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Campbell’s has opened a line of soups suitable for Muslims and right wingers are boycotting.


Two more incidents, one in upstate New York and one in Tennessee.

If history is any indication, it could be a problem for anyone who looks like they might be a Muslim.  An East Indian friend of my families, who was Hindu, was chased by crazies in an incident during the Iran Hostage Crisis.  Similar confusion took place in the days following 9/11.

I hope the conservatives whipping all this up for election purposes feel good about themselves.  As they’ve done in the past with abortion clinic bombings and killings, I expect statements to begin with, “I don’t condone violence under any circumstances, but…”   And the what will follow is an an Islamophobic rant.

I’ve been avoiding the story, just because I think it indulges one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry and because it’s stupid.  But apparently Tea Partiers get to decide what’s stupid and what isn’t in national political discourse.  Pundits are suggesting that the phrase “Ground Zero Mosque” is going to be this year’s “death panels.”  Republicans are all over it and Democrats are already retreating.  There is one voice of sanity in the Republican Party this time, though his blaming “both sides” for the controversy seems a little disingenuous.

So does anyone really believe that the Federal Government has any right to tell a religious organization where it can buy property and build a place of worship?  Jon Stewart asks whether it’s appropriate to build a Catholic Church next to a playground.

In the aftermath of the Fort Hood incident, the American Family Association wants Muslims out until “Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates.”

If they get their way (they won’t) and they reinstate the draft I can see teenage kids across the country walking into the induction centers and greeting the draft officers with “Assalamu Alikum.”

Kabul demo

This photo and more in this TPM slide show of an anti-occupation demo in Kabul following rumors of Koran desecration by someone I guess associated with the U.S.

Addendum: A little aside, but it looks like Karzei’s brother may be on the CIA payroll.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to ban the wearing of burkas in France.  The argument is that the garment represents female subservience to 14th century Islamicist patriarchy and thus presents a threat to western liberal democracy.  Therefor, we liberate the women by forcing them to wear clothes more to our liking.  It’s all about freedom!

The Netherlands considered a similar ban a few years ago, but ultimately rejected it.

As noted below, what I characterize as a defense of choice is being argued as a position of cultural conservatism combined with left chic denial of the dangers of Islam to our own political culture.  To the conservatives around here, are you concerned that the US legal system is going to be converted to Sharia law?  Does tolerance of burqas increase the danger?

More practical questions – will the burqa be universally banned?  From theater?  Film?  Should special permits be required?  Should the law extend to men?  What constitutes a burqa legally?  At what point does a nun’s habit become a burqa?  What if the women start wearing nylon stocking masks instead?  Or Woody Woodpecker masks?

Addendum: Swimwear for Muslim women.

Somewhere there’s a video of a young woman shot and killed as she’s standing right by her father.  I’m not sure it’s in one of these collections.  But I hope it’s being spread around, as difficult as it must be to watch.  I don’t really want to see it.  When I read about it last night I went to where my daughter was sleeping and gave her a hug.  For all our problems in terms of budgets, land use battles, reggae wars – I watch these vids and I’m so happy I’m raising my kids in Redway.

First collection – Streets on Fire.

Second collection, mostly vids – Defiance.

These were posted yesterday.  Probably more out today.

Note the use of cell phones and twitter.

I really hope something comes of this.  This is about Iran, but if this leads to a change in power and a return to the political system of, say, the early 1950s before we helped to mess it up, it could usher in a Muslim reformation across the board.  Probably the election last week as tampered with, but how are countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan for free and fair elections?

Addendum: I should add that while I’ve been very disappointed with Obama of late, I’m really glad Obama is in office right now.  The last thing the Iranian opposition needs is for American leadership to be blustering like the GOP has been doing over the past week (some of them are comparing the perceived political bravery of “tea parties” to the demonstrations in Tehran and comparing the oppression of Iranians to the “oppression” Republicans are facing in Congress – Wonkette’s on it).  Calm but firm commentary is in order, and Obama has played this one cool, hopefully working hard behind the scenes.  His statement of today is perfect, though perhaps not emotionally satisfying to the hawkish set.

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

Second addendum: You can follow some Iranian dissent Twittering here.  The following was twittered yesterday:

People are apparently being marked to be dragged away in the night by the secret police. For activists there is no turning back.

from Twitter


And I can’t find it, but last night I read a twitter from Mousavi anticipating his arrest and calling for a strike when it happens.

Third addendum: Cracks in the unity of Iran’s present leadership?

And from Common Dreams: Iran’s Revolution is homegrown and must stay that way.

Fourth addendum: Okay, for those of you dismissing the protestors and looking for evidence of CIA instigation against this poor defenseless regime being punished for standing up to Israel, THIS is what you’re defending. I’m sorry, but anything other than a raw outrage with the regime just seems callous to me.  These people are fighting tyranny of the worst order.  Period.  No mitigation because they’re opposing Israel or “US imperialism.”  If there is any such thing as evil, it’s exemplified by the Iranian regime.  This the Warsaw Ghetto circa 1942.  Czechoslovakia circa 1967.  Year Zero Cambodia circa 1976.  Indonesia circa 1965.  This is Chile circa 1972.  El Salvador circa 1981.  China circa 1989.

And here’s a cheerful opinion left on Youtube for this very vid.

who gives a shit about these ignorant Muslims? I hope they kill each other

Fifth addendum: The taboo is broken. Protesters are openly defying Khameinei.  In fact, the slogans are aimed directly at him.

Sixth addendum: Obama’s low key policy is drawing kudos from…. Pat Buchanan.

And more on the cleric rift.

And this woman says, “no matter who is president of Iran, they would stone me.”

And from another – “I grab a brick and throw.  I never thought I’d do it.” and “for me, I wouldn’t die for someone like Mousavi. But if there’s greater change at stake, then it’s worth it.”

Thanks to Debsian for bringing my attention to it.  First a semi-game show format, then an interview. All takes place after his split with the Nation of Islam.

But really, we shouldn’t judge.  That’s “cultural imperialism,” right?

From AP:

KABUL (AP) — A new Afghan law makes it legal for men to rape their wives, human rights groups and some Afghan lawmakers said Thursday, accusing President Hamid Karzai of signing the legislation to bolster his re-election prospects. Critics worry the legislation undermines hard-won rights for women enacted after the fall of the Taliban’s strict Islamist regime.

The law — which some lawmakers say was never debated in parliament — is intended to regulate family life inside Afghanistan’s Shiite community, which makes up about 20 percent of this country of 30 million people. The law does not affect Afghan Sunnis.

One of the most controversial articles stipulates the wife “is bound to preen for her husband as and when he desires.”

“As long as the husband is not traveling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night,” Article 132 of the law says. “Unless the wife is ill or has any kind of illness that intercourse could aggravate, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband.”

The article goes on to suggest it’s about courting the Shiite vote.

Andy has of course made several guest posts on the topic.  Please note that the views and opinions expressed on this blog are not necessarily shared by blog nor its staff.

Addendum: I have no idea why this post italicized all the posts below on this page.

Islam So Dominates Islamic Culture That It Had To Play A Role In Its Decline

The cause of the Islamic world’s decline is, like most issues related to Islam, controversial, but worthy of consideration given Islam’s increasing impact on Western culture. Bernard Lewis, a highly respected Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University who has written extensively about the history of Islam, wrote a well-received January 2002 Atlantic Monthly article and subsequent book entitled “What Went Wrong” wherein he set forth many sound reasons that help to explain why the Islamic world declined from its once dominant cultural, economic, and military status to its current state of abject inferiority.

However, Prof. Lewis’ analysis implausibly exonerated Islam as a factor in the Islamic world’s decline. He opined that “to blame Islam as such is usually hazardous and not often attempted.” He further argued that it was not plausible to blame Islam because during most of the Middle Ages it was the world of Islam that contained the major centers of civilization and progress. Read the rest of this entry »


March 2020