Thursday, September 04, 2008

Freedom and Time

Not a lot of time to write today; while the God-given greatness of man is the fact that our language ever grows, that there are no limits to the number of signs we may create, with which to signify our freedom, time is precious.

So a quick few thoughts from around the web on those who would attack freedom by taking control of time:
Wolf Howling: The Left's Wars:
Over the past week, we have been witness to an uprecedented and concerted effort by the left to destroy Sarah Palin. The reason - she stands opposed to their dogma. There is little attempt being made to argue with her on her policies. The vast majority of what we are seeing are pure ad hominem attacks on her very legitimacy. I hope everyone is paying attention, because what we are witnessing is merely one manifestation of the progressive left's attitude towards freedom of speech and those with whom they disagree politically. Another, far more sinister and dangerous manifestation, is the repeated calls on the left from Obama on down to bring war crimes and other charges against the Bush administration should they get power. They have been quite open about it, and the latest to add his voice to this chorus is VP nominee Joe Biden.

This really is not a normal election. We stand at a cross-roads. The progressive left - which is represented by Obama and his coterie - would fundamentally remake America. Nothing is more indicative of the degree of change they would bring than the repeated calls to criminalize political differences, much as one would expect in an non-democratic regime. I have documented and commented on this in a post here.

Add to the chorus of calls today Joe Biden.

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden said yesterday that he and running mate Barack Obama could pursue criminal charges against the Bush administration if they are elected in November.

Biden's comments, first reported by ABC news, attracted little notice on a day dominated by the drama surrounding his Republican counterpart, Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

But his statements represent the Democrats' strongest vow so far this year to investigate alleged misdeeds committed during the Bush years.

"If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued," Biden said during a campaign event in Deerfield Beach, Florida, according to ABC.

"[N]ot out of vengeance, not out of retribution," he added, "out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no attorney general, no president -- no one is above the law."

Obama sounded a similar note in April, vowing that if elected, he would ask his attorney general to initiate a prompt review of Bush-era actions to distinguish between possible "genuine crimes" and "really bad policies". . . .

Read the entire article. This is very dangerous stuff. No one is above the law, true. But for Obama to indulge the base on their calls for show trials regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, Guantanamo, waterboarding and the like is a road taken at great peril. There is not a single thing the Bush administration has done that has not been fully briefed to both sides of the aisle. The decision to go to war was fully reviewed by the 9-11 Commission. What Obama and Biden are suggesting is unprecedented in American politics - but not in the politics of other nations.

This is why we meet every Thursday, in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library, 7-9pm, in front of Blenz Coffee. People who care about freedom need to get talking in public about how we are going to help each other defend and protect it.

Mohammad Azgar at Front Page notes:
Before the advent of Islam, the Pagans of the Arabian Peninsula prayed three times each day; about sunrise, at noon and about sunset, turning their faces towards the Ka’aba (Washington Irving, Mahomet & his Associates, p. 31). Muhammad retained this pagan ritual in Islam and, in some unguarded moments, he told his followers to pray twice, thrice or four times in a day. Since the norms to be followed while saying these prayers were well known to his followers, he did not mention them in the Qur’an. For want of clarity on the number of prayers that Muslims must offer everyday to Allah, Sunnis believe it to be five; Shias, by and large, consider it to be three (Dr. Rafiq Zakaria; Muhammad and the Quran, p. 74).

The Prophet of Islam, retained daily prayers in Islam for a specific reason: being militarily and economically weak, he needed to tell the Pagans of Mecca that the religion he was preaching was not drastically different from the one they themselves were practicing and, as such, they should accept it without resistance. He continued to follow his policy of appeasement even after his arrival in Medina, where the Jews vehemently opposed most of the precepts of his religion. In order to win them over, he changed the direction of the Muslim prayer from Ka’aba in Mecca to Jerusalem. When the Jews refused to budge, he expressed his mild displeasure by asking his followers to face Ka’aba at the time of saying their prayer.

The Muslim prayer achieved a new dimension, and importance as well, after Muslim rulers embarked upon conquering others’ lands. Once miserably poor and destitute, neo-Muslims from the desert of Arabia found themselves dazzled by the wealth and affluence of the countries they were able to conquer and plunder just a few years after the death of Muhammad. The fair and beautiful women of the conquered countries was another reason that induced them to fight valiantly against their foes.

Al-Baladhuri, the most judicious of the historians of the {Muslim} conquest, declares that in recruiting for the Syrian campaign Abu Bakr “wrote to the people of Makkah, al-Taif, al-Yaman and all the Arabs of Najd and al-Hijaz summoning them to a ‘holy war’ and arousing their desire for it and for the booty to be got from the Greeks {booty consisted of all things captured from the vanquished as well as their women}. Rustam, the Persian general who defended his country against the Arab invasion, made the following remark to the Muslim envoy: “I have learned that ye were forced to what ye are doing by nothing but the narrow means of livelihood and by poverty.” A verse in the Hamasah of abu-Tammam has put the case tersely:

No, not for Paradise didst thou the nomad life forsake;

Rather, I believe, it was thy yearning after bread and dates.

(Quoted from Phillip K. Hitti’s History of the Arabs, p. 144).

But as the time passed and the lust to procure more wealth and women became very acute in the soldiers of Allah, Muslim rulers became worried, and feared loss of control over them, if they took no action to check their overflowing passion. Finding a solution to their problem in prayer, they raised its number to five; prescribed recitation from the Qur’an as well as various movements and gestures in order to prevent their minds from thinking about the non-Muslims’ wealth and women for a number of hours of each day.

This was like the indoctrination that the dictators of our time have used to keep their military under control. Muslim rulers succeeded in their attempt and eventually, the daily five prayers became an integral part of the Muslims’ lives. In the hope of pleasing Allah, they not only waste a colossal amount of their valuable time, they also put off their important duties in order to perform their prayers, thereby greatly harming their own and their nations’ economic well being. The sooner Muslims realize this fact the better it would be for them as well as for the rest of the world.
Praise be NOT to Palin!

Via Blazing Cat Fur, a letter to the National Post:
As far as I can tell, there are two main differences between Canada's human rights inquisitions and the Inquisition that imposed religious orthodoxy over Spain way back when. In Spain, when you said something the authorities didn't cotton to your "intellectual betters" and didn't prolong the agony by making you wait a full 900 days before dealing with your case. Judgment was swift and precise --a fiery, public death at the stake.

In Canada, they don't actually set you on fire. Instead, they force you to endure the ignominy of a metaphorical burning that will likely endure until the end of your life. Look at what happened to Stephen Boisson, who until the day he dies can never again be heard to utter anything negative about homosexuality. If he does, there will, to borrow a phrase the Spanish thought police might have employed, be hell to pay.

On the whole, I'd say the Spanish system was a lot more humane.

Mindy G. Alter, Toronto.
AND: Don't miss the return of Undercover Mosque:

Three months after Dispatches: Undercover Mosque won a police apology and libel damages, Channel 4 has announced it is returning to the subject in Undercover Mosque: The Return.

Earlier this year West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service paid out a six-figure sum to Channel 4 and Undercover Mosque Hardcash, the independent producer responsible for the documentary, after falsely accusing the programme of misleading viewers.

The documentary, an undercover investigation into extremism in mainstream British mosques, featured preachers calling for homosexuals to be killed, espousing male supremacy, condemning non-Muslims and predicting jihad.

Last August, West Midlands police referred the critically acclaimed programme to media regulator Ofcom and, in conjunction with the CPS, issued a statement saying the words of three preachers featured had been "heavily edited" so their meaning was "completely distorted".

However, Ofcom cleared Channel 4 and Hardcash of any TV fakery and ruled they "dealt with the subject matter responsibly and in context".

The two companies subsequently launched their libel action.

It has now emerged that the same Hardcash production team have revisited the subject to "see whether extremist beliefs continue to be promoted in certain key British Muslim institutions".

In the new documentary, a female reporter attends prayer meetings at an important British mosque which claims to be dedicated to moderation and "dialogue with other faiths".

According to Channel 4, "she secretly films sermons given to the women-only congregation in which female preachers recite extremist and intolerant beliefs".

In one scene, as hundreds of women and some children come to pray, a preacher calls for adulterers, homosexuals, women who act like men and Muslim converts to other faiths to be killed, saying: "Kill him, kill him. You have to kill him, you understand. This is Islam."

Channel 4 also said that in the same mosque, "the reporter visits the bookshop and discovers books and DVDs still on sale, promoting extremist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic and intolerant messages".

The undercover reporter also "films inside a key Saudi-funded Muslim organisation, which claims to promote tolerance and integration yet distributes literature which promotes intolerance for non-Muslims, an extreme version of sharia law and teachings which support discrimination against women".
In addition, Undercover Mosque: The Return also "investigates the role of the Saudi Arabian religious establishment in spreading a hard-line, fundamentalist Islamic ideology in the UK - the very ideology the government claims to be tackling"
From The Guardian


Eowyn said...

Excellent scholarship, truepeers, and an even better grasp of shared principles. I particularly found the Islamic history fascinating, as it explains so much.

I apologize to you, Charles Henry and Dag that I've been rather AWOL here of late -- I've been in training for a new job since the beginning of August, and have since begun same, after having been unemployed since the beginning of the year. (Again, what you say about time is so apropos!)

But I don't value you all any less; indeed, time constraints give the pleasure of reading what you all have to say a sharper and clearer edge, and it's a cool thing :)

One of these days I'll dare to really delve into a thought, extemporaneously, without agreeing with/parroting others' views. And you'll have been the inspiration, of course :)

I do hope tonight's meeting was illuminating. In fact, I can confidently say it was, since I was there in spirit :)

Waving ~~

truepeers said...

Thanks eowyn; it's a great pleasure to have such a reader... I hope the job goes well.