Defeating as-Sadr, defeating Iran

November 25, 2006 at 3:00 am (Arabic, Blogs, Cold War II, Culture, History, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Islamism, Lebanon, Middle East, Military, Persian, The United States, US Government, War)

(Inspired by “Disenfranchising Moqtada al-Sadr the easy way” by geoff of Uncommon Misconceptions.)

We should have taken out Muqtada as-Sadr (سيد مقتدى الصدر, sayyid muqtadā aS-Sadr; titled: حجة الإسلام, Hujjat al-islām, meaning “proof or expert on Islam,” meaning he’s a middle-ranking Shiite cleric).

Within Iraq, one may say that there are two prominent factions: the activists, under as-Sadr, and the quietists, under Grand Ayatollah as-Sistani (السيد علي الحسيني السيستاني, as-sayyid ‛alī al-Hussaynī as-sīstānī; titled: آية الله العظمى, āyatullāh al-‛uZmā, meaning “Great Āyatullāh,” referring to the senior-most level of Shiite clerics).

After a period of time, the activist Shiites, who are organized in political parties and militias, gained control of and prominence in Iraqi politics. As-Sadr is certainly a person to consider. He’s no small fry. But one needs to also see why he seeks this attention. Read the rest of this entry »


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Isaac Schrödinger: please help an ally of The West

November 6, 2006 at 5:42 am (Arabic, Blogs, Islam, Islamism, Middle East, Pakistan, Persian, Personal, South Asia, The West, War)

I composed a post, then had a realization, and am now rewriting it. To be upfront: I am asking my readers – those who are willing and who can – to kindly consider making a donation to Isaac Schrödinger‘s defense fund.

(To make a donation, go to Isaac Schrödinger‘s blog, Isaac Schrödinger, and click on thew PayPal link on to upper right.)

(To learn more about Isaac Schrödinger and his case, read his detailed post “Fear and Loathing in The Land of the Pure”. As a point of reference, “The Land of the Pure” refers to the translation of “Pakistan” (پاکستان, pākistān): (پاک, pāk, Persian for “pure”) and (اِستان, istān, Persian suffix meaning “land” or “region”).)

Before I launch into a long lecture as to why I think his cause is so important, I wanted to say that I realized that it would have been ridiculous to ask my kind readers to do something if I were not prepared to step up to the same challenge. I have done my part, and now I ask that if you can, please consider making a donation to Isaac Schrödinger‘s defense fund. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jihad and Islamism

October 14, 2006 at 12:47 am (Arabic, Islam, Islamism, Military, Persian, Personal, The United States, The West, War)

When I came back from Pakistan, I brought with me a number of books regarding jihad, most of them in Urdu. Almost all of these books discuss jihad in terms of (قتال في سبيل الله, qitāl fi sabīlillāh, “fighting/battling in the path of God”). So, obviously, my focus for some time will be on this aspect of jihad.

The reason I do this is to inform myself and others about what is being written and taught concerning jihad. We hear so much propaganda from both sides – some saying jihad is not violent and we will excommunicate you if you disagree, others saying jihad is always violent and we will kill you if you disagree – so I think it’s important to be aware of what they’re saying to each other in each other’s language. You will notice that what they write in Urdu, for example, does not correspond with what will commonly be found in English. I’d like to bridge that gap – provide in English some of what is being written in other languages.

Having said that, I do not want to ignore nor would I want others to ignore the jihad that goes by the name of “Islamism.” It’s not always violent, true, but it is just as insidious and disastrous as jihad with the sword (جهاد بالسيف, jihād bi-s-sayf, “jihad with the sword”). Considering what I have said about jihad, some might think it a bit harsh to claim that Islamism is jihad, but this is the fact of how things are. Rather than fighting the infidels and wayward Muslims with swords or bullets, these (مجاهدين, mujāhidīn, “jihad-fighters”) fight with persuasive arguments, lies, misrepresentations, propaganda, psychological manipulation, and so forth. Their goal is the same as those with swords and guns: the supremacy of Islam, The West’s surrender to Islam (even if by granting it special privileges and desisting from criticism), tne uniformity of Islam, and the ackowledgement of Islam’s superiority. Note that their jihad will harm nominal Muslims as much as non-Muslims. Islamism is behind such vigilante forces as Saudi Arabia’s (مطوعين, muTawwa‛īn) and Iran’s (بسيجي, basījī): they seek the obedience of all Muslims, by choice or by compulsion.

When the mujāhidīn with swords swept through Christian Asia, they did not convert the masses. The mujāhidīn with soft tongues and promises of advancement, the eloquent preachers and teachers of this new religion of conquerors and warriors – they converted the masses, turning the people away from The West to face Mecca.

I feel no shame in saying that I stand as firmly against jihad with the sword as jihad through Islamism. Both are a threat to The West and must be resisted. And the beginning of resistance is understanding. Knowledge is power, which is why they keep us in the dark.

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“Fear and Loathing”: read about Isaac Schrödinger’s situation

September 27, 2006 at 12:35 pm (Blogs, Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Persian, Personal)

I encourage you to read what Isaac Schrödinger has written about his situation: “Fear and Loathing in The Land of the Pure”. (Possible translation into Urdu: پاک سرزمین میں ڈر اور نفرت , pāk sarzamīn maiN Darr awr nafrat.)

Note: “The Land of the Pure” refers to Pakistan, which name comes from Persian: (پاک, pāk, “pure”) and (إستان, istān, “land”), giving us (پاکستان, pākistān, “Pakistan”), “the Land of the Pure” or “the Pure Land”. The latter is a very common ending to indicate the land of something, such as Hindūstān, Turkmenistān, Uzbekistān, and so on.

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Random language lesson: “Christian” in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu

September 16, 2006 at 5:51 pm (Arabic, Christianity, Islam, Languages, Persian)

There are a number of ways to say the word “Christian” in Muslims languages (Arabic, Persian, Urdu as examples – all of which borrow their respective terms from Arabic). There are three prominent words, two of which are considered Muslim and one which Muslims and Christians use. There is another which is rarely used by either Muslims or Christians. Read the rest of this entry »

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Irani Propaganda

August 23, 2006 at 1:37 am (Arabic, Iran, Islamism, Israel, Judaism, Languages, Middle East, Persian, The Media)

Christopher Taylor alerted me to two Irani websites. Let us take a look tonight at Irani propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran: deceiving us or scared?

August 16, 2006 at 4:30 pm (Blogs, Iran, Islamism, Languages, Persian, The Media)

Captain’s Quarters informs us (“Iran Agrees To Discuss Nuclear Halt” by Captain Ed) that Iran has backed down on its insistence on continuing its nuclear development, saying it is willing to negotiate (where before it insisted there could be and would be no negotiations). Especially after Hezbollah’s pyrrhic victory, this may be seen as a sign that Iran thinks it lost in the Israeli-Arab War or that it needs to soften its stance in face of a strong or assertive West. I would disagree with such an assessment.

Such tactics are quite routine for rogue states like Iran and North Korea: they make inflammatory remarks and then ever so often signal willingness to negotiate or back down. It’s part of their campaign to confuse us (with all this blustering, we either misread their true intentions and beliefs or are at a total loss as to what their true intentions and beliefs are).

What I would like to know is what words Iran is using in Farsi to announce this shift in policy. What they say in English and what they say in Farsi can be quite different.

This is just my guess, though, for what it’s worth.

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August 8, 2006 at 11:18 am (Arabic, Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Persian, Religion, Religions, South Asia, Theology)

Near where I am staying in Karachi, there is an Ahmadi jamatkhana (Urdu and Persian: جماعت خانہ, jamaat-khaanah, “gathering-building”). If one passes by it, one cannot guess this immediately. This jamatkhana is in a home – although I don’t know if the whole home is a jamatkhana or just a few rooms in it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quick note on 2 Arab boys killed in Nazareth by Hezbollah

July 22, 2006 at 6:38 pm (Arabic, Islamism, Israel, Languages, Middle East, Persian)

According to “Nasrallah: Children killed in Nazareth – shahids” (no author given) by Ynetnews, the leader of Hezbollāh1, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah2, said that he apologized for the deaths of the two Palestinian boys who were killed when a Hezbollāh Katyusha rocket hit Nazareth3. He also said that he considered them to be martyrs4 for Palestine. How convenient of his paradigm. However, from what I understand, a martyr usually choses his/her martyrdom rather than having it imposed on him/her, as is the case here.

For all the world’s concern for Palestinians/Arabs and their suffering, the world’s silence on this tragedy is quite deafening.

Notes (these were fun!):
1. Arabic/Persian: حزب اللہ; hezbollāh (Persian) or ḥizbullāh (Arabic); “the Army of God”

2. Arabic/Persian: شیخ حسّن نصر اللہ; shaykh hassan nasrollāh (Persian) or shaykh ḥassan naṣrullāh (Arabic); “nasrollāh/naṣrullāh” means “the help or victory of/from God”

3. Arabic: انّاصرۃ; an-nāṣirah (Arabic), an-nāsirah (Persian, et cetera); Hebrew: נצרת; natzerat (Sephardi) or natzeras (Ashkenazi); English: Nazareth

4. Literally shaheeds:
Arabic/Persian/et cetera singular: شھید; shahīd; literally, “witness,” often used to mean “martyr” in the sense of a witness for the faith

Arabic dual: شھیدان (nominative; rare), shahīdān; شھیدین (oblique; usual), shahīdayn; “two witnesses/martyrs”

Arabic plural: شھداء; shuhadā’ (Arabic), shohadā (Persian); “witnesses/martyrs”

Update: replaced regular haa’ with taa’ marbootah in the Arabic for Nazareth.

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Wishing harm and invocations

July 9, 2006 at 3:15 pm (Arabic, Blogs, Culture, Hebrew, Islam, Judaism, Languages, Pakistan, Persian, Personal, Religion, Religions, South Asia, The West)

This is as a result of reading this post approving harm (Heaven forfend) upon Jeff Goldstein by tony robbins.

One of the things that disturbs me about insults and violence-tinged comments and wishes is that I have inherited a somewhat superstitious attitude towards words written and spoken. South Asian Muslims are very careful to add some qualifier when discussing something negative that has not happened. In Urdu, we use “khudaa nakhaasta” or “khudaa nakhwaasta” (Persian, literally “may God not desire (it)). Jews use “chas v’shalom”. In English, “God/Heaven forbid” is often used. (I personally like “Heaven forfend.” It sounds quaint.) Of course, the best thing is to avoid such talk all together. Read the rest of this entry »

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South Asian Muslims and saying “Good Bye”

June 14, 2006 at 4:00 am (Arabic, Islam, Islamism, Languages, Persian, South Asia)

Who would have ever thought that saying “Good bye!” could have political, theological, religious, spiritual, or sectarian implications? But this is so particularly among South Asian Muslims (Muslims from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh) and this has to do with the variety of Muslim communities found throughout the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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