One of the bloggers I admire is dicentra. In an e-mail a long time ago, she told me something that made me think quite hard. She said she didn’t care too much for books like those written by Stephen Emerson, Dr. Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer: exposes of Islam. She said she is familiar with biased books that tear down religious movements out of malice and full of lies, and so she feels a little wary of such books.
She has a point.
See, I am thrilled to read what Emerson, Pipes, Spencer, et al., have to write about the seedy side of Islam. But, to be perfectly frank, this is only half the picture.
In order to complete the picture, we must read books by authors like Mark Steyn, Oriana Fallaci, and Bat Yeor. While Emerson, Pipes, Spencer ,et al., write about Islamism, Steyn, Fallaci, Yeor, et al., indicate why and how all of this matters. The former great authors detail the War of Civilizations from where our enemy is coming from, while the latter show us why we have such a crucial stake in this War.
I am totally enthralled with Fallaci for this. She knew these people. She tried to warn us. She retired, exhausted, but came back with a vengeance after 9/11.
If you have to choose only one set, read Steyn, Fallaci, Yeor, et al. They will give enough information on Islamism but, importantly, they put it all in context. If you want more detail, go to the others.
And if you have to choose one author, it should be Oriana Fallaci. Read a little about her: why she came out of retirement, whom she scolded and why, and where she gets her knowledge from. She’s amazing.
On Saturday, I brought three books by Terry Pratchett from the local library. By Sunday night, I had finished two of them.
I’m glad the library has them, else I’d be spending a fortune to read his Discworld series. As I expected, it’s quite addictive! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time now.
This will be my new relaxing indulgence.
I had a coworker who had accepted Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code as gospel truth. This astonishes me to no end. But there you have it: some people are just that impressionable and stupid.
The heresies and lies of Dan Brown, especially as expressed in his magnum opus, The Da Vinci Code, have been refuted and exposed millennia ago. That is: thousands of years ago! But, again and again, they rise up, grip the minds and imaginations and follies of men, and lead them astray down dark paths of lies and untruths.
I find it especially frustrating because when these heresies and lies rise up, as they are periodically wont to do, they are considered to be new, to be rediscovered truths, to be an expose of established authorities (and, particularly, of the demonic or diabolical or evil foundations thereof). I believe I can tell how early Church leaders must have felt.
Anyone who has studied religion, and particularly Christianity, would recognize the recycled Gnostic claptrap that Brown parades around as fact. Whether today or a few centuries after the ascension of our Lord, no one with any serious background in Christianity takes the Gnostics seriously. They simply mixed in pre-Christian mysticism and myths with Christianity and added to it a dash of “exposing” the “real” origins and purposes of the authorities. But the whole Gnostic edifice was built on heresies and lies and even deliberate misinformation.
And it also astonishes me how, in the same line of thought and tendencies, people will grasp onto spurious texts, holding them to be more true than the commonly-accepted texts of the Gospel. They claim we support our texts because they support our agendas and purposes and desires and vain imaginings and plots, all the while evidently oblivious to the fact that this is precisely why they accept, support, or believe in the spurious texts they uphold. Indeed, we accept the traditional (and authoritative) canon of the Gospel because it has been taught to us as the truth, because we received it as authoritative and as true by those to whom the preservation of authority and truth has been entrusted by God Himself. I, for one, am not going to jump onto the bandwagon of some Sacred Feminine-embracing crackpot neo-Gnostic heretic.
What amuses me (or, rather, would amuse me were it not tragic at the same time) is that these heretics accuse the established authorities of what they do themselves. They accuse the established authorities of claiming a monopoly on truth, which is precisely what Gnosticism is about: they have the knowledge (“gnosis”) of the real truth, knowledge of which will lead one to salvation, ignorance of which will doom one to loss. They are, in this respect, no better than those whom they oppose. They also accuse the established authorities of hiding or suppressing the truth, while at the same time Gnostics quite gleefully hide the truth from the ignorant masses, taking delight in their superiority and in their status as the saved elite. They look down on the “sheeple”.
As I mentioned, the Gnostic heresies, with what contemporary modifications, reappear periodically. The only reason this resurgence has been as widespread as it has been has been because of groundwork the New Age movement established for the reception of such ideas. (Many ideas, practices, and teachings of the New Age movement(s) are themselves part of regularly recurring elements in the fringe of established religion.) The other reason has to do with the highly entertaining, gripping, and convincing setting in which one can find them through Dan Brown’s work.
He must be so proud of himself, a firebrand prophet against the millennia-old Gospel of Jesus Christ, when all he is, is a talented hack. I bet even serious Gnostics may be a little annoyed how no one listened to them but now, all of a sudden, are listening to the words of some fiction-writer.
Which reminds me of another fiction-writer (specifically, science fiction) who, on a bet or dare, created a psychiatric quasi-religious treatment method which is taken quite seriously by many.
[T]he idea that a small number of fanatics were driving the current major shifts in history was nonsense, perhaps they were responsible for terrorism but they are not the driving force behind the bigger strategic picture and shift in civilization’s evolution.
(Michael Cappi. A Never Ending War. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Trafford Publishing, pp. 9-10.)
In other words: we have more to worry about than just the terrorists.
Point the First:
The central problem of the democracy in Iraq is Islam. Islam has always had a political and social character, including a full program for government. In fact, the first year of the Islamic calendar does not mark the birth of dead of Muhammad, of the beginning of his prophetic ministry. It marks Muhammad’s flight from Mecca to Medina, where he became a political and military leader and Islam became a state.
(Robert Spencer. Religion of Peace? Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2007, p. 165.)
This is most forcefully demonstrated by the fact that after Muhammad’s flight, Muhammad revelations take on a vastly more political tone (almost to the point of legal minutiae) and a much more intolerant tone (as, being the indisputed leader, he no longer had to tolerate or appease anyone).
Point the Second:
And of course there is no shortage of people who insist that Islam not only does not forbid, but in fact also actively fosters democracy. Abdulwahab Alkebsi of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, for instance, has declared that the essentials of democracy are “consistent with Islam’s clarion call for justice, equality, and human dignity. . . . According to the Qur’an, one of the explicit purposes of God’s messengers is to offer mankind liberty, justice, and equality.” Islam, he said, “lays the ground for the values of freedom, justice, and equality that are essential to democracy, more so than any other religion or dogma.” [Reference omitted.]
Not only as much as any other religion or dogma, but more so. Can this really be true? Iranian journalist Amir Taheri thinks not. Arguing in favor of the proposition that Islam is incompatible with democracy during a debate in 2004, he directly contradicted the assertions D’Souza would make three years later: “There are fifty-seven nations in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Not one is yet a democracy. The more Islamic the regime in place the less democratic it is.” He concluded, “Islam is incompatible with democracy.” [Reference omitted]
(Robert Spencer. Religion of Peace? Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2007, p. 166.)
Subpoint the First, explaining Spencer’s reference to D’Souza:
So can Islamic countries be democratic? Some commentators think so. Dinesh D’Souza scolded conservatives in 2007 for “holding silly seminars on whether Islam is compatible with democracy. In reality, a majority of the world’s Muslims today live under democratic governments–in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Turkey, not to mention Muslims living in Western countries. There is nothing in the Koran or the Islamic tradition that forbids democracy.” [Reference omitted.]
(Robert Spencer. Religion of Peace? Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2007, p. 166.)
I am glad Spencer called D’Souza out. I am still absolutely confused why D’Souza would turn on us and support our enemies.
Point the Third:
The fundamental problem, according to Taheri, is Islam’s rejection of the idea that all people have equal dignity, a Christian idea that was central to abolishing slavery. But in Islam, it’s a very different story. The very idea of equality, Taheri declared, “is unacceptable to Islam.”
(Robert Spencer. Religion of Peace? Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2007, p. 166.)
Allow me to share an anecdote. Read the rest of this entry »
An annoying aspect of The Global Jihad is that the malevolence and true beliefs and aspirations and propaganda of its members are clearly and openly stated. All we have to do is translate their propaganda, which is not difficult.
But The West still listens to and believes primarily the propaganda issued by these entities to The West.
One can almost hear the mujahidin laughing, at how we are so easily fooled.
And so get their cake and eat it too: they get away with the most horrendous propaganda against us, they get away with openly and freely recruiting for The Global Jihad, and they get away with lulling us into a sense of security by fooling us with half-truths and falsehoods (which many among us — I’m not going to name names — accept as fact over what we accurately publish: better the lies of the enemy than the truths of the West?).
As such, one book at least tries to inform us about the people and groups against whom/which we are fighting: The Al Qaeda Reader by Raymond Ibrahim.
At least now we cannot say that we have not been warned.
Taqiyya: “To fear.” Based primarily on Koran 3:28 and 16:106, taqiyya is an Islamic doctrine allowing Muslims to dissemble their true beliefs when fearing persecution. Based on certain hadiths, some ulema expand the meaning of taqiyya to also permit general lying in order to advance any cause beneficial to Islam.
Raymond Ibrahim. The Al Qaeda Reader. New York: Broadway Books, 2007, p. xxi.
One man, who has been the source of so much insight into the Islamist paradigm, basically established and now runs a university. Like many Islamists, he has a public persona, which is quite unassuming, and a private one, which is quite conniving and manipulative for the sake of Islamist causes.
Like most Islamists (and many Muslims), he considers people not based on their race or ethnicity or national origins or nationality: he considers them based on their religion. This is quite consistent for many Muslims, and explains why until now Muslims (and the Muslim community, if one can speak of such a thing) have not been able to fully assimilate into the framework of America: they consider themselves as separate from the rest of the non-believers.
Now, taking this further, such Muslims also assign value and veracity based on such considerations. Thus, only the words, thoughts, ideas, plans, and theories of Muslims have merit, while those of the non-believers are without value. This is because everything has to be done for the glory of Allah (and, indirectly, for the glory of the Muslim community) and must be grounded on true principles. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, maybe “hate” is a strong word, stronger than I may mean. But the fact remains that I detest him, that Mr. Robert Spencer.
Quite simple. Every book I wanted to write, he has written. Every book he has written I would have written…if I were older and had thought of it first. Mr. Spencer has robbed me of my true vocation.
That said, he is an amazing author. Simply enthralling and extraordinary. He joins the small pantheon of modern Western authors who are priceless (examples of which are Steven Emerson, the late but most blessed Oriana Fallaci, Victor Davis Hanson, Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and Mark Steyn: and all but Drs. Pipes and Lewis are Christians).
Read him; read all his books.
(The pantheon of modern Western authors is necessarily small, as most modern authors are Occidentalist idiots, who all repeat or perpetuate the same anti-Western nonsense. And most of that nonsense is falsehoods and lies.)
It seems that Usama bin Ladin has a penchant for recommending books of Western authors (Chomsky comes to mind) in practically every broadcast to The West.
I think we should continue the O Book Club, except now “O” means “Osama” instead of “Oprah”.
Who do you think will be next?
Methinks perhaps a (relatively) massive but alarming tome by a certain formerly-known A. Schicklgruber, no? But O recommends books by living peoples (so they can reap the benefits of capitalism and Western civilization by condemning the same). Maybe a certain J. Prettyboy Edwards?
Or the Prophet Gorebot (upon whom be peace and verdancy)?
After all, UbL did mention *snicker* global warmening as a reason Bush is A Bad Boy Indeed, no?
I suggest: Tikkun l’Koreim. Beautiful works of art copies thereof are.
It seems that with his new book, The Enemy Within, Dinesh D’Souza has gone off his rocker.
Maybe now *I* can be the new brown enfant terrible of The Right!
Here is a post, inspired by what Robert Spencer wrote in The Truth about Muhammad, comparing justice, historically and currently, in Judaism to that in Islam.
In page 120 of his book, Spencer mentions a Hadīth. (From this point on, everything is my extrapolation.) Read the rest of this entry »
In his new book Jihad Incorporated, Steven Emerson provided what I consider to be a somewhat amusing endorsement of himself and his work. On page 13 of the section with pictures and documents, he provides transcriptions of three wiretap conversations between terrorists. In two of them, the terrorists mention Steven Emerson by name, cursing him and his work for disrupting their efforts.
So, yes, spreading awareness of jihad and its networks and sympathizers, whether in books or in articles or online, does make an impact.
Be not afraid: speak out.
I got a book recently: Landmarks of Jihad by Lt. Col. M. M. Qureshi, published by Sh. Muhammad Ashraf in Lahore, Pakistan. On the cover is a very interesting phrase: (الجنةَ تحت ظلال السيوف, al-jannata taHta Zilāli-s-suyūf, “Heaven is under the shadow of the swords”). Considering that the first word (ألجَنَّةَ, al-jannata) is in the definite accusative case instead of the definite nominative case, it must be part of a quote. It comes from a Hadīth: number 4681 of Sahīh al-Muslim (صحيح المسلم, SaHīH al-muslim), book 20 (The Book on Government), chapter 14 (In proof of the martyr’s attaining paradise) (emphasis added):
The tradition has been narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. Qais. He heard it from his father who, while facing the enemy, reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Surely, the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords. A man in a shabby condition got up and said; Abu Musa, did you hear the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say this? He said: Yes. (The narrator said): He returned to his friends and said: I greet you (a farewell greeting). Then he broke the sheath of his sword, threw it away, advanced with his (naked) sword towards the enemy and fought (them) with it until he was slain.
The book was written and published in 1970 and is dedicated to King Fahd bin ‛Abd al-‛Azīz Āl Sa‛ūd (who passed away some time ago and was succeeded by his brother ‛Abdullāh bin ‛Abd al-‛Azīz Āl Sa‛ūd, who was acting ruler during his brother’s ill health of many years). Regarding King Fahd, the author wrote (diacritics in the original):
Dār al-Islām is a territory whose inhabitants observe the law of Islam. As such, Saudi Arabia is the only substantial Dār al-Islām in the Muslim world of today and its Imām (head of State) the only competent authority who can iunvoke Jihād in terms of the Sunnī legal theory of Jihād. The present King is a person of sterling personal and princely virtues. He is exercising quiet, wise and progressive leadership in the World of Islam which is passing through manifold crises. As a token of recognition of these facts, I have ventured to dedicate this study of the landmarks of Jihād to His Majesty King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.
Should be an interesting book.
Another book I got was The Wisdom of Jihad by Abuhuraira Abdurrahman, published by Perniagaan Jahabersa in Malaysia. This is a stridently militant and Islamist book, promoting jihad and condemning Muslims who try to compromise the importance of jihad and its efforts. He is a Filipino and involved with Islamist organizations. He writes, on the back of this book, that he is involved with “Islamic missionary work since the year 1974.” This is quite a revealing admission: for a long time I have held that proselytizing efforts go hand in hand with Islamist efforts. Indeed, converting to Islam often also means becoming an active part of Islam’s political jihad against The West and promoting Islamism.
One thing I have noticed is that many foreigners have gone to Saudi Arabia for Islamic studies, people who usually turn out to be Islamist. This is not to say that everyone who attends a university in Saudi Arabia is an Islamist (although I can’t see how one can absorb and accept what’s taught there without becoming an Islamist).
Many people would like to read the Qur’an, especially as a way to understand Islam and Muslims. Anyone who embarks on such an endeavor will come to a realization that there are hundreds of different translations to choose from. Which one ought one to read? Read the rest of this entry »
I’m going to do something I rarely do: speak about a specific commenter. I mention a number of y’all, but I’ve never really posted about my thoughts about any specific commenter.
WickedPinto is unique. He has already made a name for himself on the internets, particularly on the Ace of Spades HQ. Some people like his comments, others ignore then, and yet others seem to dislike them. WickedPinto is very forthright and direct. He says what he means and means what he says. There’s a frankness and integrity to him that I find refreshing.
And although he doesn’t have a doctorate, like many aware, street-smart, and book-smart people, he is quite insightful, thought-provoking, and sound.
I don’t agree with everything he says, but I always want to hear his opinion anyway. Especially when things are so confusing, his views are excellent to bring one’s focus on what matters.
I hope this will also convince others to speak up: your thoughts are always welcome. I enjoy hearing what other people think. It’s nice to “hear” voices other than those in my head. 😉
That said, I think his recent comment deserves to be posted here. (I love it that all comments get emailed to me! By the way, this is how you can all be sure I read every single comment made.) This is a good explanation of why we fight, why we must fight, why we must continue onwards no matter what. Plus, it’s quite entertaining as well. (I’m going to have to read the series he mentions. They’re by David Eddings. WickedPinto refers to The Belgariad and The Malloreon. I have been aware that Eddings is a popular author but have yet to get these series. Of his books I have only read The Elder Gods of The Dreamer series.)
Theres a series of books, I forget the name of the author off the top of my head, but he wrote a series titled “the belgariad,” and “the malloreon” I think were the names of the respective trillogies. Anyways, in that series of fantasy books, there is this one hardened old soldier who was always negative about a battle before they went into battle, or establlished defenses. Talking about how “the siege of (name of fantasy city) lasted 12 years! and at the end it took 20 to rebuild the city” only to turn around and establish defense of a city thinking it was gonna take 20 years to fight off the siege. (this is all useless info, I’m just trying to say that this character was the classic bitchy serviceman, who complained constantly while still doing his job superbly)
There is one point in one of the books where there is this peace loving nation, that has no idea of how to fight a war, never fought a war and didn’t understand why they were now at war. The old soldier guy says “well it’s not a war until you defend yourselves, if you want peace, just let them in and don’t fight them, you will have your peace, but it won’t look like this one” or something to that affect. Later the main character asked him if he thought he was serious and the old soldier says “absolutely! the first battle of a war is always the fault of the defender” Then a bunch of long stories about other nations, and some philosophical thing following, and closing out with another question by the main character of “if thats so why you still in the war business?” (all of this is paraphrased, and memory) to which this guy who has been a soldier for decades, and the old soldier says “I hate war, and I hate battle, but I got into this because I loved my home”
I don’t know what I mean by that, but it serves the purpose of relating to this speaking of “peace” with the UN and French voice. To me anyways.
We just heard CNN question why Israel is doing this while Condoleezza Rice was urging diplomacy and an international mediation was underway. No government ought to negotiate with terrorists, including Israel. The terrorists had 67 hours to return Cpl. Shalit before any action was taken, and the Israelis don’t leave men behind.
After reading The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East by Abraham Rabinovich and Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Michael B. Oren, this point becomes very, very clear.
The Israeli Armed Forces do not leave their men behind. The only time they do so is when they most absolutely must. The Israeli Armed Forces have sacrificed men to retrieve those stranded. This emphasis on having Shalit returned alive – and going to war over it – is nothing out of the ordinary.