. Hit of Leo Foreman. Foreman worked for Mad Sam. They had an argument.

After using tricks to get Foreman to a meeting with Mad Sam, Mad Sam severely tied up Foreman, beat him in the Mad Sam basement, was beaten on his knees with a hammer and on the head, ribs and crotch. Sam then stabbed him with ice pick 20 times, shot repeatedly in butt, then tortured to death with butcher knife. Then, took turns excising chunks of flesh from Foreman’s arms.

My question: Did Mad Sam babysit kids in Iran or Pakistan? Sure seems like it today. Point is, Islam's reformers need to see themselves as they are by reading about the Chicago mob's days of blood.


IT WILL CHANGE BECAUSE IT MUST

Today was a jolting day, given the latest attempted threats/attempts to get explosives by airplane into Chicago by what authorities are calling Yemeni individuals. Yet, it was typical of life in 2010. I think of it as radical Islam’s interpretation of Free Speech in America.

In other words, nearly each week now, we are hearing FIRE being yelled in the crowded theaters of American and European life. I can’t help feeling someone is setting us up to soon suppress speech for this reason.

For fans of American Free Speech, the phrase “fire in a crowded theater” is attributed to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes. He wrote that free speech could not easily or lightly be suppressed, except in cases where the time, place and circumstance had to be considered. In other words, you can, by law, say nearly anything you like in the United States, but if you want to create panic in a crowd, the law is allowed to recognize that you’re outside the bounds of what’s considered free speech.

Both Justice Holmes and Justice Brandeis wrote on these issues. Here is what Brandeis wrote in a concurrence in 1927’s Whitney vs. California decision:

"Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of free speech to free men from bondage of irrational fears. . . Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. . . "


There is no end to examples of what befalls societies which do not have guarantees of free expression, or have contortions made to that right.

I like looking back at Soviet history sometimes, and find the 20th Party Congress speech by Nikita Khrushchev a profound lesson even today.

Khrushchev was releasing some serious and long-needed truth about Josef Stalin, but at same time, was mischaracterizing Lenin as a far-greater hero of the people than he actually was. We're likely to see this with Iran and other Islamic states before we see complete reform.

THE COLD WAR ENCYCLOPEDIA, Thomas Parrish, 1996, Henry Holt Reference Book:

“In all the so-called confessions of mine there is not one letter written by me with the exception of my signatures under the protocols which were forced from me. I have made my confession under pressure from the investigative judge who from the time of my arrest tormented me. After that I began to write all this nonsense.

The most important thing for me is to tell the court, the party and Stalin that I am not guilty. I have never been guilty of any conspiracy.

I will die believing in the truth of party policy as I have believed in it during my whole life.”

From speech of February 2, 1940, before Soviet court, of Soviet Comrade Eikhe, arrested April 29, 1938. On February 4, 1940, Eikhe shot.

This all came out in Secret Speech by Khrushchev at 20th Party Congress, February 25, 1956. Khrushchev himself was forced to resign in 1964? Died in 1971. pg. 170


LENIN, STALIN AND HITLER; THE AGE OF SOCIAL CATASTROPHE; by Robert Gellately, 2007, a Borzoi Book, Published by Alfred A. Knopf; Random House


Pg. 43, “Stamping Out Civil Liberties.”

Oct. 27, 1917, Lenin signs a “decree on the press.” Closes the press to the middle class, or bourgeoisie. Trotsky also favored this. They put “the cause” before civil and legal rights.

The peasants were a vast body with many interests. Not a single interest group, as Lenin wanted them perceived. “…the workers, the working and exploited masses.” Pg. 47#

This is still the case in leftist rhetoric. – lurene

Nov. 4, 2010 notes on same book:

“The myth of the ‘good Lenin’ – the savior – was built into the political culture of the Soviet Union from the start, and Stalin shrewdly played it to his own political advantage. Lenin was actually merciless and cruel. Even the inner circle of the Bolsheviks shuddered at his ferocity and the executions he ordered without any compunction. We should understand the figure of the “good Lenin” as a political instrument, meant to inspire followers at home and abroad.” Pg 9

REMEMBER: at home and abroad. We’re looking at the same/similar with 2010 Islam, with young Moslems cheering for leaders who are strangers, leaders who use criminality routinely. – lurene

Stalin had little direction until he followed Lenin. -- Pg. 9


MYTHS IMPORTANT IN ALL DICTATORSHIPS

All states, societies, actually, need their myths, but like the Soviets, Islam is highly reliant on myth.

People like myths because myths make it easier to think, in an abstract sense.

Also, suppression of basic information about reality, as in today’s Iran, like yesterday's Soviet Union.

Getting back to the Cold War and Stalin, I felt tremendous empathy for Eikhe, but it's important to remember that Nikita Khruschchev’s 1956 speech in Russia laid the new myth that Lenin was the good guy, and Stalin the Soviet monster. It's difficult to find those from Islam who are brave enough to give other realities a try, but they are there.


MEHDI MAKRAZ, OCTOBER 7, 2010

(Next to him were campus Christians, said he knew of Islam’s one-belief world.)

Mehdi Makraz from Morocco, at college square on campus. Young and popular with others around him. Many waves by passers-by on campus. People liked him. He set up a table with a poster. I asked him what he was about. He wanted change inside the Islamic world.

“If you want to be the change, you got to embrace and accept, because acceptance is love.”

Other philosophies, ideologies have to be accepted.

“Spirituality embraces all religions of the world.”

“I think I am in peace, and I will live in peace.”

“There are many paths to the same goal."

I asked him if he would accept a religion nearby him where people prayed to, instead of a god, a universal mind of the past, present and future. He said he would. I asked him about war, his beliefs regarding aggression.

The main question was whether he would fight for his beliefs, if seriously forced to do so.

“I will defend myself,” he said, while emphasizing he would not wish to be in such a position, or help create it.

I asked him about terrorism. “Terrorism is ignorance,” he said. He said Islam was asking for “blind faith.”

He quit observing Ramadan one day back in Africa. He risked jail by doing so. He was kicked out of house by parents for a week. He could have been in jail for six months.

“I’ve been punched in the face many times” for saying 'I am God.'"

He believes “god is not upstairs.” He thinks belief is an internal choice, a personal issue. He still observes Islamic holidays to some extent, he said.

I actually trusted him more because of this last statement, about still observing Islamic holiday. He seemed more “real” to me at that moment. I could relate to this.

Many Christians in U.S. never, never go to church, but celebrate Christmas, will say they believe in God if asked seriously. They would rather be considered Christian than atheistic or agnostic or outside Christianity. But are they very observant? No.

Many Muslims take Americans to be far more religious than they actually are. I observed this during NY mosque debate. Muslim leader trying to say that Christians and Jews were welcome to visit new Cordoba mosque. He seems to picture New Yorkers streaming in for afternoon prayers or something.

I think it was based on misunderstanding of American culture, certainly of New York's Wall Street area.


2010 AMERICANS ARE NOT WHAT THEY WERE IN 1920S

Americans do not typically have religious concerns to extent they did in 1920s. Overall, they perceive Islam as a philosophy that’s far more dogmatic than is possible for American life.

For Americans and many outside America, Islam's a philosophy that addresses far more than spirituality. Moscovites would probably feel even more this way.

So, Islamic apologists and devotees too often misunderstand their detractors as having an Israeli or American or European interest at heart. In reality, it's both inside and outside the bounds of nationality or religion, in most respects. As Britains Tony Blair has intimated, it's a problem of Islam's overall narrative, and where Islam's story collides with the modern world over and over and over again.


OXFORD HISTORY OF ISLAM, 1999, LIBRARY REFERENCE DESK

Chapter 3

Islamic law originates from 2 sources. Divine revelation, wahy, and human reason, aql. This is the dual identity of Islamic law.

Shariah bears more identity with revelation. Fiqh mainly a product of human reason.

Shariah from Koran, from Mohammad, or the Sunna. Fiqh doesn’t have same authority in Islam, is “speculative.”

The specific rules of the Koran and the Sunna, collectively known as the nusus, are core of Shariah. But Shariah wider concept than figh.

You would need to know Arabic to truly understand Islamic law. Also, the competing interpretations almost the most important factor.

A lot of reinterpretations happening, constantly.

LAW AND SOCIETY, Pg. 128, last paragraph, for insight into legal irrationality. Huge sway given to law vs. intention. [This is nearly impossible to fit with most western law, from day to day.]

Temporary marriage is part of Shi’ite law. Mutah. Sunni law prohibits, so it gets difficult to speak of a single shariah lawbook.

Financial laws very tricky. Pg. 131. Debtors, etc. Use the ISLAMIC ENCYCLOPEDIA next time, as well. #


Egyptian Islamic writer Sayyid Qutb, 1848-1950, writings translated by John Calvert. This passage from TERRORISM. A DOCUMENTARY AND REFERENCE GUIDE, Vincent Burns and Kate Dempsey Peterson, Greenwood Press, 2005

He was hanged in 1966. thus, martyr to Islamic cause. Influenced Osama bin Laden.

Needless to say, no Islamic or Egyptian Freedom of Speech protected him. I read these old words in an American library in 2010.

He joined Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1950s. In 1954, Nasser arrested and tortured him. Arrested again, hanged. Qutb’s writings from his visit to U.S. 1948-1950. #


It is far more complex than this. You do not hear nearly enough in these wind-swept discussions about Islam vs. Israel/America/Europe of other systems -- of China or Russia or India or Central and South America.

In fact, even more importantly, you are not hearing enough debate within Islam of Islam.

I said in the closing area of my previous post that I fear Islam’s rebels more than nearly anything.

Why? After all, I know as much as you do about any supposed rebellion against Islam by its interior rebel groups.

I say this because I presume any system of philosophy, religion or government that keeps its members in chains to it is bound to produce desperation, to manufacture rebels.

At best, such an oppressive, restrictive regime will, with increasing rapidity, produce a large number of Dred Scotts.

At worst, we'll see a new Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge, or whatever dictatorial and genocidal regime that you like for the sake of this theoretical discussion. If you want to use Stalin and Soviets or Hitler and Nazis or some other figure or regime, fine.

The important point is that Islam’s malcontents will not, stay in hiding forever.

Any system of government that does not take people as they truly are is doomed to fail. Islam does not take people as they truly are.

We had our Civil War, which speaks, somewhat, to what eventually happens to those promoting any sort of slavery as a permanet economic and governmental system.

The opponents of slavery eventually rise and kill, force the upholders of slavery to kill in their own self defence whether they like slavery or not.

But why do I liken modern Islam to the upholders of slavery as they once were in the United States, and Islam’s nascent movement of rebellion and reform to both our old desegregationists and the Khmer Rouge?

Because both things are possible. A mix of these two extremes is possible, too.

It is quite likely we’ll see some movement gather force and come to fruition somewhere in the Mideast. Maybe Iran, maybe Egypt. I do not know. Nobody does. But Islam needs reformation.

That reformation, if it is to be moderately peaceful and gain real credibility, can't be initiated by the West. #

[ANSWER: Number 3]


by Lurene Gisee
November 18, 2010
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