Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Reading with Liberal Big Brother: When Preference Becomes Prejudice
clear

by Martin Cloutier (May 2013)


Recently, I was talking with a colleague who claimed to be ashamed at the lack of gender parity in his personal reading choices. “I ran my reading numbers and found them embarrassingly skewed,” he said. “And fixing that required a conscious effort: making new lists, buying differently, and reorganizing my To Read Next shelves.” This is a sentiment I find echoed by many other writers and professors, yet, in spite of the speakers’ good intentions, it never fails to send a chill up my spine.  more>>>

clear
Posted on 04/30/2013 8:40 AM by NER
clear
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Orwell, Huxley and the Emerging Totalitarianism
clear

by Emmet Scott (May 2013)


George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, two of England’s foremost literary figures of the last century, each wrote a compelling description of a future dystopia, both of them nightmare visions of society totally under the control of a ruling clique whose only purpose is the enjoyment of power. In Orwell’s 1984 the ruling tyrant is named Big Brother and is clearly modelled on Stalin, whilst in Huxley’s Brave New World the ruler is known as the Director, a character somewhat less sinister and brutal than Orwell’s Big Brother. The two books are of course very different. Brave New World is a black comedy, which does actually make us laugh, whereas there is absolutely nothing funny about 1984. Nonetheless, there are similarities between the two, and both men can be said to have accurately predicted certain specific features of the world we now inhabit.  more>>>

clear
Posted on 04/30/2013 8:35 AM by NER
clear
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Of Owls and Richard the Third: Part 1
clear

by Theodore Dalrymple (May 2013)


Not long ago at a conference I was asked whether I thought that boredom was an important cause of bad, and worse than bad, behaviour. I said that I thought that it probably was, though I could not positively prove it. At any rate, those who behave badly often claim to do so because they are bored, and no one claims to behave well because he is bored.  more>>>

clear
Posted on 04/30/2013 8:30 AM by NER
clear
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Dershowitz "Smacks Down" New York Jerusalem Post Conference Audience
clear

Source:  Alan Dershowitz

Sunday in Manhattan there was a Jerusalem Post Policy conference.  There was a panel debating the topic of Two States for Two People.  Harvard Law Professor was in top form demonstrating why he has about reached his limit.  Read the Jerusalem Post report ,"Dershowitz presents plan to restart peace talks", about a truculent audience rejecting his views and according to fellow panelist and senior JP columnist Caroline Glick saying:

Following laughter from the audience, Dershowitz lashed out, saying that "It's so easy to laugh but I have to tell you the audience today is not helpful in resolving complex and serious issues," which lead to loud jeers and boos.
The bestselling author was booed loudly after telling audience members that they are "part of the problem" for laughing at his new framework for negotiations.
"You're proving my point,? Dershowitz hit back, adding, "You are part of the problem, not the solution."
The Post's Senior Contributing Editor Caroline Glick, who was also on the panel, told the audience that she "Need[ed] to catch my breath for a second," after Dershowitz's comments. "It's very nice to come in here and smack down your audience," she intoned.
Dershowitz, she told the audience, is "nasty to those who disagree" with him.
"If you want to say that people who devote their lives to defending the Jewish state are illegitimate voices then why should I care what you have to say," she asked Dershowitz.
Towards the end of the debate, Dershowitz alleged that those who booed him and former prime minister Ehud Olmert were not representative of American or Israeli Jewry and are "foolish." He said he would defend his "right to tell you what I think of you and it's not much."

And why were the JP conference audience  laughing at Dershowitz?

Harvard law professor and prominent American Zionist Alan Dershowitz presented a new plan to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians on Sunday at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York.
It would be a terrible mistake to begin talks based on the 1967 lines, Dershowitz said during a panel discussion on the topic of two states for two peoples. "That puts the Kotel in the hands of the PA at the start of negotiations," Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz told the audience that he had spoken with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and suggested that a new basis for negotiations be agreed upon in which construction would continue in the settlement blocs but not in any areas in which there is "reasonable disagreement."
Abbas signed a paper with Dershowitz that he would agree to such a move if the Israeli side would as well, Dershowitz stated.
Afterwards, the best-selling author asked Strategic Affairs Minister and co-panelist Yuval Steinitz if the Netanyahu administration would support negotiations conducted on such a basis and conducted in "good faith" with a "tripartite settlement freeze" that would "avoid the problem of what happened last time when [the Palestinians] didn't do a darn thing."
After Steinitz panned the idea, former National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Dr. Uzi Arad, told Dershowitz that he advised against such a move because "one does not take unilateral decisions of any kind" and especially not "unilateral concessions."
Reciprocity is necessary in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Arad said.
"Among the things I asked Abbas," Dershowitz later replied, adding that he agreed that reciprocity is necessary, was that "if this deal were made [Abbas] would agree not to bring cases before the International Criminal Court. His answer was 'that's a serious question and I'm going to give it serious consideration.'"

How arrogant and presumptuous for Dershowitz to negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas, when he has no authority to do so.  Dersh has worn out his welcome with most Israelis  with this faux diplomatese dallying with the corrupt billionaires and Holocaust deniers of PLO/Fatah.   Dershowitz  ranting  about people who disagree with him by calling  them foolish and accusing  them of being part of the problem is ultimate chutzpah. It is time for egomaniac Dershowitz  to exit  stage left, permanently when it comes to being the best US liberal voice in support of Israel.   By this antic exercise at the JP Conference  is Dershowitz channeling British Prime Minister fresh off the plane at London's Croydon Airport  from the Munich conference in 1938 waving his scarp of paper with Herr Schickelgruber's signature saying that  he bought  peace in our time by feeding Czechoslovakia to the Nazi crocodile? Ms.  Glick's retort was spot on. Dershowitz appears to be feeding Israel to the crocodiles in Ramallah. Neither Israelis nor many American are buying his line and perhaps that of his friends in the West Wing or Secretary of State Kerry.

clear
Posted on 04/30/2013 12:26 AM by Jerry Gordon
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Muslim Extolls Virtues of American Law for American Courts in Miami Herald
clear

    

Florida Senate President                       Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz

Don Gaetz, Pro ALAC?                            Voted for ALAC in Florida

Father                                                           Son

This is the final week of the Florida legislative session in Tallahassee. The Florida version of American Law for American Courts SB58 is bottled up in the Senate Rules Committee, a sort of legislative lethal chamber. A torrent of emails and call have  inundated  Senate leaders, Senate President Don Gaetz, Senate Majority Leader  Sen. Lisbeth Benacquisto and Rules Committee Chair Sen. John Thrasher asking them to withdraw SB58, Acceptance of Foreign Law in Certain Cases, and bring the measure to the Senate floor for a hearing and vote. We understand that votes are in hand to assure passage of SB58.  The companion House version was passed by a 79 to 39 vote on April 18th. Voting with the House  majority was the son of Senate President Gaetz,  Rep. Matt  Gaetz who represents a Northwest Florida Panhandle district with an office in Shalimar. His father Don Gaetz's  district office  is less than 11 miles away in Destin. Perhaps the father son team might  meet over a cup of coffee  to discuss getting ALAC passed in its third outing in the Sunshine State. Last year, ALAC didn't make it to the Senate floor because of a spat between outgoing Senate President Mike Haridopolos and the Senate Sponsor of ALAC, Sen. Alan Hays, over a non -related legislative issue.  We reported that at the time Sen. Gaetz allegedly said he would support pasage of ALAC this time.  Now, it appears he is on the verge of repeating what Haridopolos did last year.  There are still four more days remaining in the 2013 legislative session and things might change  prompting  Senator Gaetz to bring SB58 up for a vote.  These final days in the legislative session  is when the Senate reviews measures passed in the House, one of them is the House version of ALAC, HB351.  What's the expression?  Carpe Diem, Sen. Gaetz!!

Perhaps the Senate leaders might find this post from  Creeping Sharia of interest.  Here we have a Muslim extolling the virtues of SB58 criticizing a Muslim author of an op ed opposing SB 58. Ironic?  Or just someone who recognizes the merits and wisdom of  ALAC protecting both the letter writer's and critic's human rights.

Posted on April 29, 2013 by creeping
Re Laila Abdelaziz’s April 24 article, Legislature weighs anti-Sharia law we don’t need: As a Muslim, I would like to disagree with her views about Sharia law being banned in Florida. We do need to ban this law. Sharia law belongs to those countries where there is no democracy, human rights, individual freedom and no rule of law. We willfully came to this country. We cannot bring our own laws and rules and regulations and expect that they will be implemented as we wish.
We are here because the U.S. Constitution protects our freedom and liberty regardless of our race or religion. We know that rule of law will prevail and we will not be victimized by unscrupulous tyrants and anti-democratic rulers. Let’s not redefine freedom.
Cemal Kami Muren, Key Biscayne
Cemal and others can get involved. Read this link to Help bring SB58 American Law for American Courts up for Senate vote
HERE IS THE INFORMATION FOR  CONTACTING  FLORIDA SENATE  LEADERS BY PHONE AND EMAIL
Senate President
Senator Don Gaetz
District Offices: (850) 897-5747
(850) 747-5856
Tallahassee Office: (850) 487-5001
[email protected]
Senate Majority Leader
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto
District Office: (239) 338-2570
Tallahassee Office: (850) 487-5030
[email protected]

Senate Rules Committee Chairman
Senator John Thrasher
District Office: (904) 287-4222
Tallahassee Office: (850) 487-5006
[email protected]

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 11:22 PM by Jerry Gordon
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Saudi Sheikh Issues Fatwa: It's Okay To Kill Shi'a, Including Women And Children
clear

Why? Because the Shi'a are not real Muslims but Infidels. So why not kill them, as the Saudi sheikh suggests, including their women and children? Would that be wrong?

The story at Al-Monitor:

Saudi Wahhabi Sheikh Calls
On Iraq's Jihadists to Kill Shiites

Children walk by a machine gun in Baghdad, April 20, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili)
     


By: Haytham Mouzahem for Al-Monitor Posted on April 28.

On April 23, Saad al-Durihim, a Saudi Wahhabi sheikh, posted a tweet on Twitter in which he said that jihadist fighters in Iraq should adopt a "heavy-handed" approach and kill any Shiites they can get their hands own, including children and women. This is so that the "rawafid" — a term used by Wahhabi Salafists to refer to Shiites — will fear them.

About This Article

Summary :
A Saudi Wahhabi sheikh has issued a fatwa in which he calls on jihadists in Iraq to kill Shiites, including women and children, in another sign of the bitter sectarian conflict dividing the region, writes Haytham Mouzahem.
Original Title:
Wahhabi Sheikh Calls on Iraq's Jihadists to Kill Shiite Children and Women
Author: Haytham Mouzahem
Translated by: Tyler Huffman
Categories : Originals Iraq  

This tweet sparked sharp criticism on Twitter. Many considered it to be incitement to murder and contrary to the tolerance of Islam, which forbids the killing of women and children in battle, even those of infidels and polytheists. 

Sheikh Durihim had previously posted a tweet in which he said that the people of Najd [in central Saudi Arabia] were the "saved group", meaning they alone were the only ones who would enter Paradise on Judgment Day among all humans, including other Muslims. Najd is the region of Saudi Arabia where Wahhabism originated. 

Daraihim's statements denouncing the Shiites as apostates — in accordance with Wahhabi Salafist doctrine — are not the first of their kind. Takfir (the idea of Muslims renouncing other Muslims as nonbelievers) goes back to fatwas issued by Sheikh Taqi ad-Din bin Taymiyyah, a Syrian sheikh from the Hanbali school of jurisprudence born in 1283 A.D. in Harran, a city near the Turkish-Syrian border. Sheikh Taymiyyah considered Shiites to be deluded heretics. He accused Shiite scholars of blasphemy and considered the general Shiite populace to be ignorant and misguided. This led his followers — in particular Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1700-1791), the founder of Wahhabism — to denounce all Shiites, regardless of sect, as nonbelievers. They also authorized killing Shiites, holding their women captive, and stealing from them. This goes against the words of the Prophet Muhammad: "The whole of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honor."

Talk of a "saved group" goes back to to a hadith (a statement attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) — "My people will be divided into 73 groups, one will enter Paradise and 72 will enter Hell." Some Muslims have taken this statement — which is unconfirmed and illogical — as fact, without regard to its content or authenticity. 

The aforementioned hadith has appeared in various forms, and has been a topic of controversy and debate among hadith scholars and experts in Islamic jurisprudence. 

Islamic researcher Abdullah al-Sarihi has written a study in which he noted that this hadith is fabricated and of questionable authenticity. It is not a credible hadith, given that many well-known Islamic figures have questioned it and there are definitive texts that oppose this statement. Likewise, the renowned Yemeni jurisprudential scholar Mohammed al-Shawkani said that this hadith lacks authenticity and credibility.

Returning to these takfiri fatwas — which permit apostatizing other Muslims and subsequently killing them (and their women and children), stealing from them, and taking their women captive — we see that this is contrary to the true principles of Islam and the laws of all Semitic religions. The Prophet Muhammed would play games with children, befriend them, and joke with them. The Prophet was also kind to animals; when he was on his way to conquer Mecca, he saw a dog with her puppies and ordered his followers not to disturb her. He also ordered his followers not to tamper with the bodies of enemies as revenge for what the infidels of Quraysh did to his uncle Hamza's body. He even forgave Hind bint Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, and her servant Wahshi, who killed Hamza, desecrated his body, and have his liver to Hind to eat as revenge for the death of her father Utbah who was killed by Hamza in the Battle of Badr. [this is what Islam is all about -- one  great isnad chain of being after another] at the craziness of Islam]

The Prophet ordered his army commanders and fighters not to kill the women and children of infidels, and not to cut down trees or destroy buildings. 

Islamic writers of various sects have been obsessed with this fabricated hadith about the "saved group", and have worked hard to determine the 73 sects. They have done this by counting various sects and dividing them into sub-sects to reach the desired number. 

Today, a major problem in the Islamic world is represented by the large number of muftis and sheikhs who are unqualified to issue fatwas, yet still issue fatwas characterized by idle talk and improvisation. Some Islamic jurists and preachers affiliated with sultans were still apostatizing other Muslims to satisfy their sultans. 

This isn't limited to just takfir, but has progressed to the point of permitting killing, stealing from, and dishonoring of other Muslims. It even reached the point of bombing, where some youth have been deceived into believing that the shortest path to Paradise — to coming face to face with God — is carrying out a suicide bombing to kill infidels. These suicide bombers not only target fighters, soldiers and politicians, but also target mosques, churches, markets, schools and hospitals. 

These suicide bombers are truly misguided, and the blame falls on those who are described as religious scholars. These so-called scholars are not concerned with the image of Islam held by other Muslims, as they see Muslims killing one another and blowing up each others mosques. 

If we accept the argument that there is a Muslim sect that has erred and deviated from Islam, doesn't this mean we should invite them to [the true] Islam?

Didn't the Quran say, "Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance"? (Sura An-Nahl, verse 125)

If God has ordered Muslims to invite polytheists, Jews and Christians to Islam with wisdom and beautiful preaching, shouldn't we first invite those Muslims with whom we disagree with wisdom and beautiful preaching, those who have gone astray or deviated from out views and thinking?

There is no sect or group that maintains a monopoly on extremism and takfir, all sects are apostatizing others. Even members of the same sect or political group are now apostatizing members of their own group because of political disputes or a struggle for power and leadership.

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 8:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
A Musical Interlude: Voulez-Vous Danser Madame? (Fred Adison Orch., voc. Roger Toussaint)
clear
Listen here.
clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 3:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
They Order This Matter Better In France
clear

From The Telegraph:

29 April 2013

France shows us how to deal with jihadis

Why are our Gallic neighbours so much better at deporting terrorist suspects?

Abu Qatada: in France, he would have been on a plane to Amman as an act of judicially endorsed political will. The European convention would not have come into it
Abu Qatada: in France, he would have been on a plane to Amman as an act of judicially endorsed political will. The European convention would not have come into it Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley

One of the great mysteries of the Abu Qatada saga is why this country finds it so difficult to deport suspected foreign terrorists while France has no such problem. Here are two nations, both Western liberal democracies, both in the EU, both signatories to the European human rights convention and subject to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Both face threats from Islamist extremists; and yet their approach to dealing with them is dramatically different. Between 2001 and 2010, the UK deported nine alleged jihadis who were deemed to pose a threat to national security. Over the same period, France removed 129.

Why the contrast? Many of those packed off by France were sent to countries such as Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, whose judicial systems are not widely thought to be paragons of compassion. Many of the deportees from France were Islamists whose only offence was to make disparaging remarks about the country rather than fanatics bent on fomenting violence.

Yet we are apparently unable to remove Abu Qatada, who arrived here under false pretences and was identified by MI5 as the most significant Islamic fundamentalist in Britain and an “inspiration” for terrorists both in this country and abroad. He chose his destination well when he came to Europe in 1993. Had he settled in Paris, he would certainly not still be there making a mockery of the French judicial system.

This disparity is the subject of a timely new book written by the counter-terrorism expert Frank Foley. He, too, had long been baffled by the varied approaches. And one thing that has become clear from his research is that the reason has little to do with the European court and much more to do with the different recent histories of the two countries and how their institutions have developed.

In the Commons last week, Theresa May became the fifth home secretary in succession forced to jump through a series of legal hoops to try to get rid of Abu Qatada. She announced that the UK had signed a treaty with Jordan aimed at persuading the Strasbourg court that if the imam were returned for trial the evidence against him would not have been extracted under torture. How that could be proven is anyone’s guess; but why do we have to go to such lengths at all? Is it to convince European judges or our own?

As Foley points out, in France “individuals only have limited means of preventing their deportation because of the relevant legal regulations and because of the swift expulsion practices of the French authorities”. Furthermore, an appeal does not suspend expulsion: the individual can still be deported to his home country and the appeal takes place in his absence. It is possible to petition the domestic courts to suspend a deportation but, says Foley, “the French authorities have pre-empted such legal moves by putting the individual on a plane home within just a few days of the order being issued”.

In Britain, by contrast, an appeal automatically halts a deportation; but that has nothing to do with Strasbourg and everything to do with the way we do things here. Since 1999, in the case of Algeria – whence most extremists come for historical reasons – “the French courts have not overturned any of the government’s deportation decisions on the basis that radical Islamists face a risk of torture or mistreatment if they are returned”.

However, in Abu Qatada’s case, neither have our courts. In fact, twice since 2001, British courts have upheld Home Office efforts to deport him. In 2007, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission said assurances from Jordan about his treatment were enough to override human rights obstacles. This was upheld in 2009 by the Law Lords, who also ruled that whether or not evidence against him might have been extracted under torture was irrelevant. It was not for the British courts “to regulate the conduct of trials in foreign countries”, and the use of such material would not amount to a “flagrant denial of justice’’.

If this country’s supreme court said he could be deported, why on earth is he still here? As soon as Qatada’s lawyers lodged an appeal, his removal was stayed; but in France, he would have been on a plane to Amman as an act of judicially endorsed political will: the European convention would not have come into it.

Here, the case went to Strasbourg, which found against the British government – and our courts have since gone along with that decision despite previously taking a completely different view.

The UK was slow to react to the jihadist threat in the Nineties (or, rather, we turned a blind eye to it). But there are aspects of the French approach to terrorism that we would not wish to adopt here (or at least I wouldn’t), such as the police making mass arrests or rounding up the usual suspects.

The judiciary in France are also much more tightly locked into the process through their investigating magistrates, who take over the case from the outset. Our tradition of free speech and civil liberties acts as a constraint on the more authoritarian instincts of the state. When it comes to removing from their territory suspected foreign jihadis who might do them harm, however, everyone in France sings from the same hymn sheet. We can’t even agree on the tune.

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 3:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Fear and fundamentalism as the 'modesty police' patrol Gaza
clear

From The Telegraph

Police in Gaza have arrested at least 41 men on charges of immodesty this April, writes Phoebe Greenwood. And now the city is gripped with fear that Hamas is driving the population towards militant Islamic fundamentalism

It's three weeks since his arrest but Ismail Halou still has streaks of purple bruising on the soles of his feet. The 22 year-old was filling cars at his family's petrol station in Gaza City at 5pm on April 4th when a black jeep pulled into the forecourt, plain-clothed police stepped out and ordered him into the car. . . It was only after the beating that police officers set to work trying to shave off the one-inch fin of gelled hair that was the cause of his arrest.

"At no point did they tell me why they had arrested me. I found out from neighbours when I got home that it was because of my hair," Mr Halou explains, running a hand over the fuzzy regrowth on his head. He could not walk for three days after his release.

Police in Gaza, a Palestinian coastal enclave run by Islamist faction Hamas, have arrested at least 41 men on charges of immodesty this April. Most of them were beaten, all of them had their heads forcibly shaven. Some were shaven because their haircuts that were deemed culturally inappropriate, others because their trousers were either too low-slung or too fitted. In at least two cases, police also cut-up jeans deemed too tight.

Rajou Hayek, 33, was arrested while pushing his wheelchair-bound father to a health clinic in Gaza City, he claims for no reason other than intimidation. "When I arrived at the police station, the first thing I saw was a mountain of hair, it looked like it had been shaved from 300 heads," Mr Hayek says. He sustained a savage beating before also having his head shaved.

But a violently enforced public modesty campaign is new. This latest trend of punitive head shaving has shocked a conflict and poverty hardened community. Gaza is gripped with a palpable fear that Hamas is driving the population towards unapologetic, militant, Islamic fundamentalism.

Ihab Al Ghusain, director of the Hamas media centre in Gaza and former spokesperson for the interior ministry, is critical of the police force's violent methods but defends their message. "Young people should be concerned with their education and what Israel is doing to us rather than concentrating on the outside world and pop stars with those sorts of haircuts," he told The Telegraph.

Hamas warned against women smoking nargilla water pipes in public, raided weddings where women and men were reported to be dancing together and waged a PR campaign in girls' schools to encourage students to cover themselves entirely, pitting school heads against liberal parents.

Fear and self-censorship have transformed Gaza. In Gaza's cafés, heady clouds of orange blossom and apple vapour billow from nargilla pipes smoked exclusively by men. There are now few bare heads among the streams of young women and girls pouring out of Gaza's schools and universities. Female figures seldom walk alone through Gaza City's streets and markets, and those who do usually move briskly and are shrouded.

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 2:39 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Some kinds of genocidal hatred are A-OK?
clear

Below is an extract of an article, which discusses in some depth a number of key points brought up  in an interesting new book by Neil J. Kressel, of the Social Sciences Department at William Patterson University, entitled The Sons of Pigs and Apes.
?
The text offers some lesser spoken insights on the rather extraordinary depth of the abiding anti-Semitism in the Islamic world, and what Kressel describes as "a conspiracy of silence" among academics, politicians, journalists, and the international community about this form of hatred:

[…] In Arab societies, he [[Kressel]] notes, the very words "Jew" and "Zionist" have become generic slurs. "For many [Muslims], Israel has become a central element in a collective obsessional delusion," Kressel writes.
 
Yet many Western opinion formers, Jews included, remain willfully blind to the issue, Kressel argues. "Otherwise reliable opponents of bigotry too often duck when confronted with massive evidence of Jew-hatred in Arab and Islamic countries," he notes. "They offer either dismissive interpretations or complex justifications in lieu of plainspoken opposition." Those who don’t ignore the subject outright prefer to downplay it, dismiss it as a peripheral cultural phenomenon, or justify it as a righteous response to Israel’s maltreatment of the Palestinians.
 
By implication, if only the "Zionists" had behaved themselves better, Jews everywhere wouldn’t bear the brunt of so much hatred among Arabs and Muslims. Kressel, a social psychologist and author of "Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism," goes out of his way to insist that not all criticism of Israel is ipso facto anti-Semitic. Nonetheless, he dismisses such excuses as generally bunkum.
 
...take that of Egyptian cleric Muhammad Hussein Ya’qub, who minced no words in a televised sermon, now available online, in 2009. "If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not," he explained.
 
"The Jews are infidels not because I say so but because Allah does… They aren’t our enemies because they occupy Palestine; they would be our enemies even if they had not occupied anything."
 
The roots of Islamic anti-Jewish sentiments, Kressel reminds us, go much deeper than the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which has undoubtedly helped bring them to the fore. He dismisses the "rosy past scenario" of oft-cited historical Muslim tolerance towards Jews as largely fictional.
?
The Koran and the hadiths – the deeds and sayings of Mohammed – are rather ambivalent about Jews. At times Islam’s holy book urges respect and tolerance towards them; at other times it goes on and on, verse after verse, about their bloodlust, hypocrisy and perfidy for willfully and ungratefully perverting God’s instructions to humanity through their lies and treachery. For their intransigence, Allah has cursed Jews and turned them, the Koran tells us repeatedly, into "apes and pigs."
?
Mohammed him self set an ominous precedent for dealing with Jews. After failing to win them over for his cause, he expelled two of the three Jewish tribes of Medina and massacred all the males of the third, enslaving their wives and children in the process. […]
?
As an influential hadith has it, the Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. […]
 
Down through the ages, Kressel explains in an engrossing passage, Muslim scholars have offered a variety of opinions on whether Allah literally turned Jews into monkeys and pigs. More recently, in 2009, Sheikh Ahmad Ali Othman, a high-ranking official at the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments, explained that the reason Muslims were forbidden from eating pork is that "the pigs living today are descended from those Jews [whom Allah turned into swine]." […]
?
One could laugh off such rhapsodies of nonsense as the misguided musings of benighted souls, but pervasive Islamic Jew-hatred has real-life consequences. By relentlessly dehumanizing Jews, Islamists seek to legitimize their murder as justified owing to Jews’ inherently atavistic and animalistic nature. Thus, killing Jews becomes both a religious duty and a moral imperative.
?
And so we end up with people like Algerian- French Muslim Mohammed Merah, who methodically assassinated four people, three of them young children, at a Jewish school in Toulouse, in March last year. Members of the local Muslim community openly rallied in support of him as random attacks against French Jews intensified across the country. […]
 
"Dehumanization plays a key role in the social psychology of genocide," Kressel notes apropos such pronouncements. "It is much more effective when it can plausibly be attributed to an ancient and sacred source, held by believers to be infallible." Add to that a potent paranoia about a Jewish world conspiracy, and what you have is a volatile mix of loathing and fear. The fraudulent "Protocols of the Elder of Zion" and Hitler’s "Mein Kampf" are both perennial bestsellers from Egypt to Pakistan. The "Protocols" is often cited as proof of Jews’ bottomless mendacity, not least in the Hamas Charter, and has been turned into a hugely popular 41-part television series. Functional illiteracy is rampant across the Middle East, and any cockamamie conspiracy theory about Jews finds fertile ground in local communities. […]
?
In 2007, meanwhile, Iran’s intelligence services "arrested" 14 squirrels for spying for the Zionist Entity. The rodents joined several vultures, which had been tagged by Israeli conservationists for monitoring, that alert officials from Turkey to Sudan have intercepted as alleged Zionist spies. […]
 
Confronted with such asinine views, many Westerners are incredulous: How could anyone believe such baloney? But people’s beliefs, however irrational, inform their views of the world and influence their actions.
 
Hate needs no logical basis; in fact, the more irrational hatred is, the more implacable it can become. The long centuries of pogroms and massacres of Jews based on claims they poisoned wells and slaughtered Christian babies for their rituals taught us that. […]
 
Watchdogs like Human Rights Watch, he says, ignore the genocidal rants of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran’s leaders, even as they reflexively condemn Israel at the slightest excuse. Then there’s the UN’s Human Rights Council, which seems to exist for the sole purpose of denouncing the Jewish state. Muslim anti- Semitism? The Council won’t hear of it. It censured a Jewish delegate just for bringing up the subject. The UN-sponsored anti-racist conferences Durban I and II, in 2001 and 2009, turned into notorious hate-fests against Israel; the latter featured Ahmadinejad as a keynote speaker. […]
?
In a sense, Jew-hatred performs an important psychological function for Muslims. It serves as a point of agreement for Shias and Sunnis, Sufis and Salafis, who often don’t see eye to eye about much else – and continue to savagely massacre each other. The Palestinian cause has become a convenient rallying cry for global Muslim unity. Bernard Lewis, an eminent scholar of Islam, has called statesanctioned opposition to Israel in oppressive Muslim regimes a "licensed grievance," an approved mode of collective venting.
?
Kressel agrees. "Antisemitism in the Muslim world," he writes, "is a form of political manipulation that rests on a psychological foundation." Jews, the author notes, were once the subjects of Muslim whim, but are now far more advanced and prosperous.?
 
The success of Israel, a tiny country run by a formerly despised or at best tolerated people, has been a massive blow to collective Muslim self-esteem. The flourishing of Jews on previously Muslim-ruled land seems to negate the eternal superiority of Islam, as ordained by Allah and his prophet. And so Israel is an insufferable provocation both religiously and politically. Muslim anti- Semites, Kressel argues, are afflicted with "cognitive dissonance," a conflict of reality with their cherished and deeply held beliefs. […]

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 1:59 PM by Robert Harris
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Why Not Allow Them Their Cannon-Fodder Wish?
clear

Euro Mayors Try to Keep Youths From Going to Syria

ABC News-3 hours ago
European authorities see a double danger, one that's summed up by Somers who describes the youths as "cannon fodder" in Syria — and ...
clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 2:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Hamid Karzai Bans "Un-Islamic" Shows
clear

Hamid Karzai orders ban on 'un-Islamic' shows on Afghan TV

The Guardian (blog)  - ‎Apr 25, 2013‎
The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has heeded a call from a conservative clerical group to halt the broadcast of "un-Islamic" films and serials, issuing a vague decree that some see as a move to stifle debate before presidential elections next year or ...
clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 2:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
An American Success Story
clear

From an article about the "Sun Gym" gang:

Zsuzsanna Griga will never forget the kidnapping of her brother, Frank, and his girlfriend, Krisztina Furton in 1995.

"...he loved fast cars, beautiful girls and life," Griga said. "She was very beautiful. She was only 23 years old. My heart breaks when I think of what she went through."

Felix Jimenez, now retired from the Metro-Dade Police homicide department, was the lead detective on the case.

"Very handsome couple, they looked like they were made for each other," Jimenez explained. "Frank was the American success story -- an immigrant, came to this country with $10 dollars in his pocket and made millions."

He came from Budapest, Hungary, and found a minimum wage job in New York City.

Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton

Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton

"It was like a service station ... he was changing the oil, washing cars," Zsuzsanna Griga explained. "What he accomplished ... should make everyone proud because he went from nowhere to a millionaire on his own just by using his own resources."

In fewer than 10 years, Frank was living in an upscale Miami enclave called "Golden Beach" and running a phone sex line empire. He was on top of the world until May 24, 1995.

"I started calling him and he wouldn't pick up the phone," Zsuzsanna Griga said. "I kind of knew that something really bad happened then..."

The disappearance of Frank and Krisztina would become one of Miami's most notorious crimes. But who would want to kidnap them?

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 2:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Mikhail Allakhverdov -- "Misha" The Devout Convert -- Found In Rhode Island
clear

From the LA Times:

Boston bombing: Mysterious 'Misha' turns up in Rhode Island


The FBI has interviewed a man named Mikhail Allakhverdov about Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He said he had known Tamerlan Tsarnaev but had not spoken to him in years. (Lowell Sun and Robin Young / April 19, 2013)

For days since the Boston Marathon bombings, people have been searching for the mysterious “Misha,” the friend with the thin red beard who supposedly tutored bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the ways of more pious Islam.

Also hot on his trail was the FBI, which wondered whether “Misha,” described by Tsarnaev family members as an Armenian who converted to Islam, could have known something about Tsarnaev and his brother’s alleged plans to plant homemade bombs at the marathon finish line on April 15.

It appears the mystery is over — solved by no less a heavyweight news organization than the New York Review of Books.

Acting on a tip from someone who knows the Tsarnaevs, writer Christian Caryl traveled to Rhode Island to interview the man: Mikhail Allakhverdov, 39, who is of Armenian-Ukrainian descent.

The FBI had beaten him to to it, having reportedly already interviewed  the man described in news accounts all over the world.

“I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov told Caryl, who wrote a blog post for the book review. [nonsense, of course -- how could anyone whom he had helped persuade to deeply believe in, for example, the divine truth  of Sura 2 or Sura 9 not want to do, if he could, "something like this"?]

Allakhverdov said he had known the elder Tsarnaev brother in Boston, where he lived until about three years ago, but had not had contact with him since.

“I’ve been cooperating entirely with the FBI. I gave them my computer and my phone and everything. I wanted to show I haven’t done anything. And they said they are about to return them to me. And the agents who talked told me they are about to close my case,” he said.

Interest in “Misha” — a common nickname for Mikhail — began when several relatives of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, said the young man had seemed to fall under the influence of a man they could remember only as Misha. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police. 

As outlined in a profile of the two bombing suspects in the Los Angeles Times, the two would talk for hours about religion. Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, said she and her son met Misha at the home of Armenian friends and she saw him as a positive influence on her son.

“We liked him a lot at first glance, and soon invited him home,” she said. “Misha had a talent to speak about things, especially Islam, in a manner that made you sit still and listen to him with an open mouth. And Tamerlan looked up to him the same way too. “

When he moved to another state — apparently Rhode Island — he visited only occasionally. “We were all very sorry that Misha was gone,” she said.

Tsarnaev’s uncle Ruslan Tsarni has painted Misha's influence on his nephew in less charitable terms, saying the young man’s father was resentful of the time his son spent with Misha and felt that he “took his brain away.”

“Anzor came in, with Misha sitting there, and said, ‘Who is this person, and why is he still here?’ And the mother said, ‘Back off, back off. He’s teaching your son important things, about life and goodness,'” Tsarni related.

But Tsarni said other family members didn’t see Tsarnaev’s growing religious devotion as positive. “From a young person with ambition and inspiration, he turned into something else.”

Allakhverdov’s family told Caryl that they formerly lived in the capital of the predominantly Muslim country of Azerbaijan but left in the early 1990s to escape growing persecution of Armenian Christians there.  He confirmed that he had converted to Islam.

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 9:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Channel 4 documentary Jennifer Lipman, It’s boom not bombs in Gaza
clear

Jennifer Lipman, It’s boom not bombs in Gaza for Channel 4 documentary, JC, 25 April 2013.

The presenter of a Channel Four documentary about Gaza has said that the local population would not recognise the portrayal of the area in much of the UK media as war-torn. Seyi Rhodes travelled to the Gaza Strip in February to film an episode of Unreported World. Rather than reporting on a region torn apart by conflict, the programme focuses on the property market and booming construction taking place there. Rhodes said the experience confounded his expectations. "Before I started researching, I thought the region was destitute - people living literally hand-to-mouth on aid, with constant security threats. I took it for granted that people would be living in temporary accommodation provided by the UN." 

Rhodes noted that "As a left-wing student, I was given one view of Gaza/Palestine. But I realise now that many of those representations were entirely politically motivated. Even Gazans wouldn't recognise the image that is portrayed of them sometimes. The woman crying over her dead son, the man throwing stones at tanks." He added that such stereotypes were "frankly offensive as most of these people live their lives with the same concerns as you and me… getting on the housing ladder, educating your children. People didn't even talk about Israel unless I brought it up."

He found "a growing wealth gap", with ordinary families struggling even to rent but new flats being sold for up to $3 million to wealthy Palestinians with money from abroad or from jobs with the Hamas government. The programme also highlights the flourishing black market in Gaza, with 90 per cent of new constructions using materials smuggled in through the network of tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt.

The 25-minute video can be viewed here:

'Unreported World -- Gaza's Property Ladder', Channel 4, 26 April 2013.
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/4od#3515769

--The Law

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 5:25 AM by The Law
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Pseudsday Pmonday
clear

The good news is that at last a Muslim admits to non-Muslims  that Muslim terrorists who kill non-Muslims in the name of Islam are …. Muslim.  Muslims might say this in Arabic to fellow Muslims, praising the “martyr” for his actions, but they don’t often say it in English.  Or rather in quasi-English, for the bad news is that the message is hidden in a prose so clotted it is little better than the taqiyya we’re used to. Mohammad al Hussaini at Harry’s Place, a site still desperate to see the good in Islam:

Following the bloody drama played out on her streets, like London before her, Boston now faces a stark reckoning with the reality of terrorism at the hands of young, home-grown Muslim men.  Like the carnage the day after London’s victorious Olympic bid in 2005, the attacks last week juxtapose the backdrop of cultural plurality and fraternity through sport, with terrorist expression of grievances by the murder of children, women and ethnic minorities.

In the multivariate regression analysis of the colluding risk factors behind the motives for the young men, it would appear obvious that entirely to exclude Islamic belief as a partial contributor does not fit the empirical data of similar attacks elsewhere.

Tell it like it is.

It is highly unlikely that the Chechen boys were scholars of the Quran, any more than bungling Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American Times Square bomber.  As with Lee Boyd Malvo, the junior understudy of the Washington sniper, John Allen Muhammad, the “bunch of guys” male dynamic of dominant older, and weaker younger sibling likely interplay for the Tsarnaev brothers with a complex array of other personal determinants, from familial disaffection to the rage of young men.  In security conference contexts where I teach, colleagues at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom andGeorge C Marshall European Center for Security Studies sift and explore the multifaceted underpinnings that led to the internet self-radicalisation of 16 year-old schoolboy, Hamaad Munshi, and the suicide bomb plot by Bristol student, Andrew Ibrahim.

However, the cantus firmus girding the riotous fugue of all these painful and shocking narratives is a common seeking after authenticity, purity and honour – certainties alluringly provided by simple and potent radicalised readings of God’s holy writ.  And it is at this locus of challenging and reclaiming the jihadists’ claims to authenticity and truth that a significant part of the ideological struggle against religious extremism must take place.

I think this means that they were Muslims. However, my cantus firmus is regressing and has gone off a cliff.

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 4:59 AM by Mary Jackson
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Boston bombs: the Canadian boxer and the terror recruiter who 'led Tsarnaev on path to jihad'
clear

From the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Times - via The Australian 

A Canadian boxer who was killed while fighting with jihadists in Russia has emerged as a key contact who may have set the elder Boston bomber on his path to violent extremism.

In what could be a breakthrough in the attempt to understand how Tamerlan Tsarnaev – himself a skilled boxer – became radicalised and turned to violence, Moscow's respected Novaya Gazeta newspaper revealed his links with William Plotnikov, who was killed in a battle with security forces in the troubled southern Russian republic of Dagestan last year.

During his visit to Dagestan last year, Tsarnaev also met on several occasions a terrorist of mixed Dagestani and Palestinian parentage, who was being closely watched by the Russian security services. That man, Makhmud Mansur Nidal, had been under surveillance for six months as a suspected recruiter for Islamist insurgents fighting Moscow's rule in the region.

The new claims have come from security officials in Makhachkala, the Dagestan capital, where the brothers' parents moved from the US and where Tsarnaev spent six months last year. According to the report in Novaya Gazeta, Tsarnaev came on to the radar of Dagestan's anti-extremism unit when he was seen "more than once" with Nidal, 19. A month later, Nidal was killed after he blockaded himself in a house with weapons. He had been accused of being part of a rebel group that organised a twin bomb attack in Makhachkala, killing 13 people.

Russian security operatives found Tsarnaev had been linked to William Plotnikov, an ethnic Russian citizen of Canada, whom they had interrogated in 2010 after he arrived in Dagestan, ostensibly to study Islam. Plotnikov gave a list of people in Europe and the US with roots in Russia's North Caucasus, with whom he had communicated via online social networking sites. Among those whose names Plotnikov volunteered was Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Plotnikov was released, but by 2012 he had joined Dagestan's insurgents – living in forest camps where he was known by fellow insurgents as "the Canadian". He was shot dead, aged 23, in a battle with Russian security forces in July last year that left six other militants dead.

It is unclear whether Tsarnaev and Plotnikov met through boxing circles or only communicated online, but their life paths suggest such a meeting was possible. Both were keen amateur boxers with roots in Russia who turned to Islam after finding it hard to adapt in their adoptive countries. Tsarnaev also visited his aunt in Toronto, where Plotnikov lived with his parents.

A(nother) key line of inquiry is whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev came into contact with a ruthless Islamist leader nicknamed "Robin Hood", who was responsible for dozens of attacks and bombings in Dagestan before being killed in December by Russian forces.

Gadzhimurad Dolgatov, a religious extremist who led a local cell of the Caucasus Emirate, Russia's most feared Islamist group, was a convicted armed robber. He made several videos in which he threatened to kill police officers and anyone who helped them. Tamerlan visited the predominantly Muslim republic for six months last year.

Shortly after returning to the US from Dagestan, Tamerlan placed several videos on his personal YouTube channel in a folder marked "terrorism". One was a message recorded by Dolgatov, posing in front of a banner in Arabic script.

"I'm warning you," he said in the video. "I'll kill you just like I'll kill them (police officers). Don't become their pawns. If you have brains, you won't want to die leaving behind widows, orphans and crying mothers. We'll destroy you. If you side with the police, you are helping Satan. I'm warning you."

A Russian Interior Ministry official said: "We're looking into whether the two men met or had any contact. It's odd Tsarnaev should post Dolgatov's video. How come he was even aware of his existence? We can't rule out that Tsarnaev was introduced to him. Clearly, he was impressed by him if he posted his video. The question is why?"

A senior US official said: "Dolgatov was an obscure figure with local significance for a short period of time - the time Tamerlan was in Dagestan. The fact that Tamerlan viewed his videos online appears to be significant. It just seems to be too much of a coincidence."

The US official said the "working assumption" of investigators was that Tamerlan was recruited to the Islamist cause in Massachusetts, possibly by an Armenian convert known as Misha, who has since left the US. Tsarnaev's relatives have depicted Misha as a charismatic and devout figure. Investigators believe Misha, whose true identity is thought to have been established by them, might have connected Tamerlan with Islamists in Dagestan, possibly Dolgatov or one of his associates.

Police have been searching a landfill near the Massachusetts University campus at Dartmouth, at which Dzhokhar was a student, for a laptop their accomplices might have disposed of after the attacks.

Inquiries are also being made into the triple murder of Brendan Ness, a friend of Tamerlan, and two others in 2011. The bodies were found with their throats slit and marijuana strewn over them.

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 2:54 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
clear
Monday, 29 April 2013
Irish Muslim convert on Boston: This is a war.. they should be thankful that more didn’t die
clear

From the Irish Sun

AN Irish Muslim once arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Barack Obama says the Boston bombers gave Americans “a taste of their own medicine”. Dubliner Khalid Kelly, 46, refused to condemn Chechen terror brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Three people, including an eight-year-old boy, were killed and more than 260 wounded when two devices exploded at the Boston Marathon on April 15. Tamerlan, 26, was later killed during a shootout with cops while Dzhokhar, 19, is in custody.

But convert Terence Kelly — nicknamed Taliban Terry — said he was not surprised by the attack, the first on US soil since 9/11. And he insisted Americans should be thankful there were not MORE deaths.

Kelly told the Irish Sun: “Thousands of Muslims are being killed every day from Syria to Afghanistan. A lot of them are being murdered at the hands of the Americans, and they never have a minute’s silence. Where are the tears for these people? Three people get killed and they have a big day of remembrance. They should remember the people they are killing. This is a war and they should be thankful that it wasn’t more.”

And extremist Kelly warned that attacks will continue as long as the US continues to exert its dominance on Muslim lands. He said: “Sheikh Osama Bin Laden said that until the last soldier leaves our land, you will never enjoy one day of security. And his words are coming through now. They are worried all the time and they should be worried. As long as you are killing people, then you will be killed. This is a taste of the same medicine that America is dishing out around the world.”

Born Terence Kelly, from the Liberties area of the capital, he converted to Islam while serving a jail sentence in Saudi Arabia for illegally distilling and selling alcohol. He later travelled to Pakistan, where he claims he trained with tribal warlords with the intention of going to Afghanistan.

(he said) " . . . the IRA said it would have a bigger effect on the English if we bombed them at home. And it did. They went to London and it was very effective. I think that is what is happening at the moment. You have come to our homeland and are bombing and killing Muslims.

“If people cannot get to the Jihad, what are they going to do? They are going to fight the enemy where they can find them.

“Whether it is right or not I don’t know, but I’m telling you what is happening. And in America, where they have easy access to weapons, it’s honestly surprising that it’s not happening every week.”

clear
Posted on 04/29/2013 2:17 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
clear
Sunday, 28 April 2013
The Departing French Ambassador On Afghanistan, The West's Terminally Corrupt Client
clear

From The New York Times:

April 28, 2013

Departing French Envoy Has Frank Words on Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — It is always hard to gauge what diplomats really think unless one of their cables ends up on WikiLeaks, but every once in a while, the barriers fall and a bit of truth slips into public view.

That is especially true in Afghanistan, where diplomats painstakingly weigh every word against political goals back home.

The positive spin from the Americans has been running especially hard the last few weeks, as Congressional committees in Washington focus on spending bills and the Obama administration, trying to secure money for a few more years here, talks up the country’s progress. The same is going on at the European Union, where the tone has been sterner than in the past, but still glosses predictions of Afghanistan’s future with upbeat words like “promise” and “potential.”

Despite that, one of those rare truth-telling moments came at a farewell cocktail party last week hosted by the departing French ambassador to Kabul: Bernard Bajolet, who is leaving to head France’s Direction Génerale de la Sécurité Extérieure, its foreign intelligence service.

After the white-coated staff passed the third round of hors d’oeuvres, Mr. Bajolet took the lectern and laid out a picture of how France — a country plagued by a slow economy, waning public support for the Afghan endeavor and demands from other foreign conflicts, including Syria and North Africa — looked at Afghanistan.

While it is certainly easier for France to be a critic from the sidelines than countries whose troops are still fighting in Afghanistan, the country can claim to have done its part. It lost more troops than all but three other countries before withdrawing its last combat forces in the fall.

The room, filled with diplomats, some senior soldiers and a number of Afghan dignitaries, went deadly quiet. When Mr. Bajolet finished, there was restrained applause — and sober expressions. One diplomat raised his eyebrows and nodded slightly; another said, “No holding back there.”

So what did he say?

That the Afghan project is on thin ice and that, collectively, the West was responsible for a chunk of what went wrong, though much of the rest the Afghans were responsible for. That the West had done a good job of fighting terrorism, but that most of that was done on Pakistani soil, not on the Afghan side of the border. And that without fundamental changes in how Afghanistan did business, the Afghan government, and by extension the West’s investment in it, would come to little.

His tone was neither shrill nor reproachful. It was matter-of-fact.

“I still cannot understand how we, the international community, and the Afghan government have managed to arrive at a situation in which everything is coming together in 2014 — elections, new president, economic transition, military transition and all this — whereas the negotiations for the peace process have not really started,” Mr. Bajolet said in his opening comments.

He was echoing a point shared privately by other diplomats, that 2014 was likely to be “a perfect storm” of political and military upheaval coinciding with the formal close of the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan.

As for the success of the fight on the ground, which American leaders routinely describe now as being “Afghan-led,” Mr. Bajolet sounded dubious. “We do not have enough distance to make an objective assessment,” he said, “but in any case, I think it crucial that the Afghan highest leadership take more visible and obvious ownership for their army.”

His tone — the sober, troubled observations of a diplomat closing a chapter — could hardly have been more different from that taken by the new shift of American officials charged with making it work in Afghanistan: in particular, with that of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the new American commanding general here. This week, General Dunford sent out a news release cheering on Afghanistan’s progress, noting some positive-leaning statistics and praising the Afghan Army’s abilities.

“Very soon, the A.N.S.F. will be responsible for security nationwide” General Dunford said, referring to the Afghan National Security Forces. “They are steadily gaining in confidence, competence, and commitment.”

At his farewell party, Mr. Bajolet wound up his realpolitik with a brisk analysis of what Afghanistan’s government needed to do: cut corruption, which discourages investment, deal with drugs and become fiscally self-reliant. It must increase its revenues instead of letting politicians divert them, he said.

Several diplomats in the room could be seen nodding as he said that drugs caused “more casualties than terrorism” in Russia, Europe and the Balkans and that Western governments would be hard-put to make the case for continued spending on Afghanistan if it remains the world’s largest heroin supplier.

The biggest contrast with the American and British line was Mr. Bajolet’s riff on sovereignty, which has become the political watchword of the moment. The Americans and the international community are giving sovereignty back to Afghanistan. Afghanistan argues frequently that it is a sovereign nation. President Hamid Karzai, in the debate over taking charge of the Bagram prison, repeatedly said that Afghanistan had a sovereign responsibility to its prisoners.

His implicit question was, what does that really mean?

“We should be lucid: a country that depends almost entirely on the international community for the salaries of its soldiers and policemen, for most of its investments and partly on it for its current civil expenditure, cannot be really independent.”
clear
Posted on 04/28/2013 10:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Sunday, 28 April 2013
'Dies Gloriae', XVIII: From A Composite Saint To A Saint Whose Prayers For Rescue From Evil Mohammedan Forces Were Heard
clear

In the process of compiling this NER Kalendar I could have taken the easy way out: I could simply have lined up all the saints who were murdered by the godless and blaspheming Mohammedans and assigned one of them to each day of the year. There would have been more than enough of them to go around; I can assure you of that! However, that would have been quite boring and it would have served only to confirm that which we already know, namely, that Mohammedans murder Christians simply for being Christians wherever and whenever they get the chance to do so without any recriminations, because that’s what the devil-gifted koran instructs them to do.

Rather than just presenting three hundred and sixty-five saints who were murdered by the debauched Mohammedans, I decided that it would be much more useful to set those Holy Martyrs into some sort of context. In this case, the context that I have adopted is the issue of sainthood in general. My aim in so doing has not been only to add to the knowledge of the Christians of all denominations who read at NER, but also to enlighten the many non-Christians who read here also. To that end I have often discussed some of the beliefs that Christians hold in the hope that NER’s non-Christian readership will find it useful and interesting. I hope, as well, that the non-Christian readership of these pages will grasp the fact that Christianity is not solely personified by Biblical fundamentalists and literalists, of the vociferous kind most usually found, but not exclusively so, in the U.S.A., but that Christianity has many complementary and overlapping strands, and that the vast majority of Christians belong to the mainstream churches such as, but not limited to, the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic Communion, the Orthodox Communion and the Coptic Communion, or to one of the smaller mainstream churches such as, but, again, not limited to, the Armenian, the Ethiopian, the Georgian, the Melkite and the various churches of the Thomine (founded by the Apostle Thomas) traditions.

However, it doesn’t matter which denomination of Christianity one belongs to for all Christians, regardless of the precise nature of their beliefs, are at risk of their lives being removed from them by the Mohammedans. The risk, of course, is much greater for those Christians who live in the those areas of the world that the Mohammedans have illegally occupied – actually, that is anywhere that one finds Mohammedans, for the devil and his willing human helpers have no place on this earth that they, or satan, can legally call home.

Mohammedanism and its followers cannot allow Christianity, and Christians, to survive in the long term, for Christianity gives the lie to almost everything that Mohammedanism preaches. It points up the falsity of Mohammedan beliefs by offering a vision of G-d that portrays the Creator as loving, kind and forgiving – everything, in other words, that allah is not. Christianity has evolved, or is still evolving, concepts of tolerance and toleration of such differences as those between men and women, straights and gays, adults and children, able-bodied and disabled, blacks and whites, basically, tolerance is believed to be a good thing and is routinely practiced by almost all who would call themselves Christian.

Mohammedanism is completely different; it is the most intolerant belief system ever invented – it preaches that the total domination of the patriarchal, heterosexual male is good; it preaches that it is permissible to have sex with nine year old girls; it preaches that slavery is acceptable and that a man may have sex with his slaves as well as with his wives; it preaches that non-Mohammedans have no rights and may be killed without incurring any penalty; it preaches that theft from non-Mohammedans is not theft but that a Mohammedan has a right to any and all of the property of any non-Mohammedan. Everything that Mohammedanism preaches is so obviously inhuman that such teachings can only have come from one place – the pit of hell. It is a standard Christian belief that the devil itself put Mohammedan teachings on this earth and it always has been since Mohammedanism first appeared – see the second half of this post for an explication around that point.

All that having been said, we Christians have to ask ourselves just where that leaves Mohammedans. The simple answer is that they are dupes of the devil. Some are willing dupes, some are, no doubt, going to be rewarded by being given back their positions in hell when they die, some simply are going to go to hell for the evil that they have willingly committed. However, the vast bulk of the nine hundred million or so Mohammedans are simply going to have to face G-d and be corrected in their beliefs. They are not evil people and many of them sense, to a limited degree, that there is an evil in their lives – and that is why so many of them behave so strangely: it is difficult to be rational when the soul instinctively knows of an evil that the intellect refuses to acknowledge – but mostly they cannot break free from the baleful influence of Mohammedanism. Some do, and that breaking away from the devil’s clutches often costs them dearly. Many leave Mohammedanism in private and lead a secret Christian life (to do otherwise is to risk their lives and, as you will see from the example of my saint for the third of May, below, that is justified by teachings recorded in the Bible at II Kings 5:17-19 and John 3), and of the many who turn to Christ for the love that they need some will, in future, stand out as brave souls, as saints. We know that Father Zakaria’s outreach to the Mohammedans has been spectacularly successful, and there are many others working in that field who are also having great success.

That, however, is only part of the answer to the question of where that leaves the Mohammedans. One of the most important places that that leaves a Mohammedan is in the place in our hearts and intellect where we recognise another human being. It is not permissible to kill Mohammedans willy-nilly, as they do to us, simply because they worship the devil. It is not permissible to sell them into slavery, as they do to us, simply because they elevate a demon into a prophet. It is not permissible to do to them the same unspeakably vile things that they inflict upon us. Christian teachings are quite clear about that. What is permissible is that we should demonstrate the love of G-d to them, that we should make every peaceful attempt that we can to convert them away from Mohammedanism, and that we should be as charitable to them as we must be to any of our non-Mohammedan neighbours.

There are, of course, circumstances when it is permissible for a Christian to use violence and each and every Christian will have a slightly different idea about just what circumstances will allow him, or her, to exercise the option of physical resistance or attack. However, consider the following passage of Christian teaching as recorded in the Bible at Romans Chapter 12:

"(Verse 17) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. (18) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (20) Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.(21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." – KJV.

That teaching is so far removed from anything that you will find in Mohammedanism that almost all Mohammedans struggle to understand it. The conditions under which Christians can use violence have been worked out over the many Christian centuries of our existence. Clearly, the Christian ideal is the total elimination of war and the outbreak of brotherly love amongst all people. However, in this imperfect world, war may be forced on those who do not desire it. Saint Augustine (AD354 – AD430) and Saint Thomas Aquinas (AD1225 – AD1274) are primarily responsible for formulating the theory of the Just War, which has remained the majority mainstream Christian approach to war and violence to this day. There are many variations on the Just War theory, but these are the basics:

(i) There must be a just cause for the war.

(ii) War must be waged only in response to certain, grave and lasting damage inflicted by an aggressor.

(iii) The motive for war must be advancement of good or avoidance of evil.

(iv) The ultimate objective of war must be to bring peace.

(v) Revenge, revolt, a desire to harm, dominate, or exploit and such similar things are not justifications for war.

(vi) Every possible means of peacefully settling the conflict must be exhausted first.

(vii) There must be serious prospects of success; bloodshed without hope of victory cannot be justified.

(viii) The war must be declared by a legitimate authority. Private individuals or groups should seek redress of their rights through their governments, not by acts of war.

(ix) The war must not cause greater evil than the evil to be eliminated.

(x) Non-combatants (civilians) must not be intentionally harmed.

(xi) Prisoners and conquered peoples must be treated justly.

Basically, acts of random violence against Mohammedans by aggrieved individual Christians are not permitted – no matter that Mohammedans routinely, and for their own perverted pleasure, perpetrate individual acts of random violence against Christians because the koran and hadith tell them to. Obviously, eventually it is possible that we will exhaust all the peaceful defences that we have against the demonic Mohammedan belief system, and then condition (vi) will have been satisfied and the other conditions will have to be examined – and probably at some speed. However, let us pray that it never comes to that and that the love of G-d prevails even over the wiles of the devil that have entrapped countless millions into the satanic creed of Mohammedanism and put their souls in jeopardy.

Violence is seldom the answer to anything, although Mohammedans believe otherwise. The saints that I have drawn to your attention over the past seventeen weeks, and those that I will draw to your attention throughout the remaining thirty-five weeks of this year, G-d willing, all understood that the message of Christ is one of peace. That must be our message too, but not necessarily at the expense of our very existence. So, let us see what this weeks saints will bring to us.

Saint Cyril of Turov, also known as Kirill of Turov, is my chosen saint for the twenty-eighth of April. He was born sometime around AD1130 and is reckoned to have died of natural causes in AD1182. However, there is a small problem with that information – it may not be entirely accurate. The only details of his life are to be found in an absolutely pro-forma entry in an Eastern synaraxium which is a formulaic composition that draws heavily on the hagiographic conventions of the day and yields very few historical details, and that wasn’t even written until at least one hundred years after Cyril’s supposed death date.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a Cyril who was a very holy man – in fact, there were quite a few of them. There was certainly a monk called Kirrill (the Russian version of the name ‘Cyril’) who was born to wealthy parents and who was, as a consequence, fluent in Greek and Russian, and who had read heavily in all the sacred works. This monk was later known as a Bible scholar. When this Kyrill was grown, he renounced his inheritance and became a monk in the Turov Borisoglebsk monastery where he wrote about the monastic life (some of his works have survived down the centuries). The birth and death dates may apply to this sainted monk.

We also know that this monk thought that even the monastic life was too distracting and the legend says that he became a hermit on a pillar. Apparently, his simple life and scholarly background, combined with his reputation for sanctity, drew many would-be followers. The problem is that it is also claimed that this monk went on to become the Bishop of Turov and the correspondent of, and counsellor to, Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky on spiritual matters and relations between the Church and state; and it is further claimed that he was also a renowned orator and preacher (usually on the Passion and the Resurrection) and that he spent his later years writing on spiritual matters. All that is good as far as it goes, but there is very little historical proof of that short biography, and it does seem a little odd that an ascetic monk would consent to be elected to a bishopric and move back into the world from his calm and spiritual life.

There was a learned monk called Kyrill who wrote a few things that have survived, but the rather large corpus of work attributed to him as having been written in his later years is generally reckoned by scholars to belong amongst the written works of the other Kirills and any given work can usually be allocated to one of the several other Kirills and Cyrils: Cyril of Jerusalem (circa. AD315-AD386); Cyril of Alexandria (died AD444); Cyril of Scythopolis (mid-sixth century); Constantine-Cyril, apostle of the Slavs (d. AD869); Metropolitan Kirill I of Kiev (AD1223–AD1233); Metropolitan Kirill II of Kiev (AD1243–AD1290); and Bishop Kirill of Rostov (AD1231–AD1262). There are also numerous Kirills and Cyrils whom scholars know to have been active, but who were not recorded by chroniclers and hagiographers.

Most scholars don’t believe that the good and holy monk called Cyril, or Kirill, was ever made Bishop of Turov, although somebody called Kyrill was so consecrated at about the right time. It is also not believed that our monk was ever the advisor to a prince, nor that he was the one who wrote all the works on spiritual matter that are attributed to a Kyrill.

The ancient wooden Orthodox All Saints Church in Turov.
Photograph by Pulkassa.

The same Church as the in the picture above, photographed over one hundred
 years ago from a different angle. Photograph by Isaak Serbov (AD1871 – AD1943),
 the Belarussian renowned photo-ethnographer. Note the reconstruction
 of the tower that took place circa 1906.

So, this saint is real enough – there was a holy and sainted monk called Cyril or Kirill – but his life story is a mish-mash of lots of other life stories of other saints and ordinary people – a composite, if you like, of many different stories. After eight hundred and plus some years of confusion and pious fabrication it’s become almost impossible to tease out the real facts of this saint’s life. I hesitate to say that I agree entirely with the scholars, for, as I have said in previous posts in this series, there can often be a grain of truth in the tales that do come down to us. The story of this saint, or these saints, is so much of a mess and confusion that really only G-d knows the truth of the matter – and that, really, is the point; G-d will listen to our prayers regardless of whether or not the saint whose intercessory prayers we ask for are added to our own ever existed, for we have Christ’s promise on that. Anyway, Kyrill the monk would not have minded the confusion and the anonymity because it’s a hallmark of the deeply spiritual that they are usually humble and self-effacing. However, we do know that the contemporaries of the monk called Kirill regarded him as a saint and so, once again, we have to trust the judgement of our Christian forebears and say that, today, Cyril, or Kirill, the monk is rightly remembered as a saint.

On the twenty-ninth of April I want to briefly remember Saint Dichu, or Dictinus as he is sometimes called. He was the son of an Ulster chieftain and the first convert of Saint Patrick in Ireland. Born in the last decade of the fourth century, he succeeded to the petty kingdom of Lecale. On Saint Patrick's arrival at Tubber Slain (the estuary of the river Slaney near Loch Cuan – Strangford Lough), in AD432, Dichu, then a pagan, strongly opposed his landing, and even attacked the Saint, but somehow the Saint reached out to him and he was miraculously touched with Divine grace and embraced the Faith.

Dichu, after his baptism, presented Saint Patrick with the Sabhall (pronounced ‘Saul’, and it means a large barn or building so, by extension, ‘the place of the large building’), for a church, and thus Saul became the first Irish foundation of the national apostle, being afterwards known as Sabhall-Padhraic (Saul Patrick in the present County Down in Northern Ireland). Saul was a particular favourite place of Saint Patrick, and he frequently sought a resting-place there during his arduous missionary labours.

Saint Dichu, from the day of his conversion, was, it seems, a model of sanctity and he went from being a man of warlike proclivities to being a man of peace. The details of his later career are obscure, but we know that two of his sons, who had been detained as hostages by Laoghaire, King of Ireland, were released at the prayer of Saint Patrick. Dichu's feast is noted in the 'Martyrology of Donegal' as 'Diochu of Sabhall'. Well, everyone has to start somewhere and Saint Dichu was Saint Patrick’s first convert. Today, he is still rightly remembered as a saint.

Saint Patrick’s Church, Saul, today. Photograph by Michael Kooiman.

Statue of Saint Patrick on the crest of Slieve Patrick as viewed
from Saint Patrick’s Church (picture above). Photograph by Ardfern.

On this day I also want to memorialise Saint Peter Verona, who is also sometimes known as Peter Martyr or Peter of Verona or Peter the Martyr. He was born in AD1205 at Verona in Italy. It seems that his family may have had some sympathy with the Cathar heresy – a heresy that said that there were two G-ds, one of the spiritual realm and the other being the creator of all things physical, and that further stated that the souls of humans were actually Angel’s souls trapped in human bodies and condemned to re-incarnate until freed in a ritual known as the Consolamentum. Catharism, like the Paulician heresy that it closely resembles, is just a confusion of Babylonian Manicheaism (a pagan religion that originated in and around Babylon about three hundred years after Christ) and the barely understood Christianity of the uneducated, much like some types of voodoo are.

There is, of course, no evidence for many of the Cathar beliefs excepting in pagan writings, but what put the Cathars beyond the pale is that they attempted to blend their pagan beliefs with Christianity and in so doing they took over many Christian parishes. Incidentally, it’s from Manichaeism that Mohammedans derive many of their beliefs for the koran is basically Manichaen beliefs and philosophy (overlaid with some other weirdnesses) that the third Abbasid ruler of Babylon incorporated into the immoral Mohammedan belief system before attempting to destroy the Manichaeans within his domains, and the very title that the Mohammedans ascribe to their vile demon of a so-called prophet, ‘Seal of the Prophets’, is a Manichaean title from that time.

In our modern world the Cathars have been given almost a free pass. This has happened because of the way that the Church at the time put an end to their heresy. The methods employed against the Cathars were, by our standards, and perhaps even by the standards of the day, nasty and brutal. The crusade that was preached against them – the Albigensian Crusade – destroyed thousands of them in its resulting military actions and the survivors were rounded up and done to death as heretics over the next two hundred years. However, let’s not run away with the idea that the Cathars were the meek and non-violent guys that were slaughtered by the big bad wolf of Christianity, because that’s not true. They were just as violent and horrible in their treatment of their enemies as the crusaders were in their treatment of the Cathars. Indeed, the Cathars started the whole violent shebang by murdering the Pope’s legate, Pierre de Castelnau, in AD1208.

However, let’s get back to the life our saint. He was educated in a Catholic school and at the University of Bologna in Italy. He embraced orthodox Christianity upon hearing the teaching of Saint Dominic and became a Dominican at the age of sixteen and he was received into the Order by Saint Dominic. He became a Priest and a noted and inspiring preacher in the Lombard region. He spoke often against the Catharists. In Church circles he was called a ‘Second Paul’ because he turned away from heresy and then tried to convert his former confreres. He was assigned to preach against Manichaeanism, and he evangelised throughout Italy.

However, the Cathars, the people from our history whose ‘plight’ has been so romanticised by modern film-makers and authors, in AD1252 murdered Saint Peter Verona on a road near Milan in Italy by stabbing him through the heart and driving an axe into his head. Murdering people that they didn’t like was a well-known Cathar trademark. Any way, Peter was interred in the mausoleum of the church of Saint Eustorgio in Milan, and miracles have been reported at his tomb ever since.

Saint Peter Verona’s tomb in the Portinari Chapel in
Saint Eustorgio’s Church in Milan. Photo by Tango7174.

He is the Patron Saint of Inquisitors, midwives, Castelleone di Suasa in Italy, the Diocese of Verona in Italy, Guaynabo, and Puerto Rico. It is interesting to note that Carino, the principal Cathar assassin of Saint Peter, later repented and confessed his crime. He converted to orthodoxy and eventually became a lay brother in the Dominican convent of Forlì in Italy, and he is the subject of a local cultus as the Blessed Carino of Balsamo. Although many hard-of-thinking people today would say that Peter Verona is a controversial person because of his stand against the heresy of Catharism I don’t subscribe to that revisionist view. Peter died in and for the Faith and I believe that, today, he is rightly remembered as a saint.

On the thirtieth of April the memories of three of the Martyrs of Cordoba are celebrated, Saints Amator, Peter and Louis. These three were martyred at Cordoba by the Mohammedan illegal occupiers of the Iberian Peninsula sometime between the years of AD850 and AD859, as were many others. It is generally accepted that these three men in particular were murdered in AD855. The debauched Mohammedans dragged them into court on trumped up and spurious charges and sentenced them to death by being beheaded and that’s really all that we know about them for certain. They died for and in the Faith and are rightly remembered as saints: in your prayers remember them and the millions of other Christians who have been murdered by the depraved and lunatic Mohammedans throughout the ages.

On this day I want to commemorate also Saint Adjutor of Vernon, who is sometimes called Adjoutr, or Ajutre, or Ayutre. He was born in Normandy sometime in the late eleventh Christian century and it’s generally assumed that he was the Lord of Vernon-sur-Seine in Normandy. That he was a Norman knight in the glorious First Crusade against the foul Mohammedans in AD1095 is indisputable. It was during this wonderful Crusade that he was captured by Mohammedans who tried to force him to abandon his Faith. We know that he escaped and that at some point during his escape he had to swim to gain his freedom. He returned to France and later he became a Benedictine monk, in the Tironensian Order, in fact, sometimes known as The Grey Monks due to the colour of their habits, at Tiron in France. He was a reclusive Hermit in his later years and he died, entirely naturally, in AD1131. His intercessory help is often invoked against drowning and he is the Patron Saint of drowning victims, sailors, swimmers, swimming, yachtsmen, and, naturally, Vernon in Normandy in France.

That Adjutor was steadfast in the Faith and that he was a soldier in the glorious Crusades and that he resisted the blandishments of his pagan Mohammedan captors is enough, I think, for us to say that, today, he is rightly remembered as a saint.

I have reached May Day in my Kalendar and I am going to memorialise Saint Romanus of Baghdad. We don’t know exactly when he was born, but it must have been in the early years of the eighth Christian century. He was born in Galatia, which was an area in the central highlands of Anatolia that is now in Mohammedan illegally occupied Turkey and was the area that the Galli (a Celtic race) settled about the year 300BC. The Epistle to the Galatians that was written by Saint Paul of Tarsus is addressed to the Christian churches in this area and we know that Galatia was initially Christianised by him, Saint Silas and Saint Timothy.

Incidentally, 'The Dying Gaul' statue in the Capitoline Museum at Rome, which is an ancient Roman marble copy of a Hellenistic work of the late third century BC that was probably cast in bronze, celebrates the victory of Attalus I of Pergamon over the Galatians of Anatolia.

‘The Dying Gaul’ in the Capitoline Museum at Rome. Photograph by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT.

Romanus was a monk in Bythynia, an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis (the Sea of Marmara), the Bosphorus Strait and the Euxine (today the Black) Sea. Whilst out on business for his monastery, or on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he was captured by the Mohammedans who were trying, with some success at the time, to take over all over the Middle East. He was sent to Baghdad and there he was accused, in the usual Mohammedan paranoid manner, of being a spy.

A local Christian, whose name has not – regrettably – come down to us, paid a ransom to have Romanus released. This was done but with the condition that he remain in Baghdad to ensure that he did not return to ‘spying’. Romanus spent his time in Baghdad working with the many thousands of apostate Christians that he found there who had been forced into the vile beliefs of their Mohammedan conquerors at sword point, and who wanted desperately to return to the Faith. Naturally, the vile and disgusting Mohammedan rulers said that such work was a crime and they murdered Romanus in AD780 by cutting his throat.

What we know about Romanus comes from a biography (Vita) written shortly after his death and preserved for us in the Georgian language1. We know, as well, that by the time of his Martyrdom there was a reasonably strong Melkite Christian presence in Baghdad (mostly captured Christians who were sold as slaves and their descendants). Some scholars think that it was to this Catholicate that Saint Romanus attempted to return the lost Christians that he encountered. It is obvious from his vita and from what we know all too well about the awful behaviour of Mohammedans, that Romanus was killed for and in the Faith. Today, he is rightly remembered as a saint.

On the second of May I commemorate Princess The Blessed Mafalda of Portugal (Mafalda is the Portuguese for Matilda). She was the daughter of King Sancho I of Portugal and the sister of Saint Theresa of Portugal and Saint Sancha of Portugal.

She was born in AD1184 in a Portugal that was involved in the wars to reclaim the Iberian Peninsula from the thieving Mohammedans so, to seal an alliance with the neighbouring kingdom of Castile, a marriage was arranged between Princess Mafalda and King Henry I of Castile. He was a small boy and she was around thirty years of age and they were married in AD1215. Pope Innocent III annulled the marriage in AD1216 because they were actually too closely related.

Mafalda returned to Portugal in AD1222, and entered the Benedictine convent in Arouca. In AD1223 she helped introduce the Cistercian Rule to the convent, and was known for her strict adherence to the Cistercian way. She helped restore the cathedral in Oporto, Portugal, and she founded a hospice for pilgrims and a hospital for poor widows in Arouca. Arouca was almost a frontier town in the battle against the evil Mohammedans and the presence of the Princess often served to bolster the courage of the inhabitants in difficult times. The Castle of Monte Valinhas was erected at about this time on the hilltop of the same name overlooking Arouca as part of the defences against the Mohammedans (it was abandoned as no longer needed at the end of the thirteenth Christian century).

Mafalda died in AD1257 in the Monastery at Rio Tinto in the extreme north of Portugal. In AD1617 they exhumed her body in order to return it to Arouca and they found it to be incorrupt. Mafalda is, today, rightly remembered as a saint throughout Portugal, not only for her sanctity but also for her steadfast support of her people in their struggle against the criminal Mohammedans.

The third of May brings us to the memorial for Saint Ahmed the Calligrapher. We don’t know when he was born but he lived in Constantinople during the seventeenth Christian century where he was an official calligrapher in the Ottoman Turkish government and a Mohammedan.

Ahmed owned a Russian concubine whom he allowed to attend one of the Greek Orthodox churches in Constantinople. In time Ahmed began to notice that whenever his Russian concubine returned from church she was far more gracious and loving than she was before going. Intrigued by this, Ahmed obtained permission to attend the Ecumenical Patriarch's celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Constantinople. Due to his status and identity, his request was not refused, and he was given a special place when he attended.

During the Divine Liturgy, Ahmed believed that he saw light beaming onto the heads of the Christian faithful from the fingers of the Ecumenical Patriarch when he blessed them with his trikirion2 and dikirion2, but not onto his own head. Amazed by this miracle, Ahmed requested and received Holy Baptism sometime after.

Thereafter Ahmed lived a secret Christian life (this being justified by II Kings 5:17-19 and John 3). We do not know what happened in the period after his baptism, but I like to think, because I'm just an old romantic, that Ahmed's love for the concubine who had led him indirectly to the Faith blossomed. It is also likely that he met with a spiritual father to learn more about the Faith he had adopted and the Lord he now served.

Whatever happened during this period we don’t really know, but we do know that one day a group of arguing officials asked Ahmed for his opinion in their dispute about Mohammedanism as opposed to Christianity. Naturally, Ahmed supported Christianity and consequently he was asked if he was a Christian. He said that he was and since it was and is against the devil-given belief laws of the crazy Mohammedans to leave that demon inspired faith he was then subjected to torture and was martyred on this day in AD1682 by being beheaded. Today, Ahmed is rightly remembered as a saint who died for and in the Faith.

On the fourth of May we must commemorate the Blessed Ladislas of Gielniów, who is also known as the Apostle of Lithuania, or the Lithuanian Apostle, or Wladyslaw of Gielniów. He was born sometime around AD1440 at Gzieno in Poland. He was educated at the University of Cracow in Poland and he joined, in AD1464, the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Observant at Warsaw that had recently been founded by Saint John Capistrano.

He served as doorkeeper in his monastery and eventually was ordained a priest. He was elected Provincial of his Order in AD1487 and again in AD1496. He sent Franciscan missionaries to Lithuania and their work brought many schismatics back to the Church. He was a noted preacher and he travelled across Poland, evangelising from one end to the other. His favourite prayer was the Seraphic Rosary, sometimes called the Franciscan Rosary, or the Rosary of the Seven Joys of Our Lady, which is a rosary consisting of seven decades in commemoration of the Seven Joys of the Virgin, videlicet: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity of Jesus, the Adoration of the Magi, the Finding in the Temple, the Resurrection of Jesus, and finally, either or both the Assumption of Mary and the Coronation of the Virgin3.

In AD1498 Poland was in great danger of being overwhelmed by an army of 70,000 Mohammedan Tartars, who were allies of the Mohammedan Turks. The Blessed Ladislas appealed to the frightened population, asking them to pray and believe in G-d. Prior to the enemies' arrival the rivers overflowed and flooded the region. This was followed by freezing weather that turned the water to ice. Then came snow, and thousands of the enemy died. Those who survived the weather were defeated in battle by Prince Stephen of Poland and his troops. Victory was attributed to the Christian warriors and to the prayer campaign that had been led by Ladislas.

Church of the Blessed Ladislaus of Gielniow at Gielniow in Poland.

He lived for another six years after the successful repulsion of the ghastly Mohammedans and he died on Good Friday in AD1505. Today, Ladislas is rightly remembered as a sainted person in Poland and amongst Christians everywhere who are fighting against the filthy incursions of the debauched and blaspheming Mohammedan horde.

Footnotes:

1) The Georgian version of the 'Martyrdom of Romanus the Neomartyr' is preserved in two Manuscripts:

a) MS Tbilisi, Kekelidze Institute of Manuscripts; Georg. A 95, fols. 440v-454r (11th c.) and

b) MS Mount Athos, Iviron Monastery; Georg. 8 (57) (10th c.), fols. 273v-293r.

In the early twentieth Christian century the Georgian text was published only from one manuscript, then it appeared in Russian and Latin translations. I am indebted to Professor Mariam Nanobashvili, Associate Professor at Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Oriental Studies, for her excellent work on the manuscripts, see her paper: ‘Towards the Renewed Interest in the Martyrdom of Romanus the Neomartyr’ delivered at the Conference on Current Advances in Caucasian Studies at Macerata in Italy on the 21st – 24th January, AD2010. See also: ‘S. Romain le Néomartyr (1 mai 780) d’après un document géorgien’ in Analecta Bollandiana Vol. 30 (1911), pp. 393-427, by Paulus Peeters.

2) The dikirion and trikirion are liturgical candlesticks used by a bishop of the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches to bless the clergy and faithful. The words mean 'dual candle' and 'triple candle', respectively, and may also be called by the combined Greek form (in the plural) dik?rotrík?ra. The candlesticks are often quite ornate. The bishop holds the trikirion in his right hand and the dikirion in his left and makes the sign of the cross with both held together to form roughly a crucifix.

3) Praying the rosary is done by many Christians in order to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary and as a repetitive aid to meditation. Repetition frees the mind to contemplate G-d. The Seraphic Rosary is the Mysteries of the Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary – after each mystery, pray one Our Father and ten Hail Marys – which are:

The Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary. (Luke 1: 26-33; 38)

The Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. (Luke 1:39-45)

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus. (Luke 2:1-7 or 2:6-12)

The Adoration of the Magi/Epiphany. (Matthew 2:1-2 & 9-11)

The Finding of our Lord Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:41–51)

The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. (Mark 16:1-7, Luke 24:36-41, John 20:19-22)

The Assumption & Coronation of Mary (Luke 1:46-55, Psalm 45 (44):11-14, Rev.12:1;5-6)

It is customary, after the seventh mystery, to pray two Hail Marys to bring the total number to seventy-two in honour of the tradition that the Virgin lived for seventy-two years on earth. See here, also.

clear
Posted on 04/28/2013 10:18 PM by John M. Joyce
clear
clear
Showing 21-41 of 394 [Previous 20] [Next 20]