“Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.” - koran 9:5

I said this a year ago, it's time for Dick Clark to step aside.
He now LOOKS like the now 78 year old man he is. In 1992 Reagan realized it was time to step out of the spotlight, and he did.
It is time for Dick Clark to do the same. Regis Philbin did a fine job in 2004 when Dick was in the hospital after his stroke. I don't blame Dick for trying for just one more, I blame Disney for not having the cojones to tell him ''Sorry, but it's over''.
I feel like I'm staring at a car wreck when I see Dick Clark now. If he's returns for 2008, I won't be so kind then...
So like others have I'll toss out some predictions of my own:
''Iraq'': It's got to the point where I even think about that four-letter word I launch into a rant.
This'll be no exeption. I've seen the term ''an important milestone'' correctly disparaged, but actually there ARE two ''important milestones'' in regards to ''iraq'': It has taken longer than WWII and as of today 3,000 Americans have died in this endeavor.
And it forces the inevitable question: AND WHAT DO WE HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT?
An ''iraq'' that is peaceful, civilized and loves America? If you belive THAT then you need to quit doing dope. Seek treatment, please.
I've watched ''iraq'' go from chaos, to outright anarchy. And now it appears that state of anarchy is resolving itself the way it always has and always will: With the emergence of a dictator to seize control. The execution of saddam also officialy ushered in his replacement; Muqtada Al-Sadr.
The King is dead. Long live the King. It is quite plain that al-sadr is the de facto ruler of ''iraq''. And just like his predicessor, the ''government of Iraq'' exsists to be little more than to be a rubber stamp for whatever the ruler decides. EXACTLY what the ''government of iraq'' was BEFORE March 20, 2003.
And in every possible way the new ruler of ''iraq'' is worse than the old one. The new ruler of ''iraq'' is an ally of Iran. You can't claim saddam was. The old ruler could do nothing but flee in the face of the US Army and Marines, the new one has been given the power to countermand the operations of them. The old sunni despot had a free hand to do the shi'ites whatever he pleased. The new shi'ite despot is treating the sunnis the same way. The old one wielded power through a sense of Pan-Arab nationalism. The new one is ''talibanizing'' his kingdom as fast as he can. More and more reports are documenting ''the plight of Christians in iraq''.
From Dr. Laurie Roth Ph.D., who has been very ''gung ho'' about ''operation iraqi freedom'':
Last night I interviewed Dr. Paul Williams, an FBI trainer and terrorism analyst. He shared tragic information about numerous Syrian Christians in Iraq being targeted and slaughtered by Iraqi authorities because of Islamic law. Many had been decapitated by Iraqi authorities. Hundreds more have fled the country as refugees. I have heard none of this in the news, not that we would hear any truth from our media about the various real dramas going on in Iraq. Why do that when you can position Iraq coverage only to manipulate votes away from Bush and His supporters. Here this whole time I have been under the impression we were building a fragile, but true democratic government style, not Taliban like Islamic law that wipes out Christians and anyone falling under the high and impossible bar from hell. Why has this never made the news over here? This needs to be addressed as an emergency in Iraq. If they want to be Islamic that is their deal, but are we rescuing and rebuilding their country to have all the non-Islamic residents rounded up and slaughtered? I think not!!!!!!!!
Boldface mine. And the reason I did was to say to Dr. Roth one word: GOOGLE!!!
Another undeniable fact: Under saddam, life wasn't too bad for Christians there. Hell, one iraqi Christian was saddam's No. 2 man! And what makes it worse is the reality that there is little we can do to help them. I am absoultely opposed to America taking them in as ''refugees''.
That would be disastrous for the USA. Becuase as soon as we begin taking in iraqi Christians as refugees, we would have sunni iraqis ALSO demanding refuge in America. Not to mention the fact that still more iraqis WILL ALSO CLAIM to be ''opressed iraqi Christians'' as their ticket to America. Hugh Fitzgerald put it so well:
But we have had quite a demonstration of how the Iraqis think and behave. It has been edifying. And the officers and men of the American military, who have served in Iraq, ought to be consulted first about whether or not they think that we "owe Iraqis" something and whether or not they think tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Muslims should be allowed to settle in our country, or for that matter other Infidel lands.

The response of those officers and men should be instructive.
The Boston Globe article I linked to states that the US has ''a policy that authorizes only 500 Iraqis to be resettled here next year''. If that FOR ANY REASON (including ''Christian compassion'') changes America IS IN DEEP TROUBLE!!!
We will be FLOODED with ''iraqi refugees'' including ''iraqi refugees'' that seek ''to get even with America for what it did to iraq''. We could literally see ''iraqis'' that were shooting and bombing American soldiers yesterday coming here as ''refugees'' tomorrow. With instead of 140,000+ potential American targets they will have 300 MILLION+ potential American targets to attack.
Call me ''cold-hearted'', I DON'T CARE.

I also see ''it's the MSM's fault'' nonsense. From NRO:
In Iraq, the press will continue its successful anti-American offensive. By year’s end, a special ops team of New York Times theatre critics will announce that the war in Afghanistan is also lost and call for David Geffen to lead negotiations with the Taliban.
Just reading (or hearing) THAT CRAP also now makes my blood boil. So I offer a challenge to the ''Junk Food Conservitives'' that vomit that nonsense out:
Which employee of [pick one: NYT, WaPo, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, AP, Reuters, or other] SHOT AND KILLED Spc. Dustin R. Donica by small arms fire in Baghdad?
Because if you bleat out somthing stupid like ''Oh, Wolf Blitzer was the one who shot him'' (or whichever is your favorite MSM whipping boy or girl) I say this; ''Fine, it was Wolf Blitzer who shot him. My Glock is loaded and cocked. I will eventually find Wolf Blitzer and he will eventually go down for killing that soldier.
So ''Junk Food Conservitive'' I ask you again; ''ARE YOU ABSOULTELY, POSITIVELY SURE THAT WOLF BLITZER SHOT SPC. DUSTIN R. DONICA IN BAGHDAD''? Think about your answer to that one VERY CAREFULLY.
Wolf Blitzer isn't the one shooting our soldiers is he? So quit blaming your favorite MSM whipping boy or girl for it. I'm sick of hearing (or reading) THAT CRAP.

My prediction for ''iraq'' is we will continue to muddle along there, continue to watch Americans come home in coffins (or missing body parts), continue to watch the death toll rise, continue to watch al-sadr consolidate power, and continue to hear an increasing call to bring ''opressed iraqis'' to America to give them the new life we promised them.
If THAT is ''victory'' (now it's being called ''success'') we have indeed entered an orwellian exsistance.

''Mexico'' (A.K.A. amnasty):
We have a congress that is eager to do ''comprehensive immigration reform'' (A.K.A amnasty) and a president that was eager to do ''comprehensive immigration refom'' even before he became president. Looks like 2+2=4 to me. Get ready to see bush shake hands with speaker pelosi after signing ''comprhensive immigration reform'' into law.
FACE REALITY, we have a government that is at war with it's own people. I don't wish to see this turn into ''Civil War II'' but it might well come to that. We have an ''elite'' that seems to be commited to making America into 'just another turd world country'. And yes, THAT DOES ANGER ME!!!
A phrase that was common this past summer was ''First, stop the bleeding'' in regards to ''immigration reform''. Needless to say, we did NOT ''stop the bleeding''. In a desprate attempt to maintain control of congress the R's came up with a sham ''fence'' that was little more than just another 'bridge to nowhere'. The Israelis understood what was at stake (their very existance) so even most of the Israeli left decided that ''First, we must stop the bleeding'', and they walled off the arabs. The globalist left decried that as 'cruel' (much the same way as Mexico was calling the proposal to ''fence off'' the US/Mexico border 'cruel'.
If wanting to defend America (and NOT be the world's policeman/social worker/welfare check) makes me 'cruel', fine, SO BE IT.

The other subject I write about from time to time, 'tech' I really haven't had much urge to do so. Not really had all that much to say about it. I'll still tinker with the way this blog looks now and then, but I don't see too many radical changes in 2007 (I'm thinking of ditching the QWIK HITZ! section and logo because I simply don't have the time to deal with updating it anymore. Removing it might be my New Year's resolution).
Other than that, I predict that right before, during and after the Super Bowl The Borg will be plugging the living hell out of Windoze Vista. Had the opportunity to try it out, and am quite unimpressed by it. Not quite ready to call it Windoze ME: The Next Generation, but I'm not exactly eager to ''upgrade'' to it either.
Overhyped, overblown, overpriced. Don't fall for the hype, it just ain't that good. Unless you're an Apple fan (which means this doesn't matter to you) I advise you to wait until it's time to replace your computer to ''upgrade'' to Vista. That's what I intend to do...
A.K.A. Your Image Here - Year In Review:
When I launched this blog I really had little idea what or where it was actully going. It actually began as a 'spinoff' of a Yahoogroup that I was a member of (hence the URL: http://americanfreedoms.blogspot.com/). When it began it had a very generic 'blogger' look that I fully intended to change over time. As you can see, I've been rather successful in that regard (I know HTML what better place to use it than here?). And while I'm pretty satisfied with the way it looks now, it could well change it's appearance now and then in the future.
That 'link list' is an example of most of the blogs and websites that I visit anywhere from daily (about half of them) to infrequently. I read quite a bit every day.
DEC '05-JAN '06:
Many of my opinions were actually quite set when this blog began:
Four reasons I don't like president bush:
1. He LOVES Big Government (and outspends the other liberal president from Texas, LBJ)
2. He is so stupid that he doesn't know what the word VETO means.
3. He calls FUTILE ''nation-building'' efforts defending America.
4. He calls those who actually defend America from mexico's colonization of it ''vigilantes'':
Note: Because it was only 'up' for one week in 2005, I include those posts here. I rang in 2006 online as well.
And began the year with the skepticism I have approached the ''war on terror'' that I've had for years.
I showed why I tend to avoid making perdictions; I thought it would be IRAN that would successfuly test a thermonuclear device before 2007. I was correct in my prediction that a country that didn't have ''the bomb'' would test one. Turned out it was north korea. It also marked the first time a post appeared both on this blog and the Yahoogroup.
By the middle of January my realistic opinion of ''iraq'' was starting to rub the JFC's in that Yahoogroup the wrong way:
Yet we continue to try to teach the pig to sing...
UPDATE:I got a very terse email from ''Thomas Sylvester'' (no, I WON'T post his email addy here, nor will I give it to you. So don't bother asking).

I was QUITE INSULTED BY THIS. I explained WHY I thought the Mission has been completed and I get A SIX WORD dismissal. No explanation, (I provided one) just:

Mission is not done. That simple.
-------Original Message-------

I am sick and tired of the phrase ''Cut and run''. How 'bout ''MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! We're coming home''? We accomplished what we went there to accomplish. Our job is done.
It is now time for the Iraqi people to take charge of their own affairs. Unless you think they need ''more handholding'' by us. We bestowed upon them a Constitution (such as it is) we gave them free elections (and they voted overwhelmingly for an islamic government) and now you argue that ''we are not done''. That forces the question ''OK, so when are we done''?
It is now time to take off the 'training wheels' and let Iraq BE Iraq. We taught them how to fish, now it is time to step back and allow them to fish on their own.
That WAS our purpose in iraq, was it not??? WE WON!!! Mr. President, ''bring 'em home'' and allow us to begin THE VICTORY parades that our loyal troops HAVE EARNED.
Mr. President, it is time to take the yellow ribbons off the trees and allow us to welcome our fellow Americans home with open arms and joy!!!
''Suzito1'' wrote:
In a message dated 1/14/2006 11:58:25 P.M. Central Standard Time, newsveiws writes:
That forces the question: If we can't ''teach the pig to sing'' why are we continuing to try?

So I take it that you do not believe that freedom is an innate desire in most humans and that you want to fight terrorism on our shores instead of theirs?
This is the warped mentality that began to sour me on that Yahoogroup. And to answer the question above, YES. EXACTLY.
January ended with a rant at that Yahoogroup that tried to explain where I was coming from.
It didn't work.
Began with what is now commonly known as ''the cartoon riots'' where moslims around the world made it quite clear that they were really angry over what by ''western'' standards were pretty tame stuff. Like other bloggers I posted them. I also included my opinion on what message the artist was trying to deliver on each one.
If anything this event cemented my point of view on ''iraq''. What we saw in London are the same kind of people that we are trying ''to win the hearts and minds'' of in ''iraq''.
How are we going ''to win the hearts and minds'' of moslims in ''iraq'' when moslims in London are stating their intentions plainly :

These ARE the same kind of people we are actually expending THOUSANDS of American lives to ''free'' in ''iraq'' and Afghanistan. And if it ain't working in London or what has become known as ''Dearbornistan'':

HOW THE HELL are we going to get it to work in ''iraq'' or Afghanistan? All we are doing is getting good Americans killed and maimed for no good reason.
And that's what makes my blood boil.
Belive it or not I am also ''a geek'', tech facinates me. Always has. In that regard I had the ability to report on something that actually qualified as news.
I really did want to belive that St. Cloud could have free, wireless ''high speed internet service'' citywide. But to be honest, I had set up a WI-FI router of my own and was able to test this in ''real-world'' conditions. And that's when I learned that while this might be good PR for the city it's not actually practical. At best WI-FI can connect at a distance of 100 to 150 feet (a decent connection is only realistic at 50 feet or less). That obviously makes ''blanketing'' a city of any size with WI-FI (''free'' or not) pretty much impossible. If WI-FI had the range of a typical cell phone that would be possible. But it does not.
As noted above Your Image Here was not the original name of this blog. It came about quite by accident. Vox Day made the offer ''link my blog, send me your URL and I'll add you as a link to my blog''. And as a regular reader of his blog I did. At the time the format of my blog was still ''under construction''. When he linked me he did so as ''Your Image Here''.
I thought about correcting him, and as I did I realized ''Your Image Here'' is actually a better name for it than ''AmericanFreedoms''. Blogs tend to have odd names anyway (perfect examples: Little Green Footballs, Brainster's Blog). Now you know where the name came from.
Came in like a lion. The ''divorce'' from the Yahoogroup known as AmericanFreedoms became final. It also cemented the new name ''Your Image Here'' as the name of this blog.
By the time I was ejected the overall theme (that is what the term ''meme'' means) of the Yahoogroup is that of ''bush is the second coming of Jesus, how dare you question him? How dare you say he's wrong?''. My attitude was (and still is) ''Uh, because I'm an American, and I have the Freedoms to do so''. It actually got to the point that it seemed like I was trying to make the argument that 2+2=4 to people who were determined to belive 2+2=5.
I had no interest in putting a photo of myself on this blog. So I decided the next best thing would be to put a pic of my cat here instead. Yeah, I'm ''a cat person''. Always have been. Don't hate dogs, just perfer cats. Nothing wrong with that at all.
As mentioned above, WI-FI has it's limitations. When it came to comparing internet access I was comparing the ''free'' internet access the City of St. Cloud was offering NOT to the DSL that I've had for 3 years now, but to the lame dialup I had before that.
And if the ''free'' WI-FI and an ''el cheapo'' dialup connection were my only options for internet access the ''el cheapo'' dialup would win. I DON'T BLAME St. Cloud for trying, just the opposite, they proved that no matter how much you WANT it to work and how much you TRY to make it work, you can't fit a square peg into a round hole. To this day I'D LOVE to have ''Free Wireless High-Speed Internet Access'' anywhere in the City. But IT WON'T WORK using WI-FI!!!

I'm proud of that one, It was from an actual movie poster, from an actual movie filmed in St. Cloud.
BTW, that is what Connie Mason looked like before I was born, 'nuff said. OTOH, my home was there (as it had been for 40 years before that movie was made). Even then, it was a short walk from my front door to where much of that flick was shot.
BTW, when I found out a neighbor was leeching off my own WI-FI setup, I put a stop to it.
March also began my mission to replace the next to the ''http://'' on the address bar with something more to my liking. It can be done, but it's tough if you want it to work on IE.
As likely everyone knows by now saddam has been executed.
To answer the now infamous TV question ''How do you feel''? My answer is in a word: Nothing.
In fact I agree with Rick Moran, I find those who express joy or gleefulness over ANY execution to be disgusting, vulgar people.
I happend to be listening to rusty humpries's radio show when the news was announced. A guest host from Dallas was taking his place but for the last hour he broke from his vacation to join in to talk about this. The filthy pig could barely contain his glee. Hearing that disgusted me.
Personally I think 'Life no parole' is the a better option than the death penalty but if a government chooses to implement it I take no issue with that. Nor do I take issue with any government that chooses not to.
The statement of bush on it absolutely flabbergasted me though:
Bush said Saddam received a fair trial - "the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime." He said the trial, which ended with Saddam being sentenced to death, was a testament to the Iraqi people's resolve to move beyond decades of oppression and create a society governed by the rule of law.

"Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule," Bush said.
We all know the verdict and sentence had been detrimined the moment he was pulled out of his 'spider hole'. The whole point of the 'trial' was to demonstrate how the western justice system works to the arabs (in an attempt to get them to emulate it).
What it would up being was a showcase of how our attempts to ''westernize'' an arab culture are and will likely remain ultimately futile. It was quite plain saddam knew it was a sham and procceded to turn it into a circus. And in that he quite successful.
Another example of this idiocy is the president's statement that this has become ''an important milestone'' in events in iraq. The phrase ''an important milestone'' has taken enough abuse already.
The only effect saddam's execution will have is purely symbolic. Hugh Fitzgerald details how it will be a minor rallying effect for the sunnis, a moment of pride for the shi'ites and a nudge toward the Kurds to finally wash their hands of this whole social experiment that is being called ''a war'' in the US media. ''The great society'' in America was an unmitigated failure in every way.
It seems to be we have failed to learn that lesson from the 60's and 70's and so now we are trying to repeat this failure in iraq with much, much more tragic and devasting results.
Results that will ultimately put bush in the same category as carter and clinton for devastating our Armed Forces.
One of the things I've been following is the travails Rod Dreher (who is actually doing his job, getting the story and reporting it) in his dealings with a enemy encampment in Dallas TX.
Because ''the powers that be'' will likely remove this quickly I post it here in total:
I wrote here the other day, after our meeting with a group of representatives from the Dallas Muslim community, my version of how the meeting went. I described the Muslim visitors as evasive and defensive. The group's leader, Mohamed Elmougy, wrote back to accuse me of being dishonest, and said I should be fired from the editorial board.

I made a tape recording of the meeting, which was on the record. I've spent quite some time today transcribing most of the meeting. There was nothing controversial discussed until halfway past the 14 minute mark, when I got my first question. What follows on the jump is a full transcript of the conversation thenceforth, which lasted about 50 minutes. Any errors in the transcription are unintentional. I'm going to try to get the soundfile made linkable, so readers can listen to it. I did not have the names of all the Muslim participants, and have indicated when I don't know the name of the person speaking. Also, owing in part to the placement of the tape recorder, and in part to the accents of some of the visitors, parts of the transcript are garbled.

Read below and judge for yourself if I was unfair. It's important to read this.

[transcript begins at the 14 min 30 second mark]

Rod Dreher: There were some things I brought up to you that many of us in this culture, our culture, find objectionable, violent. Like punishing homosexuals by death, by some form of wife beating. I said to you that I find that violent and objectionable. You responded, as I recall, by saying [to me] that what you find violent, we find a form of social defense, of defense of the family. Would you clarify your remarks, and explain them if I’ve misheard them?

Mohamed Elmougy: If I recall correctly, we were talking about how do you as an American cope with some of the positions in the Koran, and reconcile that with living in this country.

RD: No, I think you had asked me why I find Sheikh [Yusuf] Qaradawi to be violent, and I said I went to his website, and he advocates that someone found guilty of homosexuality, that they could be killed. He advocates within certain limits Muslim husbands beating their wives. And I said to you I find that to be violent. And you said that actually, in the Muslim tradition, in the Koranic tradition, this is a form of Muslim society defending itself, and defending the family.

ME: OK, OK. We were talking about the family, and I can kind of repeat what we were talking about for a little bit of education. We were talking about where does Islam stand, and what is the purpose of some of these edicts and some of these traditions that someone like you would find, you know, to be violent. And I think I also talked about how in the Bible, you will find some of these things, the punishment for sodomy, you have stories in the same way, you can find the same thing in the Bible. It’s no different in the Koran. The way we view it, we don’t look at it as violent. We look at it as a deterrent. Example: if you have children – and I think I used that example – if you have a child, and you go put chocolate in front of him, and you know, he knows he’s going to touch that chocolate, and you tell him if you don’t do that, you know, we’re going to reward you, I’m going to take you to soccer practice, or something that he really likes. Or if you do that, we’re not going to go to soccer practice.

It’s not like you enjoy punishing the child. It is that you try to really come up with a deterrent so they don’t do something that, in your case, something you find disruptive to the family.

And I think homosexuality in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and probably in many other religions, is something that many people and the religion itself has issues with. Nothing you or I can do to change that. We don’t view it as violence. We view it as a deterrence.

So when we tell somebody that if you go steal, we’re going to give you three chances. First we’re going to give you a job so you can go earn a living, and I think that’s what happens in Saudi Arabia, because they apply the sharia law probably different from everybody else. And the second time, we’re going to make sure you have enough money, and the third time you’re just doing it for the sake of doing it, not out of necessity, or hunger, or to feed your children, then obviously you will have your hand cut off. To you that may be violent, but we view it as a deterrent.

RD: Do you believe that homosexuals convicted in a sharia court should be killed, or otherwise punished physically?

ME: I don’t condone homosexuality. I have a lot of friends, a lot of people who work for me, just so you know. I don’t go kill them. But, you know, I don’t condone what they do outside of work, so long as it’s something not in front of me. So do I condone the sharia? We don’t apologize for our religion. If that is what our religion says, we certainly accept it open-heartedly.


RD: I understand that [Christianity calls homosexuality a sin]. What concerns me though is what do you believe in *this* society the punishment for those sorts of transgressions should be. Because a lot of us, certainly I speak for myself, you read about the very harsh punishments for violating the moral law – adultery for example – in the sharia, and I wonder what Muslims here really think should happen.

[Unidentified imam]: Who is going to punish anyway, even if the crime is committed?

[garbled talk]

[unidentified Muslim]: You don’t have any authority as Muslims living in north Texas or any state … You have to go through the process of a court hearing, a judge, and the Islamic state ruling in the case.

RD: I guess what I’m wondering though is what you think the role of sharia *should be* in a pluralistic secular society like ours, under ideal circumstances.

[Imam]: As an imam, my whole foundation of dealing with this subject is my concern that somebody within the community is a homosexual. He still have the right to come to the mosque to pray with me, behind me, as the imam, as a member of the community.
But I have to make maybe special effort to educate him about it, to educate myself about it, how to deal with it. That is through the education system. Other than that, I have no authority over anything.

RD: But what do you think *should* be the authority. That’s what I’m asking. In an ideal situation, would you like to see sharia law be the basis for law in this country, and how would you reconcile that –

DMN correspondent Tod Robberson: Or put it another way. In this country, the law of man takes precedence over the law of God. In your opinion, is that the way it should be?

[garbled answer by heavily accented man, saying something to effect that the law is flexible from country to country, but there are some things that we don’t have the authority to change.]

[Ghassan – did not get his last name]: President George Bush feels that he is inspired by God, and based on that he makes his policies. He made that known to us. [crosstalk] President Bush told us that law made by man is not good enough law, that we should be following God’s law.

DMN editorial columnist Bill McKenzie: I have to admit that I’ve followed Bush very closely, and I’ve never heard him say that. Can you tell me where he said that? Of course he talks about his faith, he talks about praying, but I have never heard him –

[Ghassan]: But when he talks about these things as president of the United States, isn’t he implying that, that, that is … so we have a different opinion.

BM: But you’re saying he has come out and said, in effect, that God’s law trumps man’s law and we should follow God’s law. I just have never heard him ever come close to saying that.

[Ghassan]: OK so now we’re talking about literal things, and I understand what you’re saying. So I will go back to Rod and say … Rod has concluded that Islamic law promotes violence, and he cited certain examples, specifically adultery. My question to Rod is, what does he know about the law itself? How did he reach this conclusion? What is the historical evidence that he has gathered? What are the specifics about the law and how it’s implemented?

RD: On adultery?

[Ghassan]: Sure.

RD: Mohamed [Elmougy] told me. Mohamed [Elmougy] brought up something from the hadith, there was a story about a woman, an adulteress who came to the prophet, and he ordered her stoned for her sins.

ME: She wanted to be stoned. He kept sending her back.

RD: But she was stoned, and if I’m remembering correctly, [the Prophet] saw her in paradise. Is that correct?

ME: No, I think you must have read that – I mean, I [garbled] the story, but I think you do a lot of reading on the Internet, and that’s part of the problem. What you’re asking specifically, I think, is such a paranoid view of Islam that you almost give the impression that we’re so bloodthirsty people. And that is my issue with really your writings and your angle on things. That I could do the same thing to Catholicism. And I told you at the beginning that if you’re Catholic, you need to prove to me that you’re not a pedophile, before you’re not. Because certainly it’s not for lack of examples that I have within the church of pedophile priests – and you know we have a congressman who was doing that and he blamed it on his minister or priest – that’s such a narrow approach. That does nothing but create suspicion. That does nothing but alienate our children, who were born and raised here. You could take that angle but you’d be paranoid. You’d be sitting here with me and –

DMN editorial page editor Keven Ann Willey: Let me interject here a minute. You asked us to ask questions, and we’re trying to clarify what I think is a very legitimate difference of interpretation of religion. And I think this is a legitimate question, and Tod framed it in a slightly different way, which kind of helped with that. I don’t know, calling it “paranoid” doesn’t facilitate a full exchange of information here, so I think perhaps going forward, let’s watch our characterization.

RD: Just describe to me your view, the Islamic view, of sharia. What role should sharia play in this society?

ME: [garbled] I don’t sit up all night thinking what the role of sharia needs to be. All I can tell you is that we as American Muslims, living in a non-Muslim country, are ordered to follow the rules of the country that we live in, no matter how much we agree or disagree with. So do I go after you if you’re homosexual, to try to kill you today? No. We haven’t seen that.

So I think to go focus on that and to leave all the other good things that American Muslims are part of, and that the religion is talking about, and only focus on things that to you sound or feel strange is just not the correct approach. Forget paranoid, it’s just not the correct approach. And it does nothing, as I said, but alienate our children from the society that they’re going to be living in, and die in.

My goal at this meeting, and the many other meetings I’ve been involved in, is that we have to kind of snap out of that mood, we as journalists, that we need to really look at us as part of the community. Taxpayers, you know very contributing people of the community, and find out how could we live in harmony. How do we create more understanding and take the myth out of this plan, and Muslims, after September 11, and begin to really look for ways to coexist in this country, as opposed to pointing the finger, and to take one thing from here and there, and to focus on it – as if that’s all we do 24 hours a day. That’s really my issue with some of [Rod’s] writings.

We can sit here today and say OK, what does Catholicism say about homosexuality. What does it say? It is the same thing. It is no different! Now do we go ask the Pope, you know, well listen Pope, what do you feel, do you feel we should go kill them? It’s in that Bible that – no. It’s kind of a very narrow approach. My goal today is to create some kind of comfort level.

We’re not here to defend Islam. Islam doesn’t need our defense. It’s there. Anybody can read it. Anybody can form their opinion. The majority of people, I think, know that we’re peace-loving people, and the folks who committed September 11 are a minority. We’ve said that, we’ve condemned them 50 million times. And we need to move on past that.

One of the issues, since we’re going to ask questions I think it should be a two-way street, that we have with some of the editorials that come out, is that air of suspicion about Islam and Muslims. We need to figure out a way for you, so we can help you get rid of that. But it’s not going to happen by accusing us or trying to corner us on one aspect of punishment in the sharia law and say, “Well folks, why don’t we focus on what the sharia law says about orphans?”

RD: Because it’s an important thing to a lot of Americans, Mohamed, because I think most people want to believe, want to think well of their Muslim neighbors, of Muslim-Americans. But when we see things like this happening overseas, or you see an imam or something in this country who is found to be preaching what strikes a lot of Americans as extremism against homosexuals, or whatever, it concerns people, who want to know where does Islam stand on this. I don’t think it’s a matter of wanting to find something to pick out about Muslim Americans to say “A-ha!” But it’s wondering who is living among us, what do they believe, and how does what they believe fit in with American culture? People think the same thing about the fundamentalist Mormons who are now on trial, their views on polygamy. It is against – it is outside the American mainstream, and people are right to wonder.

[Ghassan]: I believe, and I’ll give you an example from history. As Muslims, we, our ideal examples come either from the Koran or from the traditions of the prophet. These are the two main sources for how we try to model our lives. Our prophet taught us, during the time when the Muslims were oppressed in Mecca, they ordered his followers to migrate to Abyssinia. Abyssinia was ruled by a Christian king. He told them that I know there’s a just king there who will protect you.

So when those Muslims went there, they announced themselves as Muslims, they pleaded their case before the king, they had a debate with a Quraishite who tried to bring them back to Mecca so they could be persecuted further. But the king allowed them to stay, and history tells us those Muslim citizens lived in Abyssinia following the law of the land. That is an important rule for us, and you’ll find if you go after what the [garbled] and jurists, the scholars, they always cite this example, and it’s a very important example.

And for us, to go back and give you an answer, how do I view the sharia applying in the US? It applies perfectly for me. I am supposed to follow the law of the land. That’s No. 1. And everything else fits with the values of the land. Don’t steal. Be kind to the neighbors. All the Ten Commandments that we know, these are things that apply to our lives. There is no difference.

And so that’s exactly how I view the sharia applies to me, and this is how I teach it to my children. And I think we need to demystify that. Now, if an imam today – and certainly I’m not an imam – an imam today, I know this much, that an imam, he cannot, religiously, he cannot apply certain rules that does not fit the law of the land, because this is a non-Muslim country. So certain Islamic rules do not apply here, but it should apply to you as an individual now, but the imam cannot prevent a person who adopted the homosexual lifestyle from coming to the masjid. No, I can’t.

I might disagree with his lifestyle. But guess what? My religion tells me I am obligated to advise that brother or sister that this is not a right lifestyle. If I’m a religious man, I believe in God and I believe that following God’s way is going to take me to a better place, then I need to wish that for everybody else. I should not be faulted for believing that. I should not be faulted for – if I like you as an individual, right, you’re going to blame me one day, ‘Ghassan, if you knew what you had was good, why did you not share it with me?’ You cannot blame me for sharing what I believe is best for all of us with you. I believe that’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

But unfortunately what we do, is we focus on the soundbites. ‘The Muslims cut off the hand.’ Well, my question to you back is tell me what you understand about that particular law. ‘Oh, the Muslims stoned adulterers.’ I’m gonna ask you specifically, tell me what you know about that? Because I have a whole story about that. But what you grabbed is a soundbite. But there’s about maybe 50 pages you need to read to know that during the Prophet, all those punishments people volunteered and came forward and said, ‘Prophet, punish me, I committed this sin.’ [garbled] We know that two individuals, two individuals have to see the actual intercourse taking place. When does that happen? Four, actually four. You see what I’m saying?

We’re not violent people, want to kill everybody, but what we’re saying is listen, if you do these bad things, you really disturb the order of society, and there is going to be a price for it. But it doesn’t mean we go ahead and apply that price every day. I really believe that in your mind you should move away from ‘Islam is violent.’ I don’t want to tell you what to think, but I’m conveying to you what we perceive you’re thinking. Right. If [garbled] says what does Islam offer, right, you can’t just take soundbites. You can investigate, but go nowhere if you focus on soundbites. OK, what is this punishment. Let me read some more about it, let me read some more about it – I guarantee you that your view would change.

RD: Ghassan, that’s the point, though. You say, and I believe [you], that we Muslims believe this is the punishment set down in the Koran, and in Islamic law, whatever, for this violation of the social order – but we don’t apply it in this society. I think what concerns people, or what concerns me, is, OK, do you think it *should* be applied, necessarily, and if you had the power to apply it, would you support the law being changed to bring the principles of Islamic law into US civil law. That’s the thing that concerns me.

ME: Let me take it further. Do you really think we’re here to change America into a sharia…

RD: I’m asking. I honestly don’t know, Mohamed.

ME: Well I hope you don’t think so, because that would be a pretty optimistic, you know, project, you know, that’s – we’re been trying to survive or fend off accusations, for the past six years, about how a ‘fifth column’ we are, not to be trusted, and how everything’s against American principles and so on and so forth. Certainly the last thing in our mind is to go and apply the sharia law and make America a Muslim country. Do people want that? As I told you in the meeting, I would love for you to be a Muslim. I would love for – just like you would love for me to be a Catholic. But that doesn’t mean that all we do here 24 hours a day is the hidden agenda approach that we’re trying to come up with.

I agree that you need to move past that, because once you move past that, I think you’ll have a lot more open mind, to listen to us and really begin to search in depth really what something is so we can move on to other questions. Because you and I can sit – we invited you to the mosque. You’re more than welcome to come. But don’t come with an accusatory tone. Come with an inquisitive tone. There’s a very big difference between the two. When I sit there and you’re like pointing the finger at me, that is not a dialogue. That is a trial. When you sit there and say, you know, here is what I believe in as an American Muslim, what do you think of that, I will be a lot more receptive, and you will probably gain a lot more by approaching us that way. And that’s all we ask.

Know that you’ll have concerns and continue to have concerns, you have our business cards and we invite you to come sit with us more, alright? We left the door open for you from a year ago. All we ask is in the writings, just understand that these – I’m not going to use the word paranoid, but these alarming writings, you send these alarms through the American public about us, about our place of worship, about our imams, and about our children even – is not very productive.

Because all you have to do is look at Europe, and what they’ve done to their Muslim population there, and what the end result is. Now they’re doing 10 times the effort to try to embrace them. And that’s the mistake that my biggest fear is happening right now, that we’re alienating Muslims. We’re not going anywhere. The more difficult everybody makes our lives, the more determined we are to stay here. The more determined my son, my daughter is [garbled].

I think we have to contend with the fact that we are part of the American family. We can make it a more productive dialogue and part of the fabric, or we try and reject it – but that’s not gonna happen. So, saying that, you and I can sit here and talk till tomorrow like we did last time, but to be fair to everybody else, we need to move on. You have my card. I’ll buy you lunch again [N.B., the News bought lunch the last and only time we met. – RD], and we can talk all you want, but I ask that you do it in an inquisitory manner, not an accusatory manner, and that’s a big difference to us.

[Imam spoke in heavily accented voice, hard to understand. He seemed to be making the point that the newspaper never says anything good about Muslim in Dallas, that we ignore them. Bill McKenzie said that’s not true, and cited work he’d done in his column specifically to include Muslim opinion.]

ME: I think what the imam is trying to articulate is that are there not enough examples, positive examples, that we can research, or focus on, and all of us go look at the hypothetical “what if” – do you really believe in that? – and forget about the reality, which is what all of us contribute to society. And that’s really all we’re trying to say. Dallas Morning News did really do that. There have been a lot of positive things that came – and a lot of good positive things that came – out of the dialogue and the discussion that we’ve had. Absolutely, and nobody can deny that. But I think the editorial board – because we look at the editorial board as the opinion of the Dallas Morning News. Are we correct in assuming that?

KW: Mmm-hmm.

ME: When we see something that the editorial board, that is inaccurate, is a concern for us, because that means there’s not a lot of research going on. When we see lines injected in an editorial about the Dallas Central Mosque, and its imam, and that they teach certain things there when actually the editorial had nothing to do with that, that somehow made that line, to put it there to aid that air of suspicion – we get concerned because that means the newspaper – not Rod, we know Rod – the newspaper is taking that direction. That’s where we get concerned.

Rod can write on the blogs all he wants, write a viewpoint all he wants. That’s his right. This is America, you’re entitled to your opinion. I may or may not read it, I may or may not agree with it, but as an editorial board, I’m here today looking at you to say do you vote on these things, do you read these things, when you see a line like that in an article that has nothing to do with the Central Mosque is teaching about this book that’s by this guy, you know, I’m like what does this have to do with – the imam of the Central Mosque is the most involved with, you know, multi-religions, you know, why, is it accurate No. 1, and No. 2 it gives this air of suspicion about it, and it’s not right.

[crosstalk, garbled]

RD: But is it true? Is it true?

[Dallas CAIR spokeswoman] Saffia Meek: And that’s an issue we want to bring up! If you have a question, you know who we are.

RD: We tried to call the imam and get him on the phone twice. I had one of our editorial board members try to get him on the phone twice. He wouldn’t answer my email, and he wouldn’t answer a phone call.

ME: Do you blame him?

RD: But you can’t come in here and accuse us of –


KW: Excuse me, but I really would like to keep this a conversation. You’ve asked a series of questions about how the editorial board works, and I’m happy to try to answer them. In this particular case, let me just insert that you said can you blame him for not returning the call. Well, can you blame us for not getting a quote when we tried?

[Unidentified Muslim:] I have an answer for that.

KW: And then I would welcome the opportunity to answer your earlier question.

[Unidentified Muslim]: First of all, the blog [garbled] is not a personal blog. It’s from the Dallas Morning News. So in a way, it represents the [garbled] opinion. It’s not personal. It’s not Rod Dreher [garbled]. It’s under the sanction of the Dallas Morning News. So to me, I take still some of the comments that have been offensive to me are not personal. If Rod Dreher [garbled] free country, no problem. So I’ve said this point before. [garbled] If the Dallas Morning News do that, I take offense [garbled].

No. 2, as far as the imam, the imam discusses some of the stuff before he responds, and over the years he’s grown skeptical. He has not been able to gain the trust, so I don’t blame him for not responding. But he did a little more research on this issue. Come to find out he was being asked to comment on somebody’s [garbled] to Turkey. Hey, sounds pretty good, you’re Turkish. But he researched to find out that there was already something going to be written about Turkey, which was going to get diluted what he said about it. So it’s not a stand-alone viewpoint.

[Note: here the visitors are confusing several specific issues involving Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci, imam of the Dallas Central Mosque. – RD]

[Viewpoints editor] Sharon Grigsby: Excuse me, I really need to respond to that, because Saffia and I, we dealt on this, and I was actually going to bring it up. Couple of real quick points, because we’re going to run out of time. First of all, I understand how you feel about the blog. I disagree with almost everybody on our board on the blog at one time or another. It gets rough. I’m a traditionalist. The blog’s not always been my favorite thing to do. But I appreciate that. There are people on the board who, you know how you might feel about things Rod might post, I post some things that are so liberal, peacenik, whatever.

[Unidentified]: I’m not commenting on the blog, I’m just saying that it’s the Dallas Morning News, it’s not independent –

SG: I know, but we’re talking about the same blog. In other words, you’re talking about the Dallas Morning News blog. I’m on it, Rod’s on it, Bill’s on it, and we all say things. I have, for instance, have a lot of people in the Jewish community here who have wanted to rake me over the coals over some things – they think I’m very pro-Palestine. I understand what you’re saying. We all take the heat from different people. I take a lot of heat, frankly, and have my meetings with the Jewish community, just like y’all have yours. On the Turkey point in particular, the Pope was going to Turkey, and we thought it would be so cool, because the imam is Turkish, and moreso I wanted to get his daughter on the Viewpoints [page]. So Rod was going to write a piece, so I went to my best source, the person who – Saffia’s given me her home e-mail address, so I knew she’d answer me. So I send her an e-mail, I told her right up front that Rod was going to write a piece, here’s what he was going – I beseeched her. I e-mailed the imam myself.

RD: I suggested you contact the imam to write it.

SG: I never got an answer. Saffia was great. And I understand, he didn’t want to participate in anything Rod was doing. But to say we were going to take his piece and water it down? All I can say was it was a profound disappointment on my point that I couldn’t get a voice to participate. So I just want to be real clear.

ME: OK, let me talk about watering down. Do you recall one time there was an article by Nabil Sadoun, and in it we talked about Rod, and some of his past statements about nuking Mecca. And he was given a choice: either take this out of that Viewpoints [column], or it wasn’t going to be published. Was that watering down?

KW: And I can address that. And we’ve had this conversation several times, Mohamed. The reason it was taken out was because the way it described the comment was inaccurate. And we don’t print – knowingly – inaccuracies. And I guess we could continue that conversation, but if the point of today’s meeting is to ask questions –

SG: And I want to go back to the moving on part. You think the imam thought his Turkey piece would be –

[Unidentified]: The punch line was it would not be a stand-alone comment that the imam would be making that would be independent, but it would be in context of something that Rod—

SG: It would be on the same page.

[Unidentified:] And we didn’t want to get into that –

SG: I just want to be real clear. We were asking for the imam, or even better his daughter, to talk about this, and I think if you go back and read Rod’s piece, it was almost exclusively about the Orthodox issue, very little about that. So just to go back to them [garbled] answering your original question, I know that one line you’re talking about, Saffia and I talked about it. How many months or years ago was that editorial?

ME: It was probably about a year and a half ago.

SG: My question is, what have we done since then? Has there been anything since that year and a half ago, that we all have our opinions on, anything in the last year and a half in an editorial that you’ve felt that way about. Because that’s what I’d like to hear about.

ME: That we’ve felt the same way?

SG: That you’ve felt that we were either being inaccurate or misrepresenting the community.

ME: There’s one that I think this is what triggered this meeting, was the issue of Sayyid Qutb. There is this writer. This obscure Egyptian writer who in the Sixties wrote a book, and Rod is obsessed with it. [garbled] And I read the book, I got it from Amazon.com, it’s his view on how to unite the Muslim community and clean it out of the immorality that he observed in the West, because he visited the West and came back ‘Oh my God, how can people,’ I mean, he was fascinated by the ingenious of the West. And I read the book, just because of the discussion, I had promised him to read it.

It didn’t bother me in the least. It’s his viewpoint. And it doesn’t say anything about go kill people. And the impression that was given in this editorial [N.B., It was not an editorial but a bylined opinion column written by me – RD] – that today is, you know, a lot of people subscribe to these views, and then at the end there’s a line, ‘and in the Dallas Central Mosque there was a conference that had this book as part of its reading’ – is almost like saying at the hotel there is a homosexual staying in room 102, and they condone that.


RD: I have to tell you, though, that I’ve read the book, “Milestones,” and Sayyid Qutb is not an obscure person, he’s very influential in certain strain of Islam, and this goes back to what we were talking about earlier. Why is it not a matter of concern when a man who preaches violent revolution to purify Islam and the world, that’s being taught to teenagers as part of this quiz at the Dallas Central Mosque – why is that not of concern to the wider community?

ME: It was not taught. It was part of the recommended reading. When I went to St. John’s College for liberal arts. And I read a lot of books. Marxism and all that. Does that mean they were asking me to become a Marxist? Come on, Rod. Wouldn’t you say children, here are a bunch of books you can read from, maybe we can have a dialogue about what this guy thinks and all that. Does that make them a Sayyid Qutb follower.


ME: [Qutb] was someone who had a view, or a vision, about what we needed to do to kind of clean up, or gather, you know, Muslims under a cleaner environment, where they can live together. [garbled]

RD: But he says you should overthrow governments, and that’s a real concern. He’s very clear about that, Mohamed.

Ghassan: For the sake of the group, Sayyid Qutb is a writer from Egypt, from the Sixties, he was from Egypt. He was basically imprisoned and killed by the late president Gamal Nasser of Egypt. So he’s no longer alive. You have to know that there are many groups who have either disowned his writings and views, and you also know that the group he was a part of have, for the last 15 years, been distancing themselves from his writings. [N.B., the Muslim American Society, which co-sponsored the Islamic youth quiz, is the American version of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose chief ideologist Qutb was. – RD.]

You have to also, Rod, present that view as well. I read, after Mohamed invited me for this meeting, I read that book, and I read through the chapter of jihad in that book, specifically. I read it, and I mean, he has, for most of the chapters, a good explanation, and very decent one, to the point where I thought I can quote some of this translation. It’s good. There’s some good stuff in that chapter. But some of it is his own personal view, and you’ve got to present it like that.

Now like Mohamed says, what is the point of that? The mosque, as an administration, serves a large community. People come and apply, ‘Can I have this activity in this community.’ People come and go, no big deal. I’ll give you an example. When Dallas Morning News, maybe Rod it was you or an assistant, called the school. I’m the president of ISF [Islamic Services Foundation, an educational organization that oversees at school in Dallas] [garbled]. The question came “Do you teach ‘Milestones’?” [Garbled] The principal called and said ‘Ghassan, what do I tell them?’ and I said ‘Do you teach Milestones?’ he said “No,” so I said, “Just tell them no!”

SG: And they wouldn’t tell me anything.

G: No, no, no, I have the e-mail. [Garbled] And this conversation took place within 24 hours, so we were very responsive to you. The point is, you had a question, we answered it, and I still think, “What is the point? Are you going to ask me about every author that I read in my life?” You’re going to ask me what I have in my library, and I read a lot about stuff? To me, I’m thinking these things, right. I don’t see the point of that.

Sayyid Qutb has been in the conversation of Middle East governments for years and years and years. I’m originally from Damascus, Syria, and I know that they had traps in bookstores in the streets of Damascus. If you bought Sayyid Qutb books, you get arrested on the spot. That’s a fact, not fiction. But so what? Because the government at that time was against him.

But like I said, he’s an author that had good ideas. Some of his writing in Arabic is very artistic. He had his own ideas. A lot of groups and a lot of organizations have kind of thought he’s out there. I don’t see the point of making an issue of it now. Because today, you go to any of the Middle East government, and you hear this also from Tel Aviv and Israel, you know, ‘All these Muslims are following Sayyid Qutb,’ and I say man, there have been two or three generations of Muslims, Arabs, you say who Sayyid Qutb is and they have no clue. And so they have no clue. I know, because you made me aware of it. [laughs] You made me go look it up. You made me aware of it. There are some things that are better left unsaid. [Garbled.] Move on.

RD: When it is part of a program, a quiz program, for Muslim teenagers at the biggest mosque in Texas, it is a matter of concern.

G: Let me ask you a question, Rod. What other material was recommended reading in that program?

RD: I have it in my desk. I don’t know. That was the one that jumped out at me, because I knew who Sayyid Qutb was.

G: Well, okay, look at the others. Maybe the others are excellent.

RD: Could be. Could be. But –

ME: You go to UNT [University of North Texas], and they’re reading Marx. Does that mean that they’re trying to teach them to become a communist?

RD: I wanted to find –

ME: Shouldn’t that concern you?

RD: Depends on the context.

ME: Now wait wait wait a minute. Marx? Talk about communism. We’re in capitalism, they were our biggest enemies, shouldn’t that – this is my point. You are so obsessed with us as [garbled]. If you keep looking at us that way, that is your privilege, there’s nothing I can do. I’ve given you the opportunity, two hours, your lunch, [garbled] was sitting there, Keven was sitting there, to answer any questions very candidly. If you walked out of there feeling that these guys are bad, that is your privilege. You’re entitled to that opinion. My concern is not you. There’s always going to be you somewhere. My concern is as an editorial board, should somebody with that view kind of dominate that, and inject sentences here and there that really create suspicion and you know make concern about our places of worship and our children’s schools. Question.

TR: The question, and I’ll give some context to it, is at what point does it become a legitimate concern. In the United Kingdom, I went up to Leeds, and I looked at the bookshop where three of the bombers, the subway bombers, had eaten their lunches, eaten their dinners, spent all their free time there. And Sayyid Qutb, he was one of the authors represented in that bookshop. There were a number of other very strong examples at that bookstore. At what point do these things become a concern, because in the Muslim community in London, in the United Kingdom, this is a huge concern, about what the youth of that country, the Muslim youth of that country, are being taught.

ME: I think if you approach it from the angle that it’s a threat, that you have to really try to understand why would the youth go seek that book, read it, and then go – I didn’t get that impression from the book that I needed to go out and bomb the subway tomorrow. Somehow I did not get that impression out of the book. You know, so, I don’t know. Is what we’re doing creating suspicion about them really not helping these youths –

TR: No, no, but my question is at what point does it become a legitimate concern for us to begin examining it?

ME: In this country, one of the things I was taught was freedom of expression. There are many books taught in public schools. I’ll give you an example in Coppell, where I live. They have a book called “The Terrorist,” that was taught to fifth graders. And they talked about you know, in London, how there was this kid who was a terrorist and all and they went in front of the school board and they said it was freedom of expression and we cannot take the book out. Amen. OK, fine. “Mein Kampf” – Bob Mong [DMN editor-in-chief] was telling me I’ve got it at home. Does that make him a Nazi? OK. The fact that a book is available –

TR: Was I justified as a reporter to go up and look at that bookstore, knowing that those young men had spent a huge amount of their time –


ME: As a journalist [garbled] your conclusion is where I would differ from you. You can get the US Constitution and create a violent something out of it. You know, freedom and all that. Somebody feels that they are oppressed, they can go fight or kill for their freedom. You can get any book and get anything you want out of it. The point is, that becomes the focus, and it becomes kind of the obsession of an editorial – and that becomes a concern for us, but when you ask it –

TR: We’re not talking about rights. We all know what our rights are here. I guess I’m looking for the point at which you say, “Yeah, that’s legitimate to look at that and be skeptical about that” – where you would not raise concerns over the way we cover this stuff.

[unknown]: [garbled] If you want to know what we’re teaching the kids, why don’t you come ask our curriculum, sit in the classroom, [garbled] be one of them.


TR: I tried that in –


TR: I’m just saying, there are certain steps to this process [of radicalizing Muslim youth], it’s not something that’s there right now. It’s a slow progression. In the United Kingdom, it’s much more obvious than it is here. I’m not even saying that it’s happening here. And if it were, it’s 50 years away.

G: [garbled] ISF is an organization that way back, we recognized this point, especially after September 11. We don’t want any more – traditionally Islamic schools brought in material from overseas, but we said this is no longer going to be the case. We cannot control, as executives of the organization, what comes from these groups – although we believe they’re good, right. To not leave room for the chance of anything, we’re developing a home-grown Islamic studies curriculum. I invite you to get a copy of that. That will tell you what we’re teaching our children. That’s public information. We’re up to grade six. By summer we’ll have seven and eight. That tells you what kind of indoctrination, if you want to call it that, because that’s what we’ve been accused of, you know, this is what you’re implanting in the minds of the kids.

Just get those books. Give us a review of those books. Tell us what you think about it. This is public information. We’re putting it out there. Because we believe that Islamic studies, going back to your original question, that it needs to be taught in America. It needs to be authored in America, it needs to be taught in America. Not bring an author who authored it somewhere else. Because the whole material is out of context. Everything in Islam has a tiem and a place. Jurists, when they make rules [garbled] this is basic. Anybody who doubts that doesn’t know anything about jurisprudence. Time and place dictates the law.

KW: Forgive me –


KW: -- but on that note, “time and place,” we are overdue.

[End of meeting]

Posted 4:13 PM | Rod Dreher
I have seen and heard this over and over again with moslims. People point out ''Your fellow moslims said (and/or did) this'' and ''This is what the koran says, do you agree with it?'' and moslims get evasive.
When moslims are confronted they react in the classic ''kid with a hand in the cookie jar'' behavior. It's why they scream ''racism'' every chance they get. They know it works...
There has been a proposal to divide the country formerly known as iraq into TWO states (as opposed to Three). Break ''iraq'' into a sunni arab/kurdish state and a shia arab state.
Only one problem, Kurds are not arabs. In fact, Kurds are an ethinc group of their own, complete with their own culture and language. And they like arabs about as much as they like turks.
I support an independent Kurdistan including the northern oil fields. With our troops placed to keep the Kurds and the Turks seperate from each other and to help the Kurds with the defence of their southern border from the arabs. The rest of ''iraq'' is to be left to settle it's own affairs however they see fit (we wanted ''freedom'' for them did we not?).
As mentioned in an earlier post the saudis will not put up with ''West Iran'' that close to them.
If we allow them to make THAT ''our problem'' WE HAVE LOST ''the war on terror''. The saudis are as much our enemies as the iranians.
Where do you think the funding for CAIR comes from? ''The flying imams''? Paid for by saudi arabia. Al-quida? Paid for by saudi arabia. Must I remind you where 15 of the 19 911 attackers came from? Must I remind you where osama bin laden came from?
If we were SERIOUS about this ''war on terrorism'' any non-US citizen moslim would be given a choice: ''It's up to you moslim, get on that plane to the middle east or we will ship your corpse there''.
That's right, Christmas Day evening 2005 was when this blog was launched.

(Happy Birthday Your Image Here is also OK)

When I did that first post about 11:oopm EST I didn't know about YouTube, so I had to post a pic of the coolest Christmas light display and use it as a link to the video file so you could download it to watch. No longer nessessary, wish I could have done this a year ago:
Now all you have to do is click on the ''play'' arrow.
Carson Williams also did this with a 'broadwayized' version of ''Jingle all the way'' which is also very good.
Don't fret, he has indeed reprised his creation for Christmas 2006. And his display with ''God rest ye merry gentlemen''. He's starting to spread his magic! Such as this:
And here's this with quite a few other Christmas tunes.
We've gone from putting actual candles on cut Christmas trees (can you say ''fire hazard''?) to making Cristmas tree lighting one of the very first uses of electric light. By the 1960's people started to decorate their houses with Christmas lights.
Now it appears people are more interested in Christmas decorations OUTSIDE their houses than INSIDE them: http://www.uglychristmaslights.com/
I haven't been posting lately. The hustle and bustle of ''the Christmas season'' and putting a close on the year at work have been draining.
But I've done my best to keep up on the news as well. Iraq? It's still a basket case, and will quite likely be that way for some time to come.
My point of veiw is we should get ''our troops'' out of the way and allow (non-Kurdistan) ''iraq'' to become the battlefield for the saudi-iranian war. The sunni arab saudis and the shi'ite persian iranians HATE each other. I say let 'em at each other.
I can hear the Junk Food Conservitives now: ''Easy for you to say hotshot, the price of gas means nothing to you anyway''. Which I admit is quite true.
The JFC's as usual, are missing the point. For the saudis to finance their war against the iranians (and vice-versa) the two sides have only one means to do so. OIL, as in selling as much of it to raise funds as possible.
We have FOUR branches of Armed Forces, for the past three years the Navy and Air Force have had the luxury of sitting on their fat butts while the Army and Marines ''do all the heavy lifting''. It's time for a little switcharoo:
The first step would be to make it clear that the United States will tolerate no action by any state that endangers the international flow of commerce in the Straits of Hormuz. Signaling our determination to back up this statement with force would be a deployment in the Gulf of Oman of minesweepers, a carrier strike group’s guided-missile destroyers, an Aegis-class cruiser, and anti-submarine assets, with the rest of the carrier group remaining in the Indian Ocean. The U.S. Navy could also deploy UAV’s (unmanned air vehicles) and submarines to keep watch above and below against any Iranian missile threat to our flotilla.
Now Arthur Herman describes it as ''strangling'' iran ONLY. I see it as quite possible to ''strangle'' the saudis at the same time. What tends to hamstring our efforts in the ME is the fact that Asia is starved for oil. What we should be doing is making sure as copious a supply to them as possible is ensured by The US Air Force And Navy.
Now you know why I OPENLY ADVOCATE THE IMMEDIATE REMOVAL OF 120,000 Army and Marines from ''iraq''. The remaining forces should be deployed to help Kurdistan defend itself from the saudi-iranian battlefield and from Turkey.
You want ''a timetable''? Here you go, Army Soliders and Marines board jumbo jets, and the jets take flight. Destination: USA. And as Americans board those planes, we keep reassuring the sunni and shia moslims in ''iraq'' that as those American soldiers leave there are planes on the way with fresh American ''troops'' to replace them.
The moslims call it taquyya, it's about time they got a taste of their own medicine.
I can hear the JFC's (I coined the phrase, I have every right to turn it into an acronym) now, ''But they are trusting us to bring them freedom''. Freedom for moslims?
That's an oxymoron.
A while back, I was in the chatroom on a Sunday eve and a liberal made it's way in. Gotta give the liberal credit, at least it didn't get stupid right away.
The first thing the liberal said was ''we need to get our troops out of iraq''. And I said ''I fully agree'' [SEE ABOVE].
Of course the house JFC jumped on the liberal like my cat on an open can of tuna.
Enjoyed every bite.
Finally the liberal says ''What are you? A war monger?''.
After laughing at the liberal I replied ''No. The JFC is NOT a war monger, I AM''
Many critisize Ariel Sharon for withdrawing Israelis from Gaza. I actually thought it was a good idea. Gaza had already been walled off and trying to ''gentrify'' the place was counterproductive.
I saw a interior photo of a ''bus'' used to transport Israelis to enclaves in Gaza.
It was LITERALLY a ''Brinks Truck'' converted to transport people.
Why do I think Israel pulling out of Gaza was actually a good idea? Hmm, [clicks link on own blog] Aha! Jihad Watch! Here it is sitting right in front of my face!
Just two quotes are nessesary:
The terror leader accused the U.S. of instigating a Palestinian civil war.
Hamas-Fatah clashes in Gaza have killed at least 16 Palestinians the past five days.
As I cry crocodile tears for each and every one of those 16 moslim deaths I'm going ''YESSSSS! Keep up the good work moslims!''. The ''palistinians'' are nothing more than psychopathic killers. It's Hannibal Lector vs. Jeffery Dahmer! It's Freddy vs. Jason!
Nuke a bag of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show! I say ''HEY! It's what moslims do best, let 'em do it. TO EACH OTHER!!!''
And then laugh at the moslim spokemen who whine that ''The USA is commiting genocide on moslims'' because that's as silly as blaming shotguns for the deaths of Earnet Hemmingway or Kurt Cobain.
That's right folks, the Gaza Wall barricades those moslims into thier own little hellhole.
Hamas reacts to it by turning on Fatah and Fatah reacts to it by turning on Hamas.
Without a single Israeli to get in the way!!! BTW, of course the moslims blame us, the way they see it, anything bad that happens to them is the USA's fault. Or the Israeli's fault. Or both. *YAWN* Whatever.
This is also my attitude towards 2/3rds of what was once called ''iraq'', the shia moslims of the former ''iraq'' are at war with the sunni moslims of the former ''iraq''. Get out of the way and let 'em have at it! JFC's will whine ''but that might draw the saudis into war with the iranians and vice-versa''. My response to the JFC's is ''And your point is, WHAT? YOU think the saudis 'are our friends'?!?! Any American who belives THAT after Sept. 11th 2001 IS A MORON!!!''
Our only involvement should be to make sure the saudis and iranians keep pumping and selling that oil, nothing more. How ELSE will the saudis (sunni moslims) raise money to wage war on iran? And how ELSE will the iranians (shia moslims) raise money to wage war on the saudis?
I can see it now: *RRRINNGGGGG* [picks up phone] Oh hello mr. saudi! Nice to hear from you, still pumping and selling that oil? Good, very good. Keep up the good work. What do you need? Tanks? APC's? Rockets? Artillary? Shells? We aim to please, SO PLEASE AIM. The USA wants to be your one stop shop for all the war supplies you need!!! TROOPS!?!? You need manpower in your war on iran? Are those ''palistinians'' not enough? And what about the taliban? OH! Ok, you want Americans? Hmmm, let's see, we have everyone in CAIR, would that help? We'll be happy to send them to you right away mr. saudi. OHHH! OK, we misunderstood you, US troops? THAT'S what you want mr. saudi? They weren't exactly welcome in saudi arabia the last time they were there! That's WHY we removed them! They weren't welcome in what used to be called ''iraq'' either! That's why they went home. NOW you want US troops to fight alongside you? That's a very funny joke, and I thought moslims had no sense of humor! Oh! Sorry! Thought you were joking. You actually want us to send troops to fight the iranians alongside you? YOU SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT BEFORE SEPT. 11th 2001!!! Thank you for calling mr. saudi...
I dislike 'private chat'. So here's an alternitive: Click on 'Comments' below and tell me there...
[Your Image Here(Disgusted,FLORIDA)] 4:57 pm: If we were ACTUALLY ''fighting
terrorism'', we would be deporting or killing moslims HERE.
[Julie(Stowe,VERMONT)] 4:58 pm: now that's provocative....don't you think we
need a few cultural muslims to help us?
[Your Image Here(Disgusted,FLORIDA)] 4:58 pm: NO

That was a snippet of a 'chat room' conversation I was involved in.
''Julie'' is clueless. If you want to understand Mormonisimn (a VERY peaceful religion) you should read the Book of Mormon.
UPDATE: Julie read this post. And responded thusly:
My comment about the cultural Muslims was made in cynicism...if you go to my blog www.jihadophobic.blogspot.com and read my very first post (Why the Radical Islamic Threat, Threatens Moderate Muslims and Us All) and the subsequent ones you'll see where I stand - I am not "clueless"...and it would have been cordial that since I had sent you a PRIVATE message, you clarified my position prior to assuming what it was and posting that erroneous impression...especially since it was made in a chat room that is often full of cynicism and humor.
I humbly extend my apologies to her. I did indeed take what she said out of context. I read and reacted to it.
My point of view is ''why the hell are our best and brightest being put in 'iraq' to be little more than easy targets for jihadis THERE while a growing moslim 'fifth column' is allowed HERE?''
For me that is a raw nerve. Right after ''a shooting'' (that hit nothing and no one) occured outside a mosque in Melbourne FL I said in that chatroom: ''Why is there a mosque in Melbourne FL?'' and ''Why are there enough moslims in Melbourne FL for there to be a mosque?''. I got no answer.
Considering that Melbourne FL is in the same FL County as Kennedy Space Center and about a three hour drive from Disney World (and an hour and a half away from me).
My reaction was based on this idea promoted by both the media and government that there IS such a thing as ''good moslims'' and ''bad moslims'' (even Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes routinely argue this).
As a 'Separationist' I saw the phrase ''don't you think we need a few cultural muslims to help us?'' as uninformed. And I reacted harshly to it.
Much has been made of ''the iraq study group report''. I could toss up a dozen links that both analize and demolish it.
My own opinion is to take it with a grain of salt. I still feel the need to address a few major points:
''Negoitate with iran and syria''. My opinion: *YAWN*, Dead in the water. It ignores the fact that non-moslims are trying to make a pact with moslims. Here's how it works; IF the moslims come to the negotiaton table -at all-, they will do so DEMANDING EVERYTHING -AND- THE KITCHEN SINK to get ANY cooperation out of them.
We would likely be able to talk them out of their MOST -outrageous- demands, accept their ''moderate'' demands and claim we got an agreement 'in good faith' from the moslims.
The koran INTRUCTS moslims to make agreements with non-moslims IN ORDER TO BREAK THEM when moslims see fit to.
''Support the government of iraq''. WHAT ''GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ''?!?!

Edward morrisey, you have been deleted from my blogroll.
I can tolerate your ''bush walks on water'' nonsense, but the SLEAZE you put in an iframe just below the top banner is unacceptable.
You try to claim you are ''conservitive'' (whatever that means these days) but your desire to put quasi-porn on your site (at the top of your blog no less) makes me think you are actually a phony.
I don't care if you remove ''Day by Day''. I removed ''Captain's Quarters'', that's all I needed to do...

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