You are currently viewing archive for September 2006
Gateway Pundit has info on the anti-Christian rioting in Nigeria. He also has an update, and picture, of the Indonesian Christian girl who survived a beheading attempt. (You'll need to scroll down a bit.)
This morning on the radio I heard the assertion for the umpteenth time that captured terrorists have Geneva Convention rights. NO THEY DO NOT. Here is a link to the UN page with the text of the Convention.

Here is the relevant language, I've highlighted the parts that are not met by terrorists:

Article 4

A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) That of carrying arms openly;

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

4. Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

5. Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

6. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention:

1. Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to them with a view to internment.

2. The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular usage and treaties.

C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical personnel and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the present Convention.

The Kansas City Star newpaper has a page devoted to stories of citizen soldiers in war zones, defending our nation. Focusing on Reserve and Guard units, these are stories worth reading. Here
Rioting by Muslim youths continues in Brussels. Article. And here.

Here is the lead paragraph from The Brussels Journal:
It looks as if immigrants youths want to turn nightly rioting during the Islamic holy month of ramadan into an annual tradition. Around 8:30pm last night violence erupted again in Brussels, the capital of Europe. The riots centered on the Brussels Marollen quarter and the area near the Midi Train Station, where the international trains from London and Paris arrive. Youths threw stones at passing people and cars, windows of parked cars were smashed, bus shelters were demolished, cars were set ablaze, a youth club was arsoned and a shop was looted. Two molotov cocktails were thrown into St.Peter’s hospital, one of the main hospitals of central Brussels. The fire brigade was able to extinguish the fires at the hospital, but youths managed to steal the keys of the fire engine.

Old Europe has a major problem: the less-than-replacement-level birthrates of native Europeans means declining populations, and the destruction of the state welfare systems. The solution these nations have adopted is to allow large-scale immigration. But, these immigrants are, for the most part, not assimilated, and in many ways do not wish to be assimilated. European institutions and traditions are giving way. The Berlin Opera recently dropped a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" for fear of offending Muslims. Article here. A political reaction can be seen against the current immigration and assimilation policy. For example, in the article linked above, The Brussels Journal reports:
The authorities are especially nervous since the Belgian municipal elections are being held on Sunday October 8th. It is likely that the elections will be won by anti-immigrant, “islamophobic” parties. Since ramadan will not be over on October 8th and many immigrants might perceive a victory of the indigenous right (as opposed to their own far-right) as an insult, Muslim indignation over the election results in major cities may spark serious disturbances. According to a poll published today the Vlaams Belang party is set to win 38.6% of the vote in Antwerp (compared to 33,0% in the previous municipal elections six years ago).

Victor Davis Hanson wrote this essay last spring on what the US can learn from the French immigration experience. He also has a poignant essay on America and Europe.

Meanwhile, lest we think that it is only the West having problems with Islam, four Buddhists were shot by Islamic militants in Thailand. Article here. Hat tip LGF.
As those of you who read this blog know, I refer often to the military nature of Islamic expansion: spreading the faith through conquest. Lest you think I write from a uniquely Christian perspective, allow the following paragraph from the official website of the Government of Oman to present an Islamic view of Muslim expansion into Oman. Hat tip Little Green Footballs

If you do not click the link and read the whole article, then at least read this paragraph. The boldface highlights are mine intended for you skimmers.

After God empowered Muslims to enter Mecca, Islam became the prevailing power and was spread by use of fear. This was particularly evident in the tribe of Quraysh, who had responded to the Prophet Muhammad’s new message of Islam with unrelenting persecution, eventually putting its resources in the service of the ever growing new religion. The Prophet then saw it preferable to contact neighbouring kings and rulers, including the two kings of Oman, Jaiffar and Abd, sons of Al Julanda, through peaceful means. History books tell us that the prophet had sent messages to the people of Oman, including a letter carried by military escort from Amr Inn Al Aas to Jaiffar and Abd, sons of Al Julanda, in which he wrote: ‘In the name of God the Merciful and the Compassionate, from Muhammad bin Abdullah to Jaiffar and Abd, sons of Al Julanda, peace be on those who choose the right path. Embrace Islam, and you shall be safe. I am God’s messenger to all humanity, here to alert all those alive that non believers are condemned. If you submit to Islam, you will remain kings, but if you abstain, your rule will be removed and my horses will enter your arena to prove my prophecy’.

Remember, the one using the terms must define the terms. Islam calls itself the Religion of Peace. By "peace" Muslims mean submission to Allah. This "peace" is to be extended not merely by free conversion, but through force or its threat as well. Mainstream Islam, both Sunni and Shia, does not define religion as a matter merely of the private heart, but of the totality of life, including culture and government.
I have pointed out before that it is not only the future of the West that is in doubt. The future of Islam also is being decided in the 21st century. More precisely, the question is whether Islam has a future as a world-wide major religion.

On the one side, we are seeing that the hedonistic corruption of the West is attractive to many Muslims--witness the behavior of the Saudi wealthy in Europe, the proliferation of satellite dishes in Muslim lands, and even the strip-club visiting habits of suicide bombers in the West before their missions. On the other side, we are witnessing Muslims converting to Christianity in numbers unprecedented in history. Even in Iran underground house churches are coming into existance through the influence of Christian radio.

If Islam does not win this current phase of the nearly 1400 year old war with everyone else, then Islam may be on the ropes by the year 2100.

For my previous posts see The Future of Islam and The Future of Islam, again.

Now, an actual Islamic expert in Europe, Dr. Koenraad Elst, has raised the same question: Is Islam Dying? From the Brussells Journal. This article. uses Dr. Elst's question as a starting point for reflection. Hat tip Jihadwatch.
I think it should be bothering more people that the leader of a nation working very hard to aquire nuclear weapons wants the world as we know it to end. See my earlier post on Iran and deterence. John Daniszewski, of the Los Angeles Times, wrote this article last spring on Iranian fervor for the return of the Mahdi, which would mean the end of this present period of history. (article linked from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette) He notes that one of Ahmadinejad's first actions was to spend $20 million refurbishing a mosque connected with veneration of the Mahdi.

Regimechangeiran has the transcript of the UN speech made one year ago by Ahmadinejad. Afterward he reported to colleagues that he had been surrounded by light as he gave the address. Here are the last two paragraphs:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

From the beginning of time, humanity has longed for the day when justice, peace, equality and compassion envelop the world. All of us can contribute to the establishment of such a world. When that day comes, the ultimate promise of all
Divine religions will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being who is heir to all prophets and pious men. He will lead the world to justice and absolute

0 mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace. 0 Lord, include us among his companions, followers and those who serve his cause.

(more cont.)

» Read More

The Pope now has another defender in his corner, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Carey. (For you Baptists out there, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the world-wide Anglican Communion.) From the Times here. Hat tip LGF.

Here are a few paragraphs, but I hope you'll read the entire article.

"THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has issued his own challenge to “violent” Islam in a lecture in which he defends the Pope’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech.
Lord Carey said that Muslims must address “with great urgency” their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the “clash of civilisations” endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole.

“We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times,” he said. “There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths.”

Lord Carey’s address came as the man who shot and wounded the last Pope wrote to Pope Benedict XVI to warn him that he was in danger. Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to murder John Paul II in 1981 and is now in prison in Turkey, urged the Pope not to visit the country in November. "

In one of my first posts I argued that President Bush, in his heart of hearts, is a postmillenialist. Postmillennialism is the Christian teaching that prior to Christ's return there will be a thousand years of peace and justice (Jesus will return after--post--the millenium). This teaching is optimistic and predicts that the future will be better than the past. Postmillennialism has largely been replaced in American evangelicalism by Premillennialism: the belief that Christ will return before--pre--the period of peace and justice. This teaching is pessimistic about the future prior to Christ's return: in most versions it is believed that things will get worse and worse, reaching a crisis prior to the Second Coming.

Reading the President's speech before the UN today --full text here-- I was struck again by his optimism that the future could be much, much better than the past because of the spread of liberty including political self-determination and a free market. To quote

"This morning, I want to speak about the more hopeful world that is within our reach, a world beyond terror, where ordinary men and women are free to determine their own destiny, where the voices of moderation are empowered, and where the extremists are marginalized by the peaceful majority. This world can be ours if we seek it and if we work together."

This speech sounded like it could have been given by Woodrow Wilson. (Who, by the way, was a devout Presbyterian elder, a denomination in the Reformed tradition, a tradition usually postmillenial.)

I wonder what GWB's evangelical base thinks of his goal? On the one hand, American evangelicals in the 20th century have tended to premillennialism, and have made books detailing the deterioration of the world before Christ's return best-sellers. On the other hand, in spite of their theology, it seems to me that most American evangelicals tend to be optimistic about their own future and plan accordingly.
CNN is not infallible, but Gateway Pundit posted a cached CNN report from 1999 that links the two. Here is the link to the CNN article. How things change; now it is dogma in the MSM that bin Laden and Sadam would not have had anything to do with one another.

Here is the relevant paragraph:

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against the Western powers.

Despite repeated demands from Washington, the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden after the August 7 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, demanding proof of his involvement in terrorist activities.

However, in recent weeks, both the United States and Britain have renewed their pressure on the Taliban to expel bin Laden.

Hat tip Wizbang.
The Pope has been joined by the Archbishop of Greece who condemned "Islamic fanaticism" especially in Africa. Article here from Africa News. Hat tip Jihadwatch.

Because of the continuing furor over the Pope's remarks, I copy now my earlier post.

Pope Benedict XVI recently gave a speech that has angered some Muslims. The Vatican now has put an English translation of his lecture online here. The title is "Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections"

The speech, overall, is a very strong argument for the place of a theological faculty within a university, for the intrinsic link between reason and faith, and a criticism of the modern restriction of reason to a scientific positivism. I heartily recommend a careful reading of this lecture.

This is the part that inflames Muslims (cont. below).

» Read More

The State Department's Annual Report on International Religious Freedom is now available. The Report may be viewed on State's page here. The full report is downloadable as a pdf file. Hat tip Little Green Footballs.

I've put the Executive Summary in the extended section.

The worst offenders of religious freedom are designated Countries of Particular Concern. This year's list: "In November 2005, the Secretary re-designated Burma, China, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam as CPCs. Further details on U.S. actions in CPCs and other countries may be found in each individual country report." (half of these are Islamic--Iran, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia--the other half are totalitarian regimes). So glad to see that free trade is bringing more and more freedom to the Chinese people (sarcasm alert).

» Read More

One of the biggest problems we face in both conflicts is the fact that the enemy have safe havens adjacent to combat areas. For the sanctuary situation for Afghanistan, see this excellent material from The Fourth Rail. Here Hat tip Instapundit. Pakistan has allowed the creation of a Taliban controlled region along the Afghan border.
Pope Benedict XVI recently gave a speech that has angered some Muslims. The Vatican now has put an English translation of his lecture online here. The title is "Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections"

The speech, overall, is a very strong argument for the place of a theological faculty within a university, for the intrinsic link between reason and faith, and a criticism of the modern restriction of reason to a scientific positivism. I heartily recommend a careful reading of this lecture.

This is the part that inflames Muslims (cont. below).

» Read More

The problem with capitalism is capitalists. I don't know who first said this, but I believe it more strongly every day. "Anything for a Buck" capitalists are a danger to everything good.

Read this damning article from Business Week Online about American companies helping the Chinese government control their own people. (Warning: take your blood pressure meds first) Hat tip Nordinger NRO.

A teaser: "Despite the improvement of its image on the world stage, China still has a dismal human rights record. The U.S. State Dept. says that the Communist government is holding at least 260,000 people in ideological "reeducation" camps. Among those detained are pro-democracy activists and members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which the government considers an illegal cult. U.S. technology has been used at least indirectly to improve the government's ability to identify Falun Gong adherents, according to Hao Fengjun, a former security official who has fled China for Australia.

Some American companies have gone out of their way to appeal to the Chinese government's pronounced concern about avoiding unrest. In Chinese-language brochures distributed at a police-technology trade show in Shanghai in 2002, Cisco repeatedly referred to its gear with such phrases as "strengthening police control" and "increasing social stability." Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., says there's nothing unusual about its marketing in China. "We sell to police organizations in many countries," says Rick Justice, senior vice-president for worldwide operations. "We do business [in China] the way we do business anywhere.""

I thought we were to be on the side of democracy and liberty in the world?
The current Pope understands the need to respond to Islamic violence. He made some interesting remarks in a recent lecture, according to Newsmax. The opening paragraphs of this article are below. The full-text of the lecture does not yet seem to be on the Vatican website.

"Pope Benedict XVI invited Muslims on Tuesday to join a dialogue of cultures based on the premise that the concept of an Islamic "holy war" is unreasonable and against God's nature.

In a major lecture at Regensburg University, where he taught theology between 1969 to 1977, Benedict said Christianity is tightly linked to reason and contrasted this view with those who believe in spreading their faith by the sword.

The 79-year-old Pontiff avoided making a direct criticism of Islam, packaging his comments in a highly complex academic lecture with references ranging from ancient Jewish and Greek thinking to Protestant theology and modern atheism.

In his lecture, the Pope quoted, among others, the 14th century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos who wrote that Mohammad had brought things "only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The Pope, who used the terms "jihad" and "holy war" in his lecture, added in his own words: "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul"."

In 1565 the Muslim Turks invaded the island of Malta. In that year a relatively small group of Knights of St. John (Hospitallers) plus the island's population held out against, and finally defeated, the superior attacking force. This was one of the many battles between Christian Europeans and Muslims in the centuries after the rise of Islam. The War did not start on Sept. 11, 2001. Our current conflict is a part of the nearly 1400 year-long battle between Islam and everyone else. (We shouldn't be so Euro-centric: ask Christian Ethiopia and Hindu India about this long war.)

The story of the island's defense is given here..

Also, this week is the anniversary of the relief of the siege of Vienna in 1683 by the Poles. The Muslim Turks were pushing into Central Europe (again), occupying Hungary, and laying siege to Vienna. After a difficult resistance by the city aided by other European groups, a Christian Polish army arrived and defeated the Turks.
From the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, the perfect response to Sen. Rockefeller's comment that the world would be better off if Saddam Hussein still were in power. (Warning: the Rott is given to passionate language and a take-no-prisoners style) Here.
In the Times online the author David Selbourne answers this question "No," and gives 10 reasons why not. Some of his points echo those A Waco Farmer and I have made at different times, though we have not descended into Spenglerian gloom yet.

Read the full article. In brief, his 10 points are (quoting the first sentence of each paragraph):

1) The first is the extent of political division in the non-Muslim world about what is afoot.
2) The second reason why, as things stand, Islam will not be defeated is that the strengths of the world community of Muslims are being underestimated, and the nature of Islam misunderstood.
3) Indeed, the third reason why Islam will not be defeated, as things stand, is the low level of Western leadership, in particular in the United States.
4) Next is the contribution to the disarray of Western policy-making being made by the egotistical competitiveness, and in some cases hysterics, of “experts” and commentators on Islam.
5) The fifth disablement is to be found in the confusion of “progressives” about the Islamic advance.
6) The sixth reason for Islam’s growing strength is the vicarious satisfaction felt by many non-Muslims at America’s reverses.
7) The seventh reason lies in the moral poverty of the West’s, and especially America’s, own value system.
8) The next indication that Islam’s advance will continue lies in the skilful use being made of the media and of the world wide web in the service both of the “electronic jihad” and the bamboozling of Western opinion by Muslim spokesmen.
9) The ninth factor guaranteeing Islam’s onward march is the West’s dependency on the material resources of Arab and Muslim countries.
10) Finally, the West is convinced that its notions of technology-driven modernity and market-driven prog- ress are innately superior to the ideals of “backward” Islam.

Hat tip Jihadwatch.
News that a Christian church building has been burned by a Muslim mob in Indonesia. Read here. Islam is as much a religion of tolerance as I am a Klingon.
From Germany: a very prominent women's rights attorney in Germany who has represented Muslim women in cases involving forced marriages, and has sought to raise awareness of the practice of honor killings, has given up her practice following attacks and death threats.

From the Telegraph: "A prominent Berlin lawyer has gone underground after receiving death threats for defending Muslim women who have been forced into marriage.

Seyran Ates, 43, a women's rights advocate, was named Germany's woman of the year in 2005 and has repeatedly spoken out against forced marriage, headscarves and honour killings. She said she had closed her practice as she could not operate safely.

Miss Ates said police had refused to protect her despite threats against her life, including a shooting incident in which a colleague was killed and she was seriously injured." Read entire article. Hat tip Jihadwatch.

This incident is one of countless inconvenient truths that challenge the naive assertion that all cultures are equal and should receive equal respect.

While Roman Catholicism is a major part of the soil from which Mexican culture grows, the relation between the Mexican government and the Roman Church has been rocky in the 20th century: anti-clericalism has been strong. Short history: an enforced separation of the church from affairs of state. Felipe Calderon, who appears to be the next president of Mexico, is an analomy: a fervent, conservative Roman Catholic in high politics. See this article from the Miami Herald. Link. What will his presidency mean for church-state relations in Mexico? Stay tuned.
Courtesy of Photognome, this study presented at USC Applied Economics Workshop.

Abstract: Corruption is believed to be a major factor impeding economic development, but the importance of legal enforcement versus cultural norms in controlling corruption is poorly understood. To disentangle these two factors, we exploit a natural experiment, the stationing of thousands of diplomats from around the world in New York City. Diplomatic immunity means there was essentially zero legal enforcement of diplomatic parking violations, allowing us to examine the role of cultural norms alone. This generates a revealed preference measure of corruption based on real-world behavior for government officials all acting in the same setting. We find tremendous persistence in corruption norms: diplomats from high corruption countries(based on existing survey-based indices) have significantly more parking violations. In a second main result, officials from countries that survey evidence indicates have less favorable popular views of the United States commit significantly more parking violations, providing nonlaboratory evidence on the role that sentiment and affinity play in economic decision-making.

Read paper. Link requires Adobe Acrobat.