From Somalia without love

[amazon-product]1439157316[/amazon-product]In the middle of a mostly sympathetic review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Nomad, Nicholas Kristof wondered parenthetically if the author’s family is dysfunctional “simply because its members never learned to bite their tongues and just say to one another: ‘I love you.'”  The remark comes across as gloopy, but the fact remains that the “Personal Journey” Hirsi Ali describes is also a tale of profound personal failure. For Hirsi Ali, cosmopolitan free-thinker and proud atheist, her inability to break through to her conservative Muslim relatives is an indictment of their tragic limitations, their subjection to an “inferior” belief system and way of life.  She never considers that her own modes of thought and speech are as inflexible, her impulses as cruel and violent, as the ones she relentlessly denounces – that, in short, the Islamist monster she hates is alive and well in her, functioning as her alter ego.

The full sub-title of Nomad is “From Islam to America – A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.” The offer would appear to be of a transit from one idea to another, there being no geographical location directly corresponding to “Islam,” but nothing in the book approaches a rigorous or systematic historical, philosophical, or even sociological comparison of concepts.  Instead, we receive a mixture of travelogue, case study, personal confession, and social-political program, with no clear and consistent distinctions.  Sometimes, “Islam” is merely the short form of “radical Islam” or a change of pace from “Islamism.”  Sometimes, we seem to be carefully considering “traditional Islam” or “tribal culture,” or the customs and attitudes supposedly prevalent in some, many, or most Muslim communities in the world today.  More often, we’re in the world of stereotype and generalization:  “all Muslims are…” or “Islam is…” – as in the assertion that “Islam… is incompatible with liberty” or as in an indictment like the following:

Islam is not just a belief; it is a way of life, a violent way of life. Islam is imbued with violence, and it encourages violence.

Yet just a few paragraphs on, there she is again insisting that she wants merely the right to criticize “aspects of Islam.”

Perhaps without such volatility and excess the story would merely be “From Somalia to the U.S.” by someone you’ve never heard of, but Hirsi Ali is by now well enough known and far enough along as an author to seek a broader, intellectually coherent, historically informed perspective.  Instead, her approach remains narrow and combative, as typified by her quip to a Canadian interviewer: “I want to see the other face of Islam, but first I’d have to dig through all the bodies” – as if the effort she disdains, to look for that “other face,” doesn’t become more, not less urgent in the context of violence; and as if someone arguing the other side couldn’t figuratively pile their own rotting exhibits against her argument.

For the most part Nomad is  just Ayaan Hirsi Ali against an horrific, all-consuming entity conjured out of the void to attack her family and commit headline-grabbing acts of terror – Islam as golem, yet at the same time a pathetic conceptual orphan vulnerable to whatever convenient rhetorical abuse.  But the exigencies of this war against the anti-Ayaan do allow for certain compromises:

I myself have become an atheist, but I have encountered many Muslims who say they need a spiritual anchor in their lives.  I have had the pleasure of meeting Christians whose concept of God is a far cry from Allah.  Theirs is a reformed and partly secularized Christianity that could be a very useful ally in the battle against Islamic fanaticism.

In the chapter on “Seeking God but Finding Allah” – not exactly the language of Muslim outreach – Hirsi Ali explains that only “mainstream, moderate” denominations are to be encouraged in this project.  “Freak-show churches” of the sort she’s seen on American TV “are not the kind of allies [she] would wish to have.”  Churches that “appease Islam” are also, in her view, more a “liability” for the West.  As for how the Islamic fundamentalists whom she despises would react to the presence of soft missionaries in their “blighted neighborhoods” pleasantly seeking defections from the Umma to Christendom – on this topic the author is silent.

Or consider the conversation that Hirsi Ali offers as a model for “Opening the Muslim Mind,” in which two teenage friends, non-Muslim “Jane” and faithful Muslim “Amina,” discuss the role of religion in the Mumbai hotel attacks of 2008.  Jane takes simple Amina’s repeated, increasingly anguished pleas to talk about something else as cues for intensified cross-examination, leading to a climactic confrontation:

AMINA:  (close to tears) I don’t know.  I want to do what is right.  Allah tells me what is right.  I just want to be a good Muslim, I don’t want to kill people, I don’t want people to be killed, I just want to be a good Muslim.

JANE:  Are you sure you want to be a good Muslim?  Here! (She takes the Quran out of her bag and puts it on Amina’s lap.)  Have you read the Quran?  Do you know what it says?  Look on this page:  It says “Kill the infidels.”  Look, here it promises eternal punishment for all unbelievers, here, I marked it for you.  And here it says, “Beat the disobedient wife.”  Here, turn this page, look, it says “Flog the adulterer.”  Are you sure that you want to do what Allah wants you to do?  Are you sure?

AMINA: (now in tears, desperately crying) I really don’t want to talk about this.

To prospective critics of this approach, Hirsi Ali explains that “this is exactly how minds are opened:  through honest, frank dialogue” – as though there could be such a thing as “dialogue” between an unsuspecting girl and an atheist prepped for ambush, between “I don’t want to talk about this” and “here, I marked it for you.”  The only choice that Jane/Ayaan presents to the Aminas of the world is that of complete disavowal of their own identity.

“Perhaps,” says the author of Amina, “she will begin thinking, questioning her unspoken assumptions.” Perhaps.  If so, it wouldn’t be by following Jane’s example, or Hirsi Ali’s.  Does Hirsi Ali simply not realize how condescending she is?  Is she so committed to her sense of superiority that she sees no alternative to condescension?  Does she merely lack empathy?  Or does she fully intend offense – because being dismissed as an Islamophobe is somehow useful to her political or professional project, or because at any rate she feels she has a right to return injury for injury?  Her performance, as a writer and as a public intellectual, leaves me with no confidence that she knows the answers – that her views and in a sense her personality have cohered on this level.  To me it’s telling that the book ends with a promise of “Earthly love” for someone who does not exist, Hirsi Ali’s “unborn daughter,” clearly a figure for Hirsi Ali herself – that is, for the not yet realized Ayaan Hirsi Ali.


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143 comments on “From Somalia without love

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  1. AHA is a toxic evil person and the best friend of the broken glass grannies. She is a loathesome JAFI for hire on the wingnut welfare lecture circuit.
    she gets paid six figures a year to bash al-Islam by the antique neocon revanchists at AEI, the most wretched hive of western culture chauvinist bigbusiness warmongering scum and villany in America.

  2. CK,I can’t quite figure out what is so unusually annoying to you about this person. She seems like a version of the American type,”the Village Atheist” like Madlyn Murray O’Hare. And then Stranglet in #1 goes off like she’s a Satanic Demon. What’s going on?

  3. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a brilliant writer whose life was made miserable by zzlam (You taught me this spelling, Strangelet) until she escaped. She understands that blind faith is a force that makes smart people stupid and good people bad.

    How many ways are there to interpret the commandment about cutting off hands and feet on opposite sides?

    005.033 The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;

  4. Perhaps you should have read her first book, Infidel, first.

    This review repeats what I hear was a hatchet job from Kristoff, a shining example of a NYTimes mealy mouthed liberal.

    Your review is a caracature of the moral relativism schtick of the left?
    Very good then! But if you are serious, please recheck whatever you are projecting on to this incredibly honest and brave woman.

    In Infidel
    she spends pages and pages lovingly describing her best teacher, Sister Aziza, a former airline stewardess who rediscovered Islam and inspired her to corectly clothe herself and pray. So much for your claim the author has no respect or understanding of her former religion. She carefully describes the different ways she saw Islam being practiced by different clans and peoples: Somali nomads, Somali city dwellers, Saudis, Yemenis and Kenyans.

    And if you continue to maintain Moslems all over the world are not taught to despise Jews, why was she taught this in a Kenyan school for Moslem Girls:

    They had horns of their heads and noses so large they stuck right out of their faces like great beaks. Devils and djinns literally flew out of their heads to mislead Muslims and spread evil. Everything that went wrong was the fault of he Jews…so we should step forward aand fight the Jews, for only if all Jews were destroyed would peace come for Moslems.

    The only way to maintain the charade that Islam is peaceful is to join in the pee cee chorus that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an ungrateful liar.

    She has many valid reasons to be angry, a point you amazingly miss. Her mother used to inforce Islam on her by tying her up, wrists to ankles like a bow, so she could beat her better and longer. The tutor her mother chose for her almost killed her, fractured her skull with a club after she said she wanted no more lessons from him. And, of course, you do not mention the genital mutulation she endured at the age of 5. And, her 4 year old sister too:

    She had torn her wound while urinatng and struggling… it was agony for her…and four women had to hold her down… I will never forget the panic in her face and voice as she screamed whie everything in her and struggled to keep her legs closed…Haweya was never the same afterward… she just stared vacantly at nothing for hours

  5. none of you read my link. AHA was successful in derailing an attempt by the American Academe of Pediatrics to substitute a symbolic pinprick for pharoic circumcision and infibullation practiced on small muslimahs who return with their families for hajj to the old country.
    Why would she do that? so she can continue to froth up the anti-fgm morons (ina country where radical male fgm is SOP) and keep her AEI position.
    What is AHA for? to cheerlead you old white guys on your islamophobia.
    muslims loathe her.
    she is unpersuasive and revolting. she only cares about her paycheck.

    i don’t care how you spell, george, zzlam is fine if you like.
    yours is better for you, mine is better for me.
    we muslims don’t care if you want to believe in the jesus godhead…we just care that you want to make us believe in it too.
    ;)

  6. She understands that blind faith is a force that makes smart people stupid and good people bad.

    And has turned herself into an object lesson in that problem.

    The game of “find-a-scary-Sura” is beneath you, George. It’s a game for inflexibly naive fundamentalists: Islamophobia is Islamism. Texts exist in context – immediate and intermediate verbal context, as well as cultural and historical context.

    @ Rex Caruthers:
    Hirsi Ali is uniquely qualified by her background, experience, and intelligence to mediate, to expand understanding, and also to speak up for real victims and against real dangers. Instead, she instigates, provokes, spreads misunderstanding and suspicion, encourages the worst impulses in her audiences, and gives people like strangelet every good reason to dismiss her as a toxic evil Islamophobe. For further discussion, go back to everything I’ve written on this subject over the last month or two.

  7. One of the magdalenes could write a good book about Catholic abuse too, you idiots.
    Did you see the movie?
    the magdalene asylums were extant in Ireland right up into the late 70s.
    about the time AHA got cut by a broken glass grannie.
    i guess that why she wants more little american girls to share her experience.

  8. This review repeats what I hear was a hatchet job from Kristoff, a shining example of a NYTimes mealy mouthed liberal.

    Why don’t read the review for yourself instead of depending on what you hear from others? It’s linked in the very first sentence.

    You are a perfect example, Z, of what’s wrong with how AHA goes about her business – in this book and while publicizing it, the subject of my review. That she had something nice to say about a Muslim in Infidel is irrelevant – or more evidence that her approach is incoherent and opportunistic. You choose not to understand the difference between criticizing “aspects” of a culture and indulging in bigotry. This thing you and AHA call “Islam” exists in your mind, and I suppose in the web sites that massage your assumptions. It shouldn’t be so difficult for you to perform the intellectual operation of distinguishing between particulars and category, but apparently it feels too good to hate from a position of imaginary total and unquestionable superiority.

  9. Stranglet,

    Chris Hitchens wrote a book,”God is not Great”,his title contained one word too many.
    Because God is OOO,Omniscient,Omnipresent,Omnipotent,belief in Him is too corrupting for many people to manage, “Power Corrupts.Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely/Lord Acton. That applies to God itself as well as to those who so absolutely believe in their “exclusive” God. And that includes Christians,Jew,Muslims et al

  10. @ CK MacLeod:
    I’ve looked at the context. The Surah means what it means. As for the historical context, such sentences have been carried out in our own time. Stoning for adultery still happens even more frequently.
    Kristof suggests things might have been easier if only Hirsi Ali’s relatives had known how to say, “I love you.” Context, context. zzlamic parents have killed their daughters in honor murders in the United States and Canada.
    When I lived in China, I heard first-person accounts of wives who had denounced their husbands and children who had denounced their parents for being rightists or counter-revolutionaries. They too had faith. Kristof and I were in China at the same time. He certainly must have heard such stories, but few people realize that Marxism is a faith.
    China is losing its faith, but orthodox Marxism is still the unquestioned dogma in North Korea. Venezuela is trying to create such a situation as well, but they will fail–I hope.

  11. The Surah means what it means.

    Again, a very naive/fundamentalist-literalist statement. It all depends on what the word “means” means, to paraphrase our former Commander-in-Chief. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t trust your interpretation of the function of the Sura in context(s), and don’t have the time right now to play amateur Imam myself.

    You point to incidents of stoning and honor killing. Fine. They are dramatic indictments of failures in some Islamic societies. A bigot turns them into an indictment of all of Islam, of all Muslims. An anti-American looks at our prison system and sees institutionalized rape utilized as social control, among other ills and barbarisms. Why would that anti-American be any less justified in characterizing us all as accomplices in barbarism, and our supposed love of freedom and respect for the individual a sham? This is well before we get to foreign policy, global economics, and the American way of war – including our direct and long-standing political and economic implication in financing the globaly Wahhabicization of Islam, ever since FDR’s deal with the House of Saud – bipartisan policy for two generations, quite long enough to deform (or re-deform) the ideological development of the Islamic world.
    You can tell yourself that Islam is evil, ideological, and myopic, and we’re terrific and free of self-serving presumptions. Or you can acknowledge that we also operate by “faith” and selective perception. It’s the human condition. That doesn’t free “them” of responsibility, but neither does it free us of co-responsibility.

  12. George what is the belief that drives America to try and stop other forms of belief,sometimes with war. Is our belief in Exceptionalism any less toxic than the Jews belief that the True God drowned all the “bad” people;the Islamic belief that the nation of Israel is an insult to Allah;the Catholic belief that the Pope is “infallible” in certain respects. Isn’t it our job to “Triage”beliefs based on their relationship to “facts”? For example,America is the richest,most powerful country,therfore we are “exceptional”,therfore if we Bomb the cities of our enemies,we are in the right,because of our historical destiny.
    When JC talked about the Meek,was he attempting to end the reign of Belief(LAW),because no matter what the belief,the poor/meek rarely inherit anything but Debt,so JC was referring to the inheritance of the WORLD after all Belief is extinguished,meaning those people who believe are extinguished.

  13. @ CK MacLeod:
    I am quite aware of the fact that for several centuries, Islam was tolerant and productive, and the leading center of research on astronomy. I am equally aware of the fact that most Muslims are civilized and productive people. None of this negates the fact that Hirsi Ali was a victim of zzlam. None of it negates the existence of the believers who bombed the London subway, the Madrid railway, carried out 9/11, etc. These people read their holy texts carefully and literally. So did the Inquisitors who knew that Jesus had said that “no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Today, no Christian will cite those words as a reason to kill heretics. Today, we can even state that none of the words attributed to Jesus can be independently verified as having been said by him (which proves conclusively that he was more merciful than anybody else who ever lived). I trust the day will come when there will be no more Muslims who are eager to kill themselves in order to kill others. In the meantime, those who have faith in the eternal truth of zzlam are numerous and acutely dangerous. Hirsi Ali is doing the world a service by reminding us of this fact.

  14. Rex,
    America managed to avoid war with the USSR. World War II was something we entered late and after provocation.
    Jews, at the seder, symbolically spill a drop of wine for each of the plagues inflicted on the Egyptians, thus acknowledging their unwarranted suffering. Israel had the power to level Gaza, just as the Allies did to Hamburg and Dresden, but refrained from doing so.
    Faith is always dangerous. The First Amendment introduced freedom of religion as part of our legal tradition. Nothing could have been more anti-religious (in theory) and pro-religious (in practice).
    Religion is beautiful as long as you take it with a grain of salt.

  15. George,if we regard Religious belief in its broadest sense to include Facism,Totaltarianism,Marism,Libertarianism,Racism/anti-Semitism,in addition to any other Isms ,don’t we have a Perfect Storm of ISMISM to create constant Chaos. The subconscious function of War is to shake out all these Isms for a while.

  16. None of it negates the existence of the believers who bombed the London subway, the Madrid railway, carried out 9/11

    george …
    fundamentalists and millenialists create terror. its what they do, whether they are in the US or in MENA. There are only two base types of homo sap. and those are conservative and liberal.
    so in MENA you get OBL and Mullah Omar and in the US you get Tim McVeigh, Scott Roeller, and the Hutaree. The difference is we have a functional government and the rule of law here. In MENA, not so much.
    Demonizing all Islam might make you feel special, but that is what caused the EPIC FAIL of COIN and the Bush Doctrine in MENA.
    Don’t mistake me, we are going home with broken teeth in Afghanistan. Petraeus is talking to the Taliban.
    We had a chance to make the good parts of al-Islam our ally.
    Instead America surrendered to fear and ignorance and hate.

  17. strangelet

    Nobody in America except for a handful of Neocons gives a crap about Afghanistan,and that includes the Obama administration,and our Military. Ditto for an Iran with Nukes. However,if there is a 9/11/2,there will be a repeat of WW2 in the neareast,the result will be that we will then control the World’s Oil Supply.
    There’s plenty of incentives for some very bad actors to create a 2nd major attack on the US.

  18. We didn’t care about it on September 10th, we certainly did on September 12th, Kristof’s experience, (graduate work at Cairo U, before he became a Sinologists, shows this annoying habit of mirroring the West, as an analogue to Middle Wast violence, hence he carried forward the witchhunt that enveloped Dr. Stephen Hatfill in the anthrax investigation, When he talks of gun rights, he refers to Somalia, the former seat of Siad Barre, which collapsed in fraticidal violence, with Aidid, the Islamic Courts, soon Al Sahaab, and their Alabaman born half Syrian commander.

    Now Hirsi Ali is honest about her experience, so she must be dismissed because why exactly, oh it contradicts the peaceful
    view of Islam, Meanwhile we can have the Jesus Seminar and
    Dan Brown, tear down the entire basis of a 2,000 year old religion
    on half trasncribed scrolls, because we are just asking questions

  19. @ narciso:
    A 2,000 year old religion that could be “torn down” by a bestsellerist and a “Seminar” mustn’t have been built very well. Or are you comparing apples and celestial mechanics?

    If Hirsi Ali were merely “honest about her experience,” hardly anyone would care except her therapist and social workers. She is a political figure proposing a political project, offering her personal story as politically emblematic, and is subject to criticism on that basis. What she proposes and how she proposes it are as valid subjects of discussion as the information/impressions she has to offer. Why is this not obvious to you?

  20. tear down the entire basis of a 2,000 year old religion

    JC could have cared less about the establisment of a church,or any other display of eartly power/influence. His rejection of Satanic temptations attest to that. See Paradise Regained/Milton. Whenever I see the livery of a Pope and think about JC himself,it makes me smile.

  21. Now Hirsi Ali is honest about her experience

    :cough cough: bullshytt :cough:
    well she LIED in my link.
    she DELIBERATELY misrepresented the AAP proposed symbolic nicking as a somalian puberty rite of the same name.
    why would she do that?

  22. she DELIBERATELY misrepresented the AAP proposed symbolic nicking as a somalian puberty rite of the same name

    Male or Female Circumcision,symbolic or actual,it’s all very STUPID.

  23. strangelet wrote:
    @ Rex Caruthers: i bet our 100000 soljahs there care. and their commanding officers….and the CinC

    Nope,we don’t give a shit. We have no business in Afghanistan,and except for the Brainwashed,the soljahs just want a paycheck and some tuition. And.everybody knows 100000 soljahs isn’t near enough to win,including the soljahs, This is a farce,it stops being a farce after the next major attack on us,if Bush hadn’t been an idiot,he could have had a real War last time,but next time,it is a real war,it will be a reinactment of what happened to Germany, and Japan,If you Love Islam,you’d better hope that the leaders of Islam will stop the idiots from attacking us,next time its Hiroshima Redux.

  24. We have gone to the point where we must question everything of our faith, all our institution with a corrosive cynicism, but the Other faith, which has more than a few blemishes, we must take at face value. Has Christianity strayed over 2,000 years, I would be a fool to say no, but it seems Islam was a militant faith from the start, it never had dissident status like the Christians or even the Jews under Seleucid or Roman rule

  25. I imagine the British soldier standing point on the NorthWest Frontier, after 1841, wasn’t terribly thrilled to be on ‘the Balaclava’ end of things
    as it was at Inkerman a dozen years later, as related by Tennyson;
    ‘it is not for us to question why, it is just for us to do or die’ Nearly a hundred years later, Pete Saunders, would be in the same spot in Waziristan

  26. narciso wrote:
    We have gone to the point where we must question everything of our faith, all our institution with a corrosive cynicism, but the Other faith, which has more than a few blemishes, we must take at face value. Has Christianity strayed over 2,000 years, I would be a fool to say no, but it seems Islam was a militant faith from the start, it never had dissident status like the Christians or even the Jews under Seleucid or Roman rule

    Interesting comment but the Inquisition/Wars of the Reformation/Catholic Pedophilia are not much related to JC’s brief visit to our planet.

  27. For the first three hundred or so, years, no one really had any problem
    with Christianity, it was only the association with state power starting
    with Constantine, as our Czar, never fails to remind us, which led to
    the slayings, the flayings, that are the defense case, Now I bring the
    two previous periods of colonial domination as a rough comparison, whereas well you have Khaybar and Yathrib’s fate, very early in the deal, of the other

  28. I have to go now, to do penance for my grandparents’ complicity in changing Islam from a religion of peace to a radical suicide bomber generator because they voted for FDR.

    Unless CK’s Surah at 13 didn’t mean what it plainly says, like all the Surah’s of the Qur’an that don’t proclaim peace, understanging and love to all the infidels in the world.

  29. And so, here in the UK they are remembering the July 7 murders of 50 odd Brits five years ago in London, and you are criticizing AHI for speaking truth to power. I don’t understand your point. She differentiates herself from the conventional wisdom which is actually the conventional folly that the West must not enflame Islam by being too critical of radical Islam. Yes, the majority are not suicide murderers, but don’t the majority spend much of their time nursing made up victimhood and grievances, insisting on respect for their own separate laws and demanding that western governments placate them? And, unfortunately the always guilt ridden western governments are very willing to comply with all of this mood making.

    Aren’t these ever aggrieved Moslems then providing the jungle in which the jihadists can freely roam, while western governments busy themselves with a fatal unwillingness to face facts such as the fact that racial profiling can be one of several effective means to prevent additional murders?

    It seems to me that the point of denouncing truth sayers like Ayaan is to perpetuate a myth, to deflect effective counter measures and to weaken western societies.

    Colin, you may wish it were not so, but today’s Islam carries an inherent animosity toward the rest of us, and animosity which we ignore at our own peril. Up here in Yorkshire the rapidly growing Moslem population is doing everything they can to make this part of Britain a Moslem part of Britian. You see a nice Moslem family in the park and smiles are exchanged, and of course you think they are nice family folks like we are. But do you know what their Immam is preaching to them on Fridays? Do you know what books are featured in their favorite bookstores? Do you know what the cute little kiddies are being taught in their community’s Islamic schools? Do you know what their elected representatives are up to? Do you know where their charitable donations go?

  30. Well no not exactly, Saud had driven out his Ilkwan opposition, by the battle of Diriyah in ’29, just in time for that nice young man, Mr. St. John Philby, brokered that deal with Mr. Loomis, a protege of
    Bully Boy TR in the State Department, that gave us all that oil, with
    the ARAMCO concession, so it’s Socal’s (now Chevron) fault starting in ’38, so you’re kind of right, sort of

  31. Yorkshire, I recall reading something about that part of the UK, about 5 years ago, I know It’s coming up to me

  32. today’s Islam carries an inherent animosity toward the rest of us…

    bullshytt.
    a lot of muslims carry an inherent animosity toward the rest of you….you might ax yourself why, Z.
    al-Islam is a religion….it can’t carry anything.
    colonialism, imperialism, the crusades, big white christian bwana, missionariism, the British Raj, Operation Ajax, propping dictators like Uncle Saddam, the post WWII partition of MENA states, the partion of muslim lands to assuage ameri-euro holocaust guilt…need more?

    oh..that is why you cherry pick the Qur’an– to find evidence that WE started it!
    you dumbasses.
    you started it.
    now go home with your broken teeth and empty pocketbooks.

  33. Almost eight centuries of occupation of the Ilberian peninsula, for the first three it was ok, Theodoric had run a bad outfit, for Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, went all Quellist and said ‘That far enough’ Wiping away Khaybar and Yathrib, building the Dome of the Rock on a fable, the conquering of Byzantium, the Mogul empire, the Wahhabi attack on the Raj including Viceroy Mayo, just some details on the other end
    of the ledger

  34. Stranglet/you dumbasses.
    you started it.
    now go home with your broken teeth and empty pocketbooks

    You’re right,furthermore we’re broke,disgusted with ourselves, for getting involved in the shithole of the world,you’d have thought we would learn from losing 100000 men in shitholes like Korea,and Nam,but,remember,you got lucky,because we had an idiot in charge on 9/11,if there’s a second chance,we might do it right. Plus,we really need a transfusion of wealth into our empty pocketbooks.

  35. Bin Laden, is but a manifestation of the Wahhabi political theocratic infrastructure, so you think we would have invaded Arabia like “Miles
    Ignotus” Edward Luttvak counseled in Harpers in ’75, some thirty years
    later, he seemed not to understand his own argument, comparing us to
    Napoleon’s puppets in Spain, or do you think it’s as easy as the demagogue Buckman, who just nukes a good part of the Middle East,
    and institutes permanent military conscription.

  36. narciso wrote:

    Almost eight centuries of occupation of the Ilberian peninsula, for the first three it was ok, Theodoric had run a bad outfit, for Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, went all Quellist and said ‘That far enough’ Wiping away Khaybar and Yathrib, building the Dome of the Rock on a fable, the conquering of Byzantium, the Mogul empire, the Wahhabi attack on the Raj including Viceroy Mayo, just some details on the other end
    of the ledger

    Just to be clear, this means what? Muslims aren’t allowed to have empires, but the Brits had an eternal claim on India and environs? Muslims aren’t allowed to build mosques inspired by “fables,” but the “holy sites” of the Jews and Christians are, what, built on truth?

    I don’t think it’s the West’s “fault” for having a technologically superior and more dynamic civilization for the last two or three hundred years. I don’t think the West intentionally destroyed the bases of Eastern and Southern economy and society. Mostly, the West was just making deals with whatever “legal” sovereigns and owners, and then protecting the rights of the buyers. It just so happened that pre-existing economic, social, and political structures were wiped out. Partly because there were a lot more Turks, Arabs, South Asians, Africans, Chinese, et al, than there were, say, Native Americans, the inevitable and inexorable process tended to involve colonization and expropriation rather than near-total eradication of indigenous populations, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t frequently immensely destructive and brutal – both coming and going.

    If the roles had been reversed, if the critical elements had come together (or could have come together) somewhere else, then it might have been just as bad or worse for the Europeans and for any and all other losers of the historical lottery. The West invented a lot, but it didn’t invent conquest, genocide, enslavement, or exploitation. Or hypocrisy. All the same, if problems today seem intractable and the psychology of our enemies seems incomprehensible, it may have something to do with a faulty analytical approach. That the simplistic narrative we impose instead happens to be self-flattering in the extreme should make us suspicious of our own willingness to stand by it despite its lack of explanatory power.

  37. We may as well go on to a new topic. Strangelet will never get over the Crusades and I’ll never get over the destruction of Byzantium and the forcible conversion of the inhabitants of the MENA states.

    Besides, an angel appeared to me last night in a dream and said an eye for an eye is grossly inadequate.

  38. @ CK MacLeod:

    Incidently, that link was hardly soothing. The explication was vaguely similar to what Lindbergh might have written in the late 1930’s about certain disturbing quotes from that Austrian Corporal’s book.

    Islam is just what it appears to be, a world conquering ideology. Some of its adherents are content to achieve gruadual conquest; and some are in a hurry.

  39. @ Sully:
    How can you look at the last five hundred years and declare Islam the “world conquering ideology”? It’s incredibly myopic.

    You may not be “soothed” by the analysis at the link, but the fact that you would compare a 1400-year-old book and elaborate historical tradition with MEIN KAMPF already establishes that you lack any sense of proportion.

    Sura 5:33 is offered in the context of a re-telling of Biblical history and a glorification of that same God (aka Yahweh) who at several happy points in the Old Testament is said to have ordered the destruction of enemies down to last child, although occasionally the women and children are spared for mere slavery. As the Muslim analyst points out, lest there be any confusion that the subject is historical and exemplary, not instructional or juridical, Islamic societies don’t practice crucifixion or radical dismemberment as described in the passage.

    However, like George and Zoltan, you apparently have been schooled to see what it pleases you to see. George writes, “As for the historical context, such sentences have been carried out in our own time.” I believe that statement is false. Can anyone point to where “crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides” is or has been carried out in Islamic societies, or even by the most extreme nutjob fundamentalists?

    Stoning for adultery or dismembering thieves is incredibly repugnant – but it’s not the same thing, and also doesn’t have anything to do with “world conquering.” There are many other things done in the name of Allah that are repugnant. As there are and have been things done in the name of God, freedom, and profit that are also incredibly repugnant.

    Did you ever look up a decent interpretation of the “Verse of the Sword,” or are you still going by the Bin Laden/Geller reading?

  40. @ Parson Logic T ReFog:

    The equivalent of ‘free election, one time’ doesn’t appeal to me even if it occurs by persuasion. Sharia appears to me to be a trapdoor.

    @ CK MacLeod:

    I’ve found several “decent” interpretation of the verse of the sword, some of which were almost as persuasive as the interpretation of events that Milwaukee fellow used to get those cops to give him back Konerak Sinthasomphone for further processing (just to show I’m versatile in making comparisons).

  41. And, had the Austrian Corporal succeeded in establishing his thousand year state I’m sure hundreds of quite learned apologists would even now be straining at gnats to put a reasonable gloss on the words in his book; operating in the same spirit as his minions who took considerable pains to set the stage for plausible deniability in the future of certain events that occurred in eastern Europe.

  42. Sully wrote:

    The equivalent of ‘free election, one time’ doesn’t appeal to me even if it occurs by persuasion. Sharia appears to me to be a trapdoor.

    nor should it appeal to you, but “freedom” means exactly what it says it means.

    late-term abortion advocates, torture groupies (wink, wink), neo-nazis, neo-cons, Mormons, and people sacrificing chickens to Orisha all get a chance to persuade Americans that bat-shi guano isn’t just less filling, but also tastes great.

  43. @ strangelet:

    Not true. I’ve yet to find anyone else worthy of knowledge of all of the the particular revelation delivered exclusively to me. And there are other religions that have felt that way although I’m too lazy to look them up.

  44. @ George Jochnowitz:
    That’s horrific about the woman in Iran. I hope she’s spared, and wish everyone luck in stopping it. If it helps reign in and weaken the fundamentalists, great.

    Is the woman about to be stoned in Iran the only person in the world today under threat of horrible death? Or is she of interest to you strictly because she’s under threat by a regime that hates Israel?

  45. @ Sully:
    It seems to me that you’re either not interested in a serious discussion on this topic, or you’re not able to conduct one.

  46. @ CK MacLeod:
    If being concerned about Israel is the only factor that can make one sensitive to the plight of women under Islam, then it’s too bad more people aren’t concerned about Israel.
    Was it concern about Israel that led Hirsi Ali to write her books?

    @ strangelet:
    It’s you who should be responding to save this woman.

  47. @ CK MacLeod:

    There is no one in this discussion who’s angel count has changed by more than one or two percent in the months we’ve been having it.

    Meanwhile this thread started as a rather harsh discussion of the position of a woman who knows more about Islam in practice than anyone here will ever know. Sure she’s bitter; and it’s no surprise she’s immoderate. Having someone cut off parts of one’s anatomy and beat one probably tends to have that effect.

    But that doesn’t mean she isn’t right.

  48. Sully wrote:

    There is no one in this discussion who’s angel count has changed by more than one or two percent in the months we’ve been having it.

    I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean other than that you see no purpose to this conversation. In other words, just as I said: You’re not interested in a serious discussion of the topic.

    Meanwhile this thread started as a rather harsh discussion of the position of a woman who knows more about Islam in practice than anyone here will ever know.

    According to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, that’s what opens minds – “honest, frank dialogue” even if it leaves the other person desperately weeping, on the verge of some kind of psychological break.

    Sure she’s bitter; and it’s no surprise she’s immoderate. Having someone cut off parts of one’s anatomy and beat one probably tends to have that effect.

    But that doesn’t mean she isn’t right.

    Good job sticking up for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s right to be whatever she is. Since, however, no one has declared it impossible for her to be right, or even declared her an inherently untrustworthy witness, it still doesn’t rise to the level of an argument or a contention – or justify “bitter” and “immoderate” behavior by you.

  49. @ George Jochnowitz:yeah, like i could have helped save the students and imams that have been imprisoned, tortured and killed under the Tyrant Khamenei. Are you aware that she is really a turkish womans rights activist being tried on a fake charge? She is actually a political dissadent and the Tyrant reopened her case inorder to eliminate her. This isnt about Islam it is about tyranny.
    Perhaps if i could have travelled back in time and assassinated Nixon then the whole operation ajax-tyrant/american puppet shah reza palavi-CIA coup could have been avoided, and democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh would have created a much stronger and more just islamic republic that didnt stone adulterers and kill and imprison dissidents.
    But time travel to the past is impossible, because of closed-form time curves.
    Both Hawking and Carroll said so.

  50. who knows more about Islam in practice than anyone here will ever know.

    but i am a muslimah. AHA only knows how Islam is practiced in the primitive third world country of Somalia.
    that is all.
    My sister Willow lived in Cairo.
    My brother Thabet lives in the UK.

  51. Honestly did you miss that Van Gogh was murdered for a film, by Bouyeri, that Pim Fortyn who challenged some aspects of immigration
    was killed by a leftist, that Wilders has to go everywhere under armed
    guard, this is the charming land of the Wooden Shoes in the current day. Is it really that surprising that Ayan Hirsi might be a little skeptical
    of the whole thing.

    As for AJAX, it only facilitated a genuine revolt of the Bazaaris and the Mullahs, the Shah was able to hold out for 26 years if you count the Kerenski like turn of Bani Sadr

  52. Londonistan, isn’t much of an improvement, as Abu Qatada, Abu Suri,
    Omar Bakri, and that Chaudry cat from Al Mujahiroun, indicate

  53. Mossadegh really had little support except within the Communists (Tudeh) So much like Amin and Taraki in Afghanistan, a generation
    later, is it possible the Soviets would have intervened along the Caspian side of the country. REmember that the backstory to Knebel’s
    ‘Seven Days in May’ was that a war in Persia, was the great quagmire
    that brought Lyman to the Presidency. Back in ’62, the idea that Vietnam would be the big setpiece was a little hard to fathom

  54. Conservative and Reform Judaism have ordained women as rabbis for some time.

    As have most Protestant Churches;Catholic/Islam are a little behind the curve on women as leaders.

  55. I wasw reading “REAL” contentions today,and I ran into this article,
    “Mohammed Oudeh’s Lesson: Attacking the West Pays”
    Evelyn Gordon – 07.08.2010 – 9:08 AM
    After Mohammed Oudeh, planner of the terror attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, died this weekend, media obituaries noted that he never regretted his actions. A 2006 interview with AP explained why:
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/evelyn-gordon/325096
    This reminded me of something I haven’t brought up for a while,my old Buddy, Bambi,Luis Posada Carilles. To my peculiar way of thinking,the fact that LPC is living large in Miami Fla,is an example of the US government at its worst. The Superlative hyprocisy here is that we are endlessly commiserating with the horrible events of 1972,(Spielberg FILM) but the death of Cuban athletes due to “AntiCommunist” Terrorism is ignorable. I indict the Neocons in particular on this. I have never read one article on LPC in any Conservative Journal/Newspaper/Blog. If anyone can site one here,I will amend that statment. Blogging at Contentions for years under the appellation RCAR,I brought LPC up every time someone brought up Munich,not one blogger,ever, agreed with me that maybe Bambi was a bad guy who ought to be tried for terrorism elsewhere.
    I went to our local newspaper,circulation 1,200,000,where I know some Reporters,we ended a meeting with several of the syndicated columnists working here,Bottom Line,Their Editor “Spiked” any piece about LPC,”Our Readers aren’t Interested”
    Here’s the Deal,I want to hear from Sully,Narc,Zoltan,Joe,BarB,JED,JEM,Adam,Stranglet,George et al. Please think about Bambi in context of the Rhetoric on the WOT,that’s where the discussion belongs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Posada_Carriles

  56. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    This awaiting Moderation feature is a pain in my ASS.

    Well, I could let the threads get littered with links to Anne Hathaway Nude! and Discount Adderall! Or require registration and log in in order to comment, or one of those “re-produce the weirded letters” routines. Could probably be instituted as a first-time only thing.

    Or next time you put up a comment with multiple links, you could break it up into pieces. Or learn how to do a text-link.

  57. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Consistency is the hobgoblin of uncommitted minds. The extension of moral imagination beyond oneself, one’s family, one’s tribe, community, one’s nation, one’s people, one’s alliance leads to immobilization, pacifism, self-sacrifice, an excuse for every criminal and a criminal for every excuse. It’s no way to run a railroad.

  58. Consistency is the hobgoblin of uncommitted minds. The extension of moral imagination beyond oneself, one’s family, one’s tribe, community, one’s nation, one’s people, one’s alliance leads to immobilization, pacifism, self-sacrifice, an excuse for every criminal and a criminal for every excuse. It’s no way to run a railroad.

    Would you paraphrase this? Thanks

  59. @ CK MacLeod:

    Just so.

    A long way of saying “Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.”

    And, can’t find the quote now but ~ ‘we sleep safe in our beds because hard men patrol the frontiers of freedom.’

  60. Don’t Wanta Know wrote:
    @ CK MacLeod:
    Just so.
    A long way of saying “Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.”
    And, can’t find the quote now but ~ ‘we sleep safe in our beds because hard men patrol the frontiers of freedom.

    What does this have to do with Carrilles living like a Millionaire in Miami safe from extradition? Not arguing,I just want to understand your opinion.

  61. Except there is the annoying aspect that he didn’t do it, yet the Venezuelan Govt kept him in prison, in part to appease Cuba, he had been a very able hunter of the Marxist guerillas there, the real culprit admitted in a famous unrelated court deposition, for narcotics trafficking, Ricardo ‘the Monkey” Morales, a character right out of Miami vice, or to make the parallel to Salameh, who was protected
    by his CIA handler, don’t you get tired of excusing butchers for one reason of another

  62. @ Rex Caruthers:
    I care more about my dog than your dog. I care more about my kid than your kid. I care more about my city than your city. I care more about people with whom I identify than about people with whom I don’t identify. Innocents killed incidental to my military operations are regrettable, but the other guy’s fault. Innocents killed incidental to the other guy’s military operations are criminal outrages. In Christianity, Jesus Christ symbolizes universal moral imagination – which is why he had to die.

    Israelis and friends of Israel are in an eternal and amply justified state of outrage over Munich, among other atrocities. Palestinians and their friends are in an eternal and amply justified state of outrage over this, that, or the other. Even putting those two thoughts together under contextually implied equivalence will make you an enemy to both camps.

    Closely related:

    The philosopher ceases to be a philosopher at the moment at which the “subjective certainty” of a solution becomes stronger than his awareness of the problematic character of that solution. At that moment the sectarian is born.

    –Leo Strauss

    narciso wrote:

    don’t you get tired of excusing butchers for one reason of another

    You first. Regardless of the LPC’s actual direct involvement with the airliner attack – he was convicted, after all – he is held responsible for a number of crimes, and, according to Wikipedia anyway, about to stand trial again.

  63. narciso wrote:
    Except there is the annoying aspect that he didn’t do it

    Great,since you know that for a fact,testify for your hero,I’d even agree to have the American taxpayers pay for his defense,he could be tried in any location his lawyer would agree to,but,in my opinion, he needs to be tried,I’m sure you will think of a reason he should continue living comfortably where he is without the inconvenience of some legal process,reward for years of loyal service for our freedom.

  64. CK MacLeod wrote:
    @ Rex Caruthers:
    I care more about my dog than your dog. I care more about my kid than your kid.

    How is LPC your kid or your dog?

  65. It is not irrelevant that Venezuela is Iran’s staunchest ally. The Marxist-Islamic Alliance is alive and well. Why is LPC in jail? Because Venezuela hates Israel. This makes no sense whatever, of course, but the most dangerous hatreds are those that have no motive.

  66. Hougan and Taylor Branch was the one that set the Black legend upon Carriles. If you did notice his conviction was reversed on more than one occasion, the other charges stem from an interview he gave to a Castro groupie Anne Marie Bardach, who can do wrong. Oudeh was never apprehended for any crime, he died peacefully just like Effendi
    Fadlallah. Of course Castro (either one) or Chavez, would love to ‘render’ him, and seeing the work of Holder in the last administration, that’ not an idle boast

  67. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    How is LPC your kid or your dog?

    The National Enquirer is holding up the presses…

    and praying that the answer to the question relies on the non-exclusive disjunction

  68. @ Rex Caruthers:
    If I’m one of those evil neo-cons, LPC is part of my extended political clan. Therefore, his alleged crimes don’t stink to me like the crimes of members of the Hatfield Islamist clan.

  69. George/The Marxist-Islamic Alliance is alive and well. Why is LPC in jail?

    He isn’t,he’s living like a rich dude in Miami

    Parson/NON-EXCLUSIVE DISJUNCTION,”
    “XOR” redirects here. For other uses, see XOR (disambiguation).
    For the corresponding concept in combinational logic, see XOR gate.
    “The logical operation exclusive disjunction, also called exclusive or (symbolized XOR, EOR, EXOR, or ⊕), is a type of logical disjunction on two operands that results in a value of true if exactly one of the operands has a value of true.[1] A simple way to state this is “one or the other but not both.”
    Put differently, exclusive disjunction is a logical operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of true only in cases where the truth value of the operands differ”
    LOL

  70. CK MacLeod wrote:
    @ Rex Caruthers:
    If I’m one of those evil neo-cons, LPC is part of my extended political clan. Therefore, his alleged crimes don’t stink to me like the crimes of members of the Hatfield Islamist clan.

    CK,Then, You would be the only NeoCon on this planet ,who would admit that LPC is part of your extended political clan. Your escape clause is “IF”. Everyone else in the NeoCON camp treats LPC as non-existant,and when pushed, becomes evasive(#66),Newspeakian 62,65,68,”opinions are now facts”, Super-legalistic,#67

    The easiest way is to agree that LPC’s organization and Black September are variations on a theme,but the far right including the NeoCons and The Right of Return Cubans,and the Worst of the Cold Warriors can’t go there.

  71. You aren’t neocons….you are neocols.
    neocolonialists.
    you believe in the intrinsic superiority of western culture and government.

  72. You know it doesn’t work that way, the PLO was granted UN observer
    status, then ultimately it’s own sovereign territory. Fidel was practically given the key to the city if not for Guiliani, the last time around. Ahmadinejad was opposed with nowhere the vehemence directed say at tea partiers

  73. @ Rex Caruthers:

    I’m not excusing Carillo, if he did what the Wikipedia entry asserts (which Narc is disputing, perhaps reasonably so as almost all such things are usually open to at least some dispute); but I am more prepared to excuse the actions of those who fight on my side than those who fight on the other side.

    It’s as CK is saying tongue in cheek. I simply don’t care as much about someone who does bad things to my enemies as I do about someone who does bad things to my friends.

    Take it to a simpler case. do you get as exercised about the doings of Bomber Harris and Curtis LeMay as you do about Herman Goering and Hideki Tojo who were trying to kill my dad and uncles (along with your dad and uncles and a bunch of other people).

  74. Stranglet/you believe in the intrinsic superiority of western culture and government.

    Au Contraire,I am a student of Gibbon,Spengler,Toynbee, I think the writing is on the wall for both of the above,however,in terms of tactics(Short term reality)I believe that the only choice the American Empire has to maintain power,and it will only work temporarily,is to obtain by force,(using a pretext to soften the appearance),the assets of other nations using them to keep the Social-financial-military-welfare-complex from collapsing us as it did the USSR,we are closer to that collapse than anyone believes possible,so we have become exceedingly dangerous.

  75. Sully/Take it to a simpler case. do you get as exercised about the doings of Bomber Harris and Curtis LeMay as you do about Herman Goering and Hideki Tojo who were trying to kill my dad and uncles (along with your dad and uncles and a bunch of other people).

    Here’s a simpler case,I never approve of terrorists who shot down airliners,I never approve of terrorists killing Olympic athletes,NO EXCEPTIONS.

  76. Now I guess the dustup now is with Chavez Abarca, the former Salvadoran aRmy officer, with experience in fighting communism, who was detained in Venezuela, last week, that detail has been left out of
    the dispatches of late. The deposition from the 1980 case as well the aRDE investigation carried out for the Govt of Barbados is left out of
    the wiki entry, curious Minitrue error, not considering the the Cuban
    Institute of Cybernetic Sciences, is one of the most diligent of editors
    to Wikipedia

  77. I am near finishing her book, INFIDEL, and I must say the more pages I turn, the more I respect thie brave woman.

    Two disquieting things stand out for me:

    – Moslem rage again against anyone who questions the aspects of this religion which robs children of their childhood and which treats women as property.

    – The western tendency to deny the inherent dangers of appeasing Moslems, and to pretend that their religion and culture deserves the same kind of respect and forbearance which more civilized religions are given. This includes state sponsorship of schools and other instutions in which Moslems segregate themselves, a failure to keep statistical information on widespread cultural practices such as child marriage, kitchen table genital excisions, child and wife beating, and
    honor killings.

  78. @ Zoltan Newberry:Ok that is enough.
    Do you know why you have to demonize al-Islam? Because otherwise 6000 young american soljahs have died for nothing…SO FAR. The Bush Doctrine could NEVER WORK. More democracy in MENA means more Islam.
    Even I am not heartless enough to disabuse our noble young soljahs and their families about the cause they supposedly serve.
    AHA is a heartless JAFI that doesn’t give a shit about us muslimahs as long as she can sell books to middleaged white guys like you Z.
    She is pure evil, and the best friend of the broken glass grannies that mutilated her.

  79. @ Zoltan Newberry:well i don’t know Z…..do you suppose Bush ever has a sleepless night over the 6000+ american kids he killed because he was too stupid to realize that muslims will vote for Islam when they can vote?

  80. Age at marriage

    The issue of Aisha’s age at the time she was married to Muhammad has been of interest since the earliest days of Islam.[3] Early Muslims regarded Aisha’s youth as demonstrating her virginity and, therefore, her suitability as a bride of Muhammad.[3] During modern times, however, critics of Islam have taken up the issue, regarding it as reflecting poorly on Muhammad’s character.

    References to Aisha’s age by early historians are frequent.[3] According to Spellberg, historians who supported the Abbasid Caliphate against Shi’a claims considered Aisha’s youth, and therefore her purity, to be of paramount importance. They thus specifically emphasized it, implying that as Muhammad’s only virgin wife, Aisha was divinely intended for him, and therefore the most credible regarding the debate over the succession to Muhammad.[3]

    Child marriages such as this were relatively common in Bedouin societies at the time, and remain common in some modern societies worldwide.[20] American scholar Colin Turner suggests that such marriages were not seen as improper in historical context, and that individuals in such societies matured at an earlier age than in the modern times.[20] In modern times, however, the issue of Muhammad marrying and having sexual relations with a child so young has been used to criticize him, especially in societies where child sexual abuse and related issues are considered serious crimes.[20]

    However many Islamic scholars such as Maulana Muhammad Ali have challenged the belief that Aisha was aged 6 or 9 years old. He stated that:

    A great misconception prevails as to the age at which Aisha was taken in marriage by the Prophet. Ibn Sa‘d has stated in the Tabaqat that when Abu Bakr [father of Aisha] was approached on behalf of the Holy Prophet, he replied that the girl had already been betrothed to Jubair, and that he would have to settle the matter first with him. This shows that Aisha must have been approaching majority at the time. Again, the Isaba, speaking of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima, says that she was born five years before the Call and was about five years older than Aisha. This shows that Aisha must have been about ten years at the time of her betrothal to the Prophet, and not six years as she is generally supposed to be. This is further borne out by the fact that Aisha herself is reported to have stated that when the chapter [of the Holy Quran] entitled The Moon, the fifty-fourth chapter, was revealed, she was a girl playing about and remembered certain verses then revealed. Now the fifty-fourth chapter was undoubtedly revealed before the sixth year of the Call. All these considerations point to but one conclusion, viz., that Aisha could not have been less than ten years of age at the time of her nikah, which was virtually only a betrothal. And there is one report in the Tabaqat that Aisha was nine years of age at the time of nikah. Again it is a fact admitted on all hands that the nikah of Aisha took place in the tenth year of the Call in the month of Shawwal, while there is also preponderance of evidence as to the consummation of her marriage taking place in the second year of Hijra in the same month, which shows that full five years had elapsed between the nikah and the consummation. Hence there is not the least doubt that Aisha was at least nine or ten years of age at the time of betrothal, and fourteen or fifteen years at the time of marriage.[21][22]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aisha#Age_at_marriage

  81. We can go back 500 or 1000 years to impugn Christianity in toto, but the practices of the founder of the “Religion of Peace” has to be contextualized

  82. @ narciso:
    “Impugn”? – please provide an example of Christianity being impugned on this blog, assuming that’s what you’re referring to, so I can have some idea what you’re talking about.

    Anyway, Z asked what was up with Aisha. I provided an explanatory link from Wikipedia. Why is that a problem?

  83. Spellberg became part of a burgeoning controversy when an email she sent to Random House regarding The Jewel of Medina, a to-be-published historical novel about Aisha by American journalist Sherry Jones, was leaked to the press. Spellberg reportedly informed Random House that publication would expose Random House employees to Islamic terrorism and that Muslims would react with the kind of violence seen in past controversies over The Satanic Verses and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. No actual threats were received by Random House.[3] Random House indefinitely postponed publication of the novel for “fear of a possible terrorist threat from extremist Muslims” and concern for “the safety and security of the Random House building and employees.”[4]

  84. You’re relying on a source, who used her opinion to suppress free speech, as it turns out, she was partially right; re an incident later
    on in the search queue, out of London, however it kind of debunks
    the peaceful religion premise

  85. @ narciso:
    The material in the wiki quote sourced to her was background material not particularly favorable to either “side” in some theoretical controversy. You could remove it and it wouldn’t affect the main point. It confirmed that the youth of the child bride was confirmed in early Islamic historical accounts. Since she apparently is a legitimate expert on the material, I don’t see how her opinions on other matters – whether a novel was defamatory and provocative – has any bearing on her ability to summarize an aspect of the background of the story. This seems to be how you work on almost everything: It’s argumentum ad hominem of the worst kind. Apparently, the to you questionable behavior of one individual among several contributing to an explanation is somehow supposed to make us conclude that those imputing a prurient, pedophilic content to the marriage should be taken seriously.

    And you still haven’t explained where someone “impugned” Christianity.

  86. Actually, come to think of it, for those seeking to justify the prurient reading, Spellberg provides some basis at least for thinking the bare facts may be true. Pointing out that the child bride tradition was emphasized by a certain faction doesn’t place its factual basis in doubt. The material that does so in the wiki entry is attributed to other scholars.

  87. There’s another part in the Nomani piece, where it says she went to
    see the adaptation of ‘the Last Temptation of Christ’ by Scorsese, so
    it’s goose for the gander, but not. . .

  88. see the adaptation of ‘the Last Temptation of Christ’ by Scorsese

    Please don’t blame Kazanzakis for what was done to his novel,it was out of Copyright Protection,so even the Kazanzakis estate couldn’t stop Scorese.

  89. Well that’s why I made a point of focusing on the adaptation, the point is we are a JudeoChristian civilization, and it is under attack by the left, which thinks we are above such ‘opiates of the masses, and
    the chiliastic branch of Islam, that doesn’t think it’s not nearly enough.

    Now Dr. Spellberg had a point, you cannot go Kazantzakis or even Monty Python on Islam, much less South Park, Rushdie made that quite clear. Now AHA’s sin such that it is, is relating Islam’s impact
    even in a atypical intellectual environment

  90. we are a JudeoChristian civilization, and it is under attack by the left

    The “left” is “Judeo-Christian civilization” just as much as the “right” is. Exactly as much.

  91. It is, but it doesn’t realize it is undermining it’s own foundations, but I was distinguishing traditional American culture from it’s too adversaries

  92. @ CK MacLeod:

    please provide an example of Christianity being impugned on this blog,

    Really CK – to assert that you haven’t been impugning Christianity? It’s incredible how far you’ve gone over the river and around the bend on this topic.

  93. I know, Sully, ‘no lo puedo creer” I can’t believe this is a point of debate. Spanish is a more expressive language for this sort of thing.
    Now you could bring up the Inquisition, Savanarola’s part in Florence, those might be analogous to what the WAhhabis are attempting, but he doesn’t go there

  94. @ Sully:
    @ narciso:

    There’s no debate whatsoever if you refuse even to make an argument. If you insist that it’s so obvious, it should be easy for you to give an example of a statement, comment, or post of mine that in your opinion impugns Christianity.

  95. @ narciso:

    He’s so intent on arguing for accomodation with the “good Islam” that he won’t recognize any distinction between a religion whose founder said turn the other cheek and refused to allow his followers to resist even when his enemies came to take him to his death and a religion whose founder personally slaughtered unbelievers and took women as booty. That in itself is an example of impugning christianity.

  96. @ Sully:
    The Pornocracy is a name given by historians – originated by 19th C German protestant theologians – to a period in the 10th Century known as the saeculum obscurum to church historians – also called the “nadir of the Papacy.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornocracy

    I have no idea why my mentioning “render unto Caesar” constitutes “impugning” Christianity to you. Gary Cooper playing Sgt. York found it very inspirational when he finally got over his Christian pacifism and decided to go off to World War I, kill lots of Germans, and become what I believe was America’s greatest war hero to that point or at least of WWI. It’s commonly invoked in discussions of the limits of emulation of Christ, both in martial contexts and in the context of adjusting the prevailing laws and customs of society – for instance, why Catholic politicians can enforce laws that contravene church teachings, or why Christians can pay taxes to a government doing things that they believe immoral.

  97. @ CK MacLeod:

    Your use of “pornocracy” was very similar to what you called “bearing false witness” on other threads.

    Your reference to “render” was in making of it an equivalent to the Verse of the Sword. And yet again you are obfuscating the matter rather than responding to it.

    I don’t know why I’m wasting time on this. It’s like trying to explain color to a blind person.

  98. Sully wrote:

    That in itself is an example of impugning christianity.

    That in itself is an example of “heads, I win, tails you lose.” You’ve already defined making a counterargument as impermissible.

    And Jesus Christ was not the “founder” of Christianity. Christianity, like Islam, is defined historically by what people have done with it – a long and mixed record. Observing it dispassionately is not impugning it. You’re free to argue that the beliefs were misinterpreted or misapplied. As are Muslims and others in regard to Islam.

  99. Sully wrote:

    Your reference to “render” was in making of it an equivalent to the Verse of the Sword.

    First of all, you still haven’t responded to the explication of the VotS above.

    Second, I brought up “Render unto Caesar” as an illustration as follows:

    Not that it matters much, really: Christian and other warlords have had zero difficulty on that score. It hasn’t been remotely a challenge. “Render up to Caesar” gets thousands of balls rolling, if you really, really need a textual justification – which mostly you don’t, since over the course of most of Christian history, most Christians were illiterate, like most other people.

    I didn’t equate the VotS with “Render…,” and I wouldn’t. Since I don’t see the VotS as a big deal anyway, except when it’s used by Islamophobes and Islamists propagandistically, it makes no sense to suggest that my making such a comparison would impugn anyone or anything. That notion derives strictly from your assumptions and feelings about the VotS, and I’ve explained at length why I consider them ill-founded.

    Third, I brought up the Pornocracy to make the same point that the Catholic Church itself made when it gave its own “dark” designation to the period.

    Fourth, my grandfather was a minister, my grandmother the daughter of a minister, my father and stepmother still attend the church my grandfather founded, and, though I’m not a member of the congregation, I don’t like anyone “impugning” anyone’s religion, and I don’t like people accusing me of doing it, especially without a much better reason than you’ve given. I have frequently defended Christians of all types against what I consider to be thoughtless and unfair criticism, but I’m not sorry if you have trouble dealing with my own beliefs and with honest efforts to treat Muslims with the same respect that I would expect for my parents, myself, or you.

  100. Really, CK, you’re going to say that Judaism would have reached that point on it’s own. It is true that era is symptomatic of Acton’s phrase, about ‘Absolute power corrupting’ but is it unique to Christianity, some
    of the practices of the Saud, who I guess have the rough temporal relationship, to Islam, since they regained their throne in the 20s on
    the Arabian peninsula

  101. @ narciso:
    I don’t understand most of that. I think you’re referring to the status of JC. He didn’t “found” Christianity. At least that’s not how he’s treated within the Christian tradition. He wasn’t a Christian, he WAS Jesus Christ. Christ and many early Christians seemed to consider themselves to be Jews. The religion as we know it was the work of human beings, and how it came together, including its relationship to Judaism, is a complex and very human tale. Muhammad corresponds more closely to the authors of the gospels or to the Old Testament prophets, with the added dimension that he’s treated as a figure worthy of emulation.

  102. Are you really going to dispute every point, one might argue that the former Saul of Tarsus, had more to do so, but there is a certain message present there, but forget my Jesuit school education

  103. @ CK MacLeod:

    Muhammad corresponds more closely to the authors of the gospels or to the Old Testament prophets, with the added dimension that he’s treated as a figure worthy of emulation.

    Exactly; worthy of emulation by proper Muslims in his spread of the faith by the sword which proper Muslims are doing to this day, right down to the massacres of innocents as yesterday at the world cup match, despite all the supposed peaceful writings, which are nothing but lies designed to lull the infidels. I’ve read the sequence of Strangelet’s comments closely.

    Not that I’m granting you your severely stretched point about Christ, which is reminiscent of Bill Clinton at the height of his powers of Jesuitification.

  104. Sully wrote:

    despite all the supposed peaceful writings, which are nothing but lies designed to lull the infidels.

    I’m going to assume you’re joking, in poor taste. The exhibition of hypocrisy would almost be amusing: Someone who takes a conventional reading of a Bible verse or the use of a descriptive historical term as “impugning” the religion that he prefers to defend, but doesn’t see anything questionable about relentlessly attacking in the vilest way the entirety of someone else’s religious and cultural tradition.

  105. @ CK MacLeod:

    Does or does not the Qur’an justify lying to infidels?

    Did or did not Muhammad spread his faith by the sword?

    Do or do not Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the word of God and that they should emulate the actions of their prophet?

    If those are true nothing from the mouth of a Muslim to an infidel can be trusted, ever. Not that the word of anyone to anyone can ever be trusted very far.

  106. Render unto Caesar etc etc is a very logical,totally ironical statement:

    Everything is God’s therfore Nothing is Caesar’s.

  107. Oh, Come now Rex how do you miss the context of that statement, that Jews should not worship the Roman pantheon, that the state
    has limited responsibilities

  108. Everything is God’s therfore Nothing is Caesar’s

    That’s the REAL Jesus,not the CONTEXTUAL Jesus. He was most Radical,not caring one whit for earthly power,or any representitive of Earthly Power.

  109. The State is not a deity, which is the ‘misunderstanding’ that this regime seems not to get. The collapse of civil authority in the West
    after 476, left a vacuum that the Church reluctantly filled

  110. Sully wrote:

    @ CK MacLeod:
    Does or does not the Qur’an justify lying to infidels?

    If, where discussing the conduct of war, the Qur’an didn’t justifying lying to enemy infidels, then Qur’an would be a stupid book. The failure to employ deception in war would be extremely self-destructive. “All warfare is based on deception,” said Sun-Tzu. “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.” He made good sense.

    Christians at war, at least the Christians who hope to win battles, don’t hesitate to employ deception either.

    Did or did not Muhammad spread his faith by the sword?

    As a matter of fact, he didn’t. He strove to spread the area under the political control of Muslims by use of arms. As have Christians and others in similar circumstances. The actual spreading of any faith cannot occur “by the sword,” as Muhammad himself explicitly and famously noted (“no compulsion in religion”). This isn’t a trivial or sophistical point: It’s been something that people have fought and died for, and is one of the most basic founding principles of the United States: Conversion to or belief in any set of religious or moral principles must be freely adopted or is inauthentic and of no moral or spiritual value.

    Do or do not Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the word of God and that they should emulate the actions of their prophet?

    I believe that qualifies as definitional. As such it is the deepest, most essential question for Muslims, and not something that some clumsy attempt to translate one or another verse or act in an inappropriate context could possibly satisfy. That would be the most primitive and naive form of “emulation,” and a form of vanity and error that exists in all religious traditions: As though sitting beneath a tree makes you a good Buddhist or committing suicide would be emulating Christ. (There was a sect of Christians who believed that – unsurprisingly, they died out.)

    If those are true nothing from the mouth of a Muslim to an infidel can be trusted, ever.

    You’re safe.

    Not that the word of anyone to anyone can ever be trusted very far.

    You may be getting somewhere with that. The definition of a word is another word, and all is not to be said at one go. Helping Christians, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, and others to understand that all statements are always already interpretations, and that taken as eternal objects independent of context they cease to be statements, cease to have any meaning as statements, is a project that none of us can long avoid joining.

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