Category: Islam

Mitt vs. The Donald: The Donald Loses

By , March 3, 2016 10:49 am

Afghanistan’s Bulwark Against the Taliban

By , January 2, 2013 9:32 am

From my Wikitour of the 206 countries of the world. In other words, this jumped out during my reading this morning. I had never heard of Massoud.


I’d now like to know more:

Ahmad Shah Massoud remained the only leader of the United Front in Afghanistan. In the areas under his control Massoud set up democratic institutions and signed the Women’s Rights Declaration. Human Rights Watch cites no human rights crimes for the forces under direct control of Massoud for the period from October 1996 until the assassination of Massoud in September 2001. As a consequence many civilians fled to the area of Ahmad Shah Massoud. In total, estimates range up to one million people fleeing the Taliban. National Geographic concluded in its documentary “Inside the Taliban”: “The only thing standing in the way of future Taliban massacres is Ahmad Shah Massoud.”

In early 2001 Massoud addressed the European Parliament in Brussels asking the international community to provide humanitarian help to the people of Afghanistan. He stated that the Taliban and al-Qaeda had introduced “a very wrong perception of Islam” and that without the support of Pakistan and bin Laden the Taliban would not be able to sustain their military campaign for up to a year. On this visit to Europe he also warned that his intelligence had gathered information about a large-scale attack on U.S. soil being imminent.

On 9 September 2001, Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated by two Arab suicide attackers inside Afghanistan and two days later about 3,000 people were killed in the September 11 attacks in the United States. (emphasis added)

The Temple and Baptism for the Dead

By , February 22, 2012 11:47 am

I want to thank Daniel C. Peterson for pointing me (and you) to this video:

In turn, I’ll direct you to his blog where he discusses baptism for the dead. Petersen, by the way, is an Islamic scholar and teaches at BYU. You might be interested in his short book Muhammad: Prophet of God.

Even If You Don’t Speak Portuguese . . .

By , May 31, 2011 11:45 am

All you really need to know to understand this story is that “estuprador” means rapist, “corta” means cut, “pênis” means penis (fancy that), and “polícia” means police. Oh, and it helps to know that the “estuprador’s” victim wielded the knife.

“Quando ele tentou violentá-la, a mulher cortou seu pênis com uma faca. Ela depois colocou o membro em um recipiente de plástico e o levou para a delegacia de polícia de Jhalakathi como prova do crime”, indicou à AFP o chefe de polícia local, Abul Khaer.

I guess it helps to know that Bangladesh is 89.5% Muslim. We’ll have to wait to see if turnabout is considered fair play in that part of the world.

Did Obama Throw Israel or Palestine Under the Bus?

By , May 22, 2011 9:56 pm

Walter Russell Mead says it was Palestine and that all the bruhah about his Israel/Middle East speech is overblown or downright wrong. I agree. He writes:

On substantive grounds, it is hard to see what Obama’s critics have in mind. The US position is and has always been that the 1967 borders are the starting point for negotiations. UN Security Council Resolution 242, the basis for all negotiations on this question since it was passed in 1967, makes that very plain — although that resolution does not demand an Israeli withdrawal from all of the territory it conquered in the war. President Bush never deviated from this position; neither has President Obama. Israeli prime ministers including Likud prime ministers like Ehud Olmert have accepted this for years. This is standard diplospeak boilerplate. It is a non-statement, a platitude, even a bromide.

His post comes with a nifty little map of the controversy, courtesy of the CIA:

Calling Donald Trump

By , May 4, 2011 2:14 pm

Obama Says He Won’t Release Bin Laden Death Photo.

Not Much More to Say

By , April 4, 2011 1:44 pm

Mark Steyn on the First Amendment.

My Son Used to Fantasize About This Guy

By , February 22, 2011 10:55 am

In grade school, my now 33-years old son, used to fantasize about sneaking into Libya and knocking off this guy:

He obviously never got beyond the fantasy, so now Libyans are having a nightmare.

Even Obama’s Wrong, He’s Right: Part II

By , February 13, 2011 2:46 pm

Slate’s John Dickerson weighs in on Obama’s performance in the events leading up to Mubarak’s ouster, and he rips a page out of Thomas Friedman’s playbook.

As Dickerson writes in a piece titled Was Obama Too Indecisive on Egypt?
Or did his refusal to meddle actually speed Mubarak’s fall?

Whether by design or dithering, U.S. policy makers didn’t get in the way of events in Cairo. That strategy appears to have been successful. That may mean that in a world where developments can move so quickly, TBD is the new SOP.

Dickerson’s piece is more nuanced than the conclusion, and he does take some shots at the administration’s handling of the crisis; nevertheless, he comes off as making excuses for the President’s handling of the matter. I just hope he didn’t feel a tingle running up his leg as events unfolded.

Mosque at Ground Zero

By , February 12, 2011 12:48 pm

Last August, Stephen Prothero, a religion professor at Boston University and a blogger on CNN, wrote two different posts about the Mormon reaction to a Muslim group’s efforts to build a mosque at Ground Zero. The first lamented the fact that some prominent Mormons–Mitt Romney and Harry Reid–had both spoken against the mosque. So had Glenn Beck. Prothero was particularly disturbed that Romney had done so (through a spokesperson) because he had been so impressed by Romney’s religion speech during the most recent presidential campaign and because of Romney’s experience with the opposition to the Boston Temple. (Prothero, by the way, seems to have a good grasp on Latter-day Saint history.) He writes,

As I wrote in my 2007 piece on this speech, for Romney, the moral of this history lesson was clear:

Americans today should rise above religious bigotry, not least by evaluating presidential candidates on the basis of their credentials instead of their religious tradition. After all, Romney said, “Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.”

These were the words that came to me when Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin and other Republican leaders started to double down on the anti-Islamic rhetoric.

I thought that Romney, as a Mormon, might speak out passionately for the First Amendment. I thought he might remember how the founder of his religion, Joseph Smith Jr., was murdered by an anti-Mormon mob. I thought he might recall how the U.S. government brought down much of its coercive power against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the last decades of the nineteenth century.

Apparently not. According to a statement released on August 10 by his spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom, “Governor Romney opposes the construction of the mosque at Ground Zero. The wishes of the families of the deceased and the potential for extremists to use the mosque for global recruiting and propaganda compel rejection of this site.”

The second discussed Senator Hatch’s position, which was captured by Salt Lake City’s Fox News 13:


Prothero’s reaction to Romney’s and Hatch’s statements prompted me to think about what my stance on the proposed mosque was back then. I realized that I disagreed with Romney. My stance was then and is now similar to Hatch’s: it would be a nice gesture if the mosque’s proponents chose to build elsewhere out of respect for what happened on 9/11; however, I recognize and support their 1st Amendment rights to build where they are planning to build.

I have a long memory, a memory that extends back to the persecution of my Church in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a memory of recent times when people in Boston, Billings, Denver, and places north and south, east and west, opposed the building of a Mormon temple–always for allegedly non-religious reasons. That opposition was a predictable as the rising sun was an irony that always escaped the protestors.

I suspect that religious bigotry imbues most of the opposition to the mosque as well. I don’t think Romney is bigoted. I do think he is in a rush to the Right, however, in his pursuit of the presidency. I have defended him in the past from the flip criticism that he flip flops a lot. I’ll take a flip from anybody if it demonstrates that they’ve learned something. However, too much pandering is not a good thing. I’ll be watching him closely, as I will Hatch, now that he’s pursuing the Tea Party vote.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy