Archive for October, 2006

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2006

Halloween is my favorite holiday — bar none. It has all of the candy and decorations but none of the stress of Christmas.

Blending my Romanian heritage with my love of science, I want to share an article I just read:

VAMPIRES ARE A MATHEMATICAL IMPOSSIBILITY.

Efthimiou’s debunking logic: On Jan 1, 1600, the human population was 536,870,911. If the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month, there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600. A month later there would have been four, and so on. In just two-and-a-half years the original human population would all have become vampires with nobody left to feed on.

If mortality rates were taken into consideration, the population would disappear much faster. Even an unrealistically high reproduction rate couldn’t counteract this effect.

That may be true, but I still intend to curl up with some of the candy swiped from by 5-year old son’s tricks-or-treat bag tonight and watch the Frank Langella version of Dracula.

The Anchoress: My Blogging Icon

October 31, 2006

I would like to use my electronic soapbox for a moment to pay tribute to a fabulous writer, creative thinker, and remarkable human being: The Anchoress:

I urge all who visit here to go to her blog for her articles, which are a mixture of the insightful, the humorous, and the profound. For me, she is to blogging what Rush Limbaugh is to talk radio.

What do I mean by that? Back in 1990, I was a sometimes voter, a self-proclaimed feminist favoring abortion-on-demand, and responsibility-avoider. I mindlessly voted Democrat on each and every election. In 1991, I accidentally tuned into Rush Limbaugh. I stayed tuned, inspired by his message. Rush, with great humor and optimism, made be rethink my view of the world. It took me over a year, but eventually I changed my train of thought and embraced Conservatism (which I do this day). [Sadly, not before I voted for B.J. Clinton (but that is another story for another day).]

In 2004, I began surfing the Internet regularly and chatting on Conservative sites. At this time, I became acquainted with the Anchoress on-line. When I found myself disagreeing with fellow Conservatives, it was at those time she and I would be in alignment. Like Rush, the Anchoress has made me review many cherished beliefs. She has given me the incentive to quest for new links, fresh contacts, and alternative Internet sites in which to dialog.

She also taught me the most valuable Internet lesson: Good people can disagree on a subject and still be good people.

I adore her.

I was originally going to discuss her in the context of the Stem Cell Ad controversy. As the safety officer in a biotech company, I am acutely aware of the importance of good research. As a freelance writer, I am highly aware how ignorant most reporters are about the basics of biology and standard research protocol. I want to use this blog to promote sound science policy.

In her recent writings, the Anchoress has made all the essential points, and I can’t add a word more:

Unhappily for me, she also took my radio icon to task. However, I find I cannot completely disagree with her excellent points.

Rush is a smart man and he had to know – he had to know – that questioning Fox’s tremorous bona fides would be red meat for the left, that it would immediately be seized upon as evidence that conservatives were indeed “heartless bastards” and used against Limbaugh and anyone else who dared question Fox’s pronouncments.

The left is full of people who live for the chance to swing from one “moral outrage” to the next, yelping like ADHD-afflicted Tarzans in a fetid jungle. To them it does not matter whether the day’s “outrage” is genuine or not, as long as it get them where they are going. All Rush did, when he gabbed on about tremors and meds was give them another day’s swinging vine and a new call-out. It helped create too much noise, and did nothing to advance real understanding of the issues surrounding ESCR or to convince the campaign ad’s emotional captives that its content was nonsense. Yes, the visual image of Fox swaying about was affecting but that could have been addressed as an afterthought, to much better effect.

I do understand why Rush got fed up. I too am sick of the Democrats parading “unassailable” victims chock full of “absolute moral authority” that play on hearts and shut down thoughts, allowing folks to frolick in the emotional porn of empathetic (and therefore “compassionate and noble”) feeeeeelings. But Rush is supposed to know better. He’s supposed to know the left the way he knows “every inch” of his so-called “glorious naked body,” and so he should have monologued a bit more strategically.

Today, I discovered something about herself that caused me to weep. This woman is the essence of grace.

I am going to conclude my piece with some recommendations on Celtic Music that I love, in honor of the the Anchoress:

And, dear Anchoress, I toast you. Since my ancestors are Romanian, I can’t quite take Guiness. I just found a wonderful Irish import called Smithwick’s, and I raise a tall, frosty glass of it to you.

Question for Muslim Friends

October 31, 2006

Dear Fellow Americans who follow Islam:

One of the purposes of this site is to allow you a chance to comment on the dialogs occurring in the Rightosphere. One of the most active threads today is on this story, obtained from littlegreenfootballs:

(AINA) — According to the Assyrian website ankawa.com, a 14 year old Christian Assyrian boy, Ayad Tariq, from Baqouba, Iraq was decapitated at his work place on October 21.

Ayad Tariq was working his 12 hour shift, maintaining an electric generator, when a group of disguised Muslim insurgents walked in at the beginning of his shift shortly after 6 a.m. and asked him for his ID.

According to another employee who witnessed the events, and who hid when he saw the insurgents approach, the insurgents questioned Ayad after seeing that his ID stated “Christian”, asking if he was truly a “Christian sinner.” Ayad replied “yes, I am Christian but I am not a sinner.” The insurgents quickly said this is a “dirty Christian sinner!” Then they proceeded to each hold one limb, shouting “Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!” while beheading the boy.

Many of the remarks in the posts is that there is silence and no denunciation of this action by the Islamic community. For example, lack of response by the Council on American Islamic Relations (abbreviated CAIR) is cited as believing that the entire population of Islam supports such killings.

Personally, I don’t believe CAIR is the sole voice of Islam in the United States. Can I have your opinion of the situation to take back to the Rightosphere?

Dr. Mustafa Ceric

October 31, 2006

I have been on a quest to learn more about alternative visions of Islam — ones that feature fellowship, religious tolerance, and peaceful co-existence with non-Muslims. I am delighted to say that I have learned about such a Muslim, Dr. Mustafa Ceric, from one of the kind visitors to this site: Samaha.

Samaha writes:

Today, he is no longer greeted with Selam Aleyk “effendija” (Bosnian term for Imam), he is greeted with Selam Aleyk “Reis”! Dr. Mustafa Ceric is now Reis-Ulema of Bosnia and what that means is that he is “the supreme authority” of all Muslims and Clerics in Bosnia. Possibly even more important is that he is known as One of Europe’s top Islamic thinkers” and a mediator between Islam and Christianity”. It is because of his inter-faith work that he was recipient of the 2003 UNESCO Félix Houphouët-Boigny peace prize along with Monsignor Etchegaray.

But, beyond all of that, Reis-Ulema Mustafa Ceric is a man that calls for Muslims to be responsible. He calls for integration within an immigrants respective community. He also calls for Muslims to use reason instead of violence to voice their concerns. He is a man that understands that reform needs to take place not in Islam itself, but rather with Muslims themselves:

You can tell from her blog entry that she has profound admiration and respect for this cleric’s views. I am sure Samaha and many, many other Muslims are much more inclined to follow Dr. Mustafa Ceric’s then the rape-supporting, Australian mufti Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali (whose insane rantings are currently getting tons of attention in the Rightosphere.)

Conservatives and Christians are often angered that they are unfairly branded by the toxicity of some of their most extreme members. Why, then, should we focus on the extreme members of a religion consisting of over 1 billion members?

For those, like myself, interested in learning more about this heroic individual, do check in with Samaha. Also, take some time to read these articles:

Dr. Mustafa Ceric
UK Muslims Urged to Accept West
Islamic Encounters of the Third Kind

One of the biggest concerns that many conservative Americans have is that there seem to be no Islamic cleric promoting religious ideology that would be supportive of democracy. Yet I do believe that the title of “Grand Mufti” means that Dr. Ceric is a supreme authority on Islam. And his ideals seem consistent with the US Constitutional principles that we on the right hold so dear.

And just to provide a more complete story, here is how the article “Islamic Encounters of the Third Kind” was dismissed by “Jihad Watch“:

This is just typical PR rubbish from the moslem side.
And here is some more from the BBC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4283717.stm

Question: Who is truly promoting fellowship and understanding, Dr. Ceric or this Jihad Watch author? Your answer will say much about you.

Egyptian Mummies

October 30, 2006

Dear Friends:

My previous incarnation on the blogosphere was “MUTNODJMET”, a name taken from the last queen of the fabulous 18th Dynasty of Egypt and the sister of Queen Nefertiti. During our correspondence, my blogosphere buddy, Ali, nicknamed me Isis. That handle has stuck!

However, many of my chat room friends still refer to me as MUT. You and they will find my first attempt at blogging appears at Mutnodjmet’s Musings. You will find that I will now maintain that site for all things ancient Egypt, as well as links to other materials if historical import. If you are interested, a detailed description of the evolution of ancient Egyptian mummification is posted. I hope to see some readers!

Kill Us, Too: We Are Also American

October 28, 2006

One of the purposes of this blog is to amplify the Humanist Muslim message. It is amazing to me that the following piece, written by Dr. Aslam Abdullah (the director of the Islamic Society of Nevada), could be overlooked by people continuously asking “where are the moderate Muslims”?

Normally, I would cut out an excerpt and link. However, this recently written piece (Sept. 12, 2006) is so powerful that I will publish it full below, while offer the link here.

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Kill Us, Too: We Are Also Americans
The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, recently issued a decree to its supporters: Kill at least one American in the next two weeks “using a sniper rifle, explosive or whatever the battle may require.”

Well, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, I am an American too. Count me as the one of those you have asked your supporters to kill.

I am not alone, there are thousands of Muslims with me in Las Vegas, and many more millions in America, who are proud Americans and who are ready to face your challenge. You hide in your caves and behind the faces of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. You don’t show your faces and you have no guts to face Muslims. You thrive on the misery of thousands of Muslim youth and children who are victims of despotism, poverty and ignorance.

During the past two decades, you have brought nothing but shame and disaster to your religion and your world.

You said you “invite you not to drop your weapons, and don’t let your souls or your enemies rest until each one of you kills at least one American within a period that does not exceed 15 days with a sniper’s gunshot or incendiary devices or Molotov cocktail or a suicide car bomb — whatever the battle may require.” I invite you to surrender, to seek forgiveness from God almighty for the senseless killing you and your supporters are involved in and repent for everything you have done.

You say that the word of God is the highest. Yes, it is. But you are not worthy of it. You have abandoned God and you have started worshipping your own satanic egos that rejoice at the killing of innocent people. You don’t represent Muslims or, for that matter, any decent human being who believes in the sanctity of life. Many among us American Muslims have differences with our administration on domestic and foreign issues, just like many other Americans do. But the plurality of opinions does not mean that we deprive ourselves of the civility that God demands from us. America is our home and will always be our home. Its interests are ours, and its people are ours. When you talk of killing of Americans, you first have to kill 6 million or so Muslims who will stand for every American’s right to live and enjoy the life as commanded by God.

By growing a beard, shouting some religious slogans and misquoting and misusing some verses of the divine scriptures, you cannot incite Muslims to do things that are contrary to our religion. Yes, you even fail to understand the basic Islamic principles of life and living. Islam demands peace in all aspects of life, Islam demands respect for life. Islam demands justice.

What you are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, India or other parts of the world is anti-human and anti-divine. You are an enemy of Islam as much as you are an enemy of America. You must understand that God who entrusted you with life is the same God who spelled his spirit in every human being regardless of his or her religion or ethnicity or nationality or status. You are violating him.

We feel totally disgusted with your action and we condemn you without any reservation. Don’t come to our mosques to preach this hatred. Don’t visit our Islamic centers to spill the blood of innocents. Don’t think that just because we share the same religion, we would show some sympathy to you. You are not of us. You don’t belong to the religion whose followers are trying to live a peaceful life for themselves and others serving the divine according to their understanding. In our understanding of faith, you appear as anti-divine and anti-human. We reject you now as we rejected you yesterday.

There is nothing common between you and us.

We stand for life, you want to destroy it.

We accept the divine scheme of diversity in the world and you want to impose conformity.

We respect every human being simply because he or she is a creation of the divine, and you hate people based on their religion and ethnicity.

We support freedom and liberty and justice, and you promote bigotry, murder and strangulation.

You will never be able to find a sympathetic voice amidst us. Our differences with others will never lead us to do things that are fundamentally wrong in our faith, i. e. taking the lives of innocent people and killing others because they are different.

So on Sept. 11, when you will be hiding in your caves, we will be out in the streets paying tribute to those who you killed because you failed to see the beauty of life. We will condemn you once again the same way we have been doing ever since 9/11 because we are Muslim Americans.

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And scanning the website from which this wonderful piece came, I discovered a great place that offers a new vision of Muslims: alt.muslim. As your read the entries here, perhaps you will remember that Muslims are human, experiencing joys, struggles and profound grief. And you will come across passages in Islam religious texts that rarely make it into blog discussions.

Among the believers are those who have been true to their covenant to God. Among them are those who have given their lives, others patiently wait their turn, having never weakened in their resolve. (33:23)

Thanks for your interest.

October 28, 2006

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank our new readers for their interest and comments on our new blog. Smart and I both welcome you, and are very grateful you have stopped in to say “hello” and check out the site.

I notice many here have linked onto us because of the “Guide to Sensible Islam Posting” article. I urge you to give Smart’s posts (especially “Fear of Aliens”) a glance. You will learn more from one of Smart’s pieces about economics than you did in a quarter of college economics. We need to be able to sensibly discuss the immigration issue, too.

Winged IsisI would also like to make one, last point. I will be editing the comments section. I will not tolerate distasteful, discourteous language in my electronic home. I will also not permit one-word wonders either, whose entries do nothing to enhance thoughtful discussion. I have had tons of experience coordinating links and references in a Conservative Forum. I intend to use my hard-won skills here.

PS. And Smart is meaner than I am. Her handle on our chat room site was Smartsoimustbeabitch. You have been warned! 🙂

Isis’ Guide to Sensible Islam Posting

October 27, 2006

 

I am a conservative Republican. I am a freelance writer for several local media outlets. I also have journalistic experience. Therefore, today I am going to blend my regard for the complexities of Islamic culture with my experience as a journalist and provide friends, pundits, and fellow members of the Rightosphere with my Guide to Sensible Islam Posting. It is my hope that they are used to enhance productive discussion of Islam, its practitioners, and Americans of Muslim faith in our domain.

Let me start by stating why I feel it has time to set forth some rules. One word: BACKLASH.

When all you ever read about an entire group of people goes against your experiences with actual members of that population, you are inclined to disregard the author’s views. All of the author’s views. On all subjects. And this is beginning to happen to pundits failing to distinguish between Islamic terror-lovers and law-abiding, freedom-desiring Muslims who are supportive of the Global War on Terror.

Perhaps the best example of this backlash is related to littlegreenfootballs (abbreviated LGF). I fell in love with LGF during Rathergate. I detested Dan Rather’s liberal pontificating and anti-conservative slant on the news. I clicked LGF daily, looking for their latest take on the news of the day. They were bookmarked on my favorites.

That has ended. It is because of their focus on the latest insanity caused by individual Muslims as a way to blacken all followers of Mohammed. It is because of their focus on the most damning interpretations of the Koran and Islamic religious texts. And it is because they fail to adequately mention the presence, actions or existence of Humanist Muslims who embrace religious tolerance, promote personal freedoms, and desire change in repressive Islamic regimes.

I have real issues with LGF now. For example, the site initially failed to acknowledge the role played by Ali Eteraz in obtaining a letter describing the execution of an Iranian mother witnessed by her son. LGF is obviously unaware of Ali’s involvement in attempt to secure greater freedoms for women in the wider Muslim world. Ali is the classic example of a Humanist (the word he and I both prefer to “Moderate“) Muslim that the Rightosphere pundits seemingly desire to see (but more often silence).

Dean’s World currently chronicles LGF’s Taqqiya campaign:

But of course the Koran contains no such direction. Taqqiya is only to be invoked in extreme circumstances, so as to avoid bloodshed and horror. Furthermore, Taqqiya is actually rejected by a majority of Muslims worldwide. Indeed, most conservative Muslim scholars say that “taqqiya” is just code-word for “liar” and that lying is never acceptable under Islam.Get used to hearing that word, “taqqiya.” It is almost invariably a sure sign of a foaming, raging Muslim-hating Islamophobe.

Not many LGF readers have exposure to the Islamic world, have read the Koran, or know a Muslim with whom they may ask about subtleties in religious practice. Focusing on a small aspect of faith, magnifying its importance, presenting it as fact, and failing to recognize that the aspect is rejected by most Muslims does Islam an injustice. It diminishes LGF still further.

 

 

To top it off, LGF has become an Internet Book Tour for anti-Muslim viewpoints from non-Muslims (yes, I believe that the head of Jihad Watch can actually present a completely unbiased view of the Muslim community – NOT). This book, and the quotes and citations will be unquestioned by most LGF readers. For example, many authors, pundits and chatters have read the Koran and think they should be very proud of it because they can quote from it. I’ve read my Bible; during discussions, I could quote from it to make Christians look evil. However, if I am genuinely interested in making friends, allies and supporters of fellow Christians, what is the sense of insulting them? The same is no less true of fellow Americans of Muslim faith.

 

Michelle Malkin also recently lost a little of her luster. When Dean Esmay addressed his growing concerns about Islamophobia directly to her, Michelle responded with the most ill-considered, wild-eyed, dismissive electronic rant that I have seen (at least on my side of the blogosphere. I am given to understand that ill-considered, wild-eyed rants are routine in the Leftosphere. But I digress). I felt then that her blogo-explosion was because Dean had actually hit a nerve – a spot in Michelle’s conscience recognizes that perhaps she has crossed the line and not properly distinguished between Islamo-foes and Islamo-friends.

 

One of the biggest questions I get on the Rightosphere is how to differentiate a Wahhabbi-embracing nut job wanting to purda me or chop off my head from a regular, sane follower of Mohammed who embraces the same Constitutional principles I cherish (e.g. freedom of religion, equal opportunities for all, and the pursuit of happiness). I am hoping my Guide will be a good, first start.

 

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ISIS’ GUIDE TO SENSIBLE ISLAM POSTING

1) Learn to distinguish a news-worthy entry from the “Daily-Muslim-Outrage” (DMO) post.

For example, discussion worthy items are about terror groups and their actions. However, stories about child abuse and wife beating apply to members of all faiths, and can just as easily be used to tarnish Christians, too. Consider the actions of these Christians and leaders of Christian sects:

 

Andrea Yates

Fred Phelps

Warren Jeffs

Mary Winkler

Oliver O Grady

Dennis Rader

 

As a reader, I will gloss over the DMO – and if it is provided as an example of all Muslims, I will ignore any future content by the author.

 

However, I acknowledge that we must address the treat related to Islamic groups seeking the destruction of Israel, the United States and adding the West to a grand, new caliphate. For example, stories about the Coptic Christian experiences in Egypt, and struggles of minority religious groups in Turkey, are worthwhile. And, needless to say, Bin Laden updates are always great blog material.

2) Give Humanist Muslims their due.

It is laughable to me that the Rightosphere longs for a none-hateful Muslim presence, then silences any such voice that appears.

 

It would really help the Global War on Terror and national security, even on this small level, to acknowledge the contributions of Humanist Muslims like Ali Eteraz, Free Muslims Coalition against Terror, and the other voices normally dimmed by the din of passionate discussion. You will find Muslims promoting liberty and freedoms – the more you magnify their message, the safer we all will be. The recently issued TV ad by the Free Muslims Coalition is a great item to discuss.

3) Find new sources of information about the Muslim Community – especially in the United States.

One of my greatest personal frustrations as a Conservative Republican woman is that NOW representatives are trotted out to speak on all “women’s issues”. Frankly, I hope news organizations eventually find the Independent Women’s Forum. It is perhaps time to expand the Internet bookmarks a bit. Let me help:

 

http://eteraz.wordpress.com/

http://www.freemuslims.org/

 

I have discovered these two links alone are wonderful portals into Muslim thinking and practices that bear no resemblance to the Islamo-extremist stands of Western-hating Muslim militants.

4) Avoid the use of derogatory terms when discussing Islam, Mohammed and Muslims.

“Raghead” for example is a pejorative term that can only be wielded well by the most skilled pundits. Most skilled. Ann Coulter-level skilled. Bandied about in blog comments sections and chat rooms by lesser entities, it makes the poster’s contributions immediately dismissible. And don’t even get me started on muslime, muzzies, moohamedamna, ect.

 

And even then, such terms should only be used when clearly and concisely referring to Islamic-terrorist and evil-embracing Muslim clerics. Also, failing to capitalize Muslim, Islam, the Koran, and other proper names is just plain ignorant. Perpetrators may think they are making some grand point. They’re not.

5) Reading Robert Spencer’s latest book or citing “the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam” does not make you an Islamic scholar.

Neither does reading the Koran. Proper knowledge of the faith requires interaction and instruction from practicing, learned Muslims. Also, expand the reading list to include books from actual Islamic scholars, so you get actual interpretations of Islamic faith from living, breathing Muslims. Here are some suggestions – and Ali Eteraz probably has more worthy ones.

Soul on Islam;

6) Consider that ex-Muslims do not offer completely untainted views of their religion.

Just listen to the rantings of an ex-Catholic (e.g., George Carlin). While I appreciate the hardships that were endured by former Muslims, trotting out ex-Muslims to expound upon their experiences based on corrupted visions of their faith is not fair.

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IN CONCLUSION. I hope this is helpful. I think following these few, simple rules will help support healthier discussions about Islam and the relations with the Muslim community on a national and international level. It will make policy, tactical, and economic decisions more sound, as we will be acting with information instead of fear.

Interestingly, I could probably do the same list for discussions of Conservatism in the Mainstream Media. In fact, such a list exists. It can be found in a book called Bias.

I think the Rightosphere should consider that we do have much in common with Humanist Muslims.

By Isis

Why You Can’t Say You’re a Capitalist and Be an Isolationist

October 27, 2006

Global investors finance the leveraged borrowings of our U.S. Treasury at about 30% on a quarterly basis.  While the quarterly refunding is always monitored closely to see the level of foreign investors, it masks the true level of global participation.  If you add the GSE’s [Government Sponsored Enterprises,(FNMA, FHLMC, FFCB, FHLB, etc.) ] together with corporate bond issuance, the overall investment participation by foreign investors is indeed impressive.  Why are so many global investors enamoured with U.S. debt obligations, as opposed to say South American debt?  I’m glad you asked that question.

First of all, America has a stable government, stable interest rates with a strong central bank, and a revenue source that appears unstoppable:  the American taxpayer.  Without the wealth in America, created through our free enterprise system, we would have none of that.  Private ownership and wealth create stable government.  Our Republic has been at it for about 230 years now with outstanding results.  Without it you have…well, rioting in the streets, military coups, currency that trades on appointment, and extreme poverty where children are literally dying every five minutes.  You have Mexico, or much of South America, or even worse, Africa. 

Second, America pays their debt obligations and often everybody else’s.  America even forgives defaults at the World Bank level.  We’re the world’s good bankers.  Suffice it to say that everybody may not like us, but they like our credit rating.  Stop me if it sounds like I am describing Exxon.

Third, what is happening is something called “positive carry”.  We not only finance, we trade with the world.  Americans have the luxury, now increased exponentially with the arrival of the internet, to buy the cheapest goods available for sale.  We import more than we export, unless you are tracking services, which are nebulous and difficult to track, but which nevertheless belong in the export/import discussion.  The world is competing for our dollars.  But it is also a world competition for intelligence and innovation we are part of.  So far, we are the leader.  When other nations and investors trade with us, they also take on currency risk, and investing in U.S. debt is a “positive carry” for many manufacturers and central governments looking to mitigate their currency risk in the ongoing process of a trade.  In other words, from their standpoint it’s cheap hedging.  And they get to keep the interest.

What global isolationism (i.e.,  Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s current  proposal to tax imports from China) does is hamstring what is already turning the U.S. economy.  Countless U.S. corporations now have operations in foreign countries.  Much of our labor is now off-shored, where it is much cheaper.  This has understandably caused both confusion and consternation on the part of many Americans.  They feel that America is “losing jobs” (though that isn’t the case), and they are alarmed when they hear about our “trade deficit”.  Businesses which are expanding sales across the globe, such as Wal Mart, are taking political pressure, some of it coming from conservatives, for simple good business plans that add value to their shareholders.  Thinking that way is not capitalism.  It’s isolationism, and you can’t have it both ways.

by Smart

PS:  Isis has related comments here.

A Tribute to Captain Kahn

October 26, 2006

 I would like start my blog post here by offering a tribute to Captian Kahn. Captain Khan was an American.   By way of additional background on him, he was Muslim and of Pakistani origin.  He was serving in the U.S. army as an ordnance officer when he was killed in Iraq.Capt. Kahn's Tombstone.

During his funeral,  Captain Khan’s colleagues eulogized his exemplary services and praised him for the leadership he provided to his troops.  The Muslim chaplain who led the Nimaz-e-Janaza after the military honors, specifically highlighted the ethnically diverse group that had come to pay its respects to Captain Khan. He was one amongst the growing number of Pakistani Americans in the U.S. Army.

This man died protecting my nation, my family and myself.  He sacrificed himself to preserve our lives, liberties, and freedoms (including religious ones).  He and the 9000 American servicemen of Muslim faith deserve our respect and regard when discussing their faith, families, and participation in American institutions.  The extreme, toxic response to the Muslim world by certain members of the Rightosphere is disturbing.  Deeply disturbing.  And this vitriol against Muslims is corroding sound discussion. Embracing irrational fear of the entire Islamic population and making regular calls for bombing Mecca is not only insane but detrimental to my security.  Stop it.  Stop it now.

As a way of explaining how I have come to be this upset with the certain Rightosphere views, I would like to provide some details in my crazy adventures in the blogoshphere.  It first started when I was asked to provide some thoughtful analysis to serious questions posed during discussions with fellow members of the Rightosphere. I wanted opportunities to teach and learn about Islam, Muslims, and their interactions with wider world. I wanted to contact moderate, peace-loving Muslims who would engage America in productive, positive ways (as the faithful from other religions do).

For those of you who are not already acquainted with me, here is my background as it relates to the Muslim Community. As an avid, amateur Egyptologist with Egyptian friends I do speak a little Arabic, have read the Koran, and have been inside a few mosques (including ones in Istanbul and Cairo). I have read extensively on the history of Egypt (and the Levant in general). My readings have covered tomes discussing the positive and negative contributions of Muslims in history. I also was a semi-professional belly dancer (in my much-younger days), and performed in clubs that Muslims would patronize. Finally, I personally interact on a regular basis with three American practitioners of the faith. One of these Muslim faithful is the Iranian-American husband of my cousin.  Another is a dear friend and premier blogger, Ali Eteraz.  The third is the future mother-in-law of my 5-year-old son (my boy has a crush a delightful Persian beauty).

(Aside: Before I begin this post, I would also like to ask those who want to make one-sentence quips filled with anti-Muslim sentiment to do Smart, our other readers, and myself the courtesy of placing your comments elsewhere on the blogosphere.  You have plenty of other avenues to post your screed.  For example, be creative and generate your own blog site.  It is cheap and easy to do. While you don’t have to agree with my interpretations, I will be far more apt to consider your views if you are thoughtful, rational, and fully engaged in proper discourse.)

Here is the essence of my initial Islam discussion in the Rightosphere. Question to Isis  Ann Coulter  has made her feelings known on this topic. I’m sure everyone has heard what she said right after 9/11. “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.”   I’m curious – what do you think of Ann’s statements and her position on Islam?

Isis response: I think it is essential when discussing Ann’ Coulter’s statement, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity,” that we do so in its full context. Here is that statement more fully explored:

This Is War September 12 , 2001 BARBARA OLSON kept her cool. In the hysteria and terror of hijackers herding passengers to the rear of the plane, she retrieved her cell phone and called her husband, Ted, the solicitor general of the United States. She informed him that he had better call the FBI — the plane had been hijacked. According to reports, Barbara was still on the phone with Ted when her plane plunged in a fiery explosion directly into the Pentagon. Barbara risked having her neck slit to warn the country of a terrorist attack. She was a patriot to the very end.…

The last time I saw Barbara in person was about three weeks ago. She generously praised one of my recent columns and told me I had really found my niche. Ted, she said, had taken to reading my columns aloud to her over breakfast. ….

We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.

Here is the way I read Ann’s Column : Note the date on this article – Sept.12, 2001. Ann had just lost a friend and colleague. I am sure Ann was tuned to the TV, radio and internet (as most of us were), garnering information about the 9/11 events (I know I was; I was constantly refreshing the “Drudge Report” while listening to my local talk radio stations). She was seeing our elite media attempting to take the typical, weak, liberal stance on these terror activities (e.g., we have to “understand” our enemies, and Islam is the “religion of peace”). She was understandably and reasonably concerned that the elite media would weaken our resolve to utterly destroy the terror groups responsible for this event. Note the statement previous to the one cited: “We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now.” I believe it is these individuals to whom Ann is referring in the next statement – the Islamic extremists who what to destroy the USA. Ann Coulter was attempting to strengthen the resolve of the American public and get us on a “war footing”. Ann was also rightly pointing out that to get to the Islamo-fanatic terror leaders that innocent civilians would have to die, as happens during war. I read her article the day it was published. I agreed with her then, and I agree with her now. I think her statements are referring to Islamic fundamentalists, who have declared a global jihad on non-Muslims everywhere. I want them dead, or turned into peace-loving Christians, or “reformed”.

Where I have a dispute with many members of the Rightosphere is in our consideration of the non-terrorist Muslims. Many Conservatives state that all Islamic teachings are evil and can do nothing but generate continuing global hatred and hostilities. I believe that ignorant Islamo-extremists are a small portion of the global community, and that most Muslims prefer to live in peace with their neighbors – and they are more inclined to follow the gentler portions of their Koran. This statement is doubly true for American Muslims, who already enjoy the freedoms of our land and are routinely exposed to religious tolerance.   I think Ali Eteraz can probably better expand upon the views of Americans who follow Islam .

I would like to offer a little more background on me, Sept. 12, 2001. I was six-months pregnant, and routinely flying between client facilities in New Jersey and California during that time period (I was slated to stop such flying in October). Fortunately, I was home that week. When my husband and I were awakened at 6:20 am by his friend on Sept. 11, and told to turn on TV, we were in shock. When we learned what was happening, all I could think was “this might have been me”.

When I saw the reports of the Egyptians dancing on the streets of Cairo, I felt stabbed in the heart. I had been to Egypt. I loved Egypt. How could this be happening? I wept. Then, my Egyptian friends called. They wanted to make sure that I was OK, as well as my family. They said they were outraged at the idiots dancing on their streets, as it was the “ignorant crowd” (their words, not mine). They explicitly stated that they do not practice the version of Islam heralded by Osama Bin Laden’s group – and that their version of Islam bore to resemblance to the idiocy displayed by the Islamic fundamentalists. To be honest, I was still very sad. It took me six months before I could listen to my Arab music again (as I former belly dancer, I have an extensive collection). It took be about that long before I could fix my Middle Eastern cuisine, or go to the nearby Middle Eastern grocery. Therefore, I do understand the bad feelings related to Islam that are expressed in the Rightosphere. However, we must balance passion with reason. As has been noted in previous posts, Islam is officially recognized as a religion, and the First Amendment applies. Additionally, even if you deem it a cult, the USA also does not ban cults. While many view Christianity as the best faith, not everyone sees it that way. Deeming Islam a “death cult” only places Muslims in a defensive position – and closes their minds to other possibilities.

After my posts own posts showing the diversity of Islamic thought and belief went nowhere, I went in search of a Muslim Moderate.  That brought me into contact with my freind Ali.  His expereinces with the Rightosphere is chronicled here.  The two positives that came out of this experience is my new friendship with him and access to wonderful new resources.

Finally, and most importantly, basing policy on fear and ignorance is ultimately harmful to our national security.  The first time I began to truly understand that hysteria was being used to develop policy was and opinion was during the Dubai Ports Deal.  Smart and I argued for the deal, because it made good trade sense AND because Dubai was an ally in the Global War on Terror.  Needless to say, ours was not the most popular view. Treating allies, potential allies, and friends with such contempt endangers my family and me.  Several terror plots, including the recent British airport scare, were foiled because Muslims were turned in by fellow Muslims.  Why should Muslims bother if we treat them with such contempt?  Embracing blind Muslim-hating sentiment gives the Islamic-extremists in other countries reasons to force Muslim leaders to stop rendering aid and assistance to US Armed services.  Therefore, the troops protecting me have a harder time doing our job.  Your extremisms about extremism are detrimental to my family, my nation and me.  Stop it.  Stop it now. For those of you who state that all Muslims embrace evil, I urge you to go here and learn about other Americans of Muslim faith who have been laid to rest at  Arlington National Cemetery.  We need to remember that we all all Americans and respct our fellow citizens who are abiding by our laws protecting our freedoms.

by Isis