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Admissions of guilt in the Arab world?

From the AP today, news that some Muslims are horrified by the slaughter of (to date) 155 children by Chechen terrorists:

"Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture," Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya television wrote in his daily column published in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. It ran under the headline, "The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!"

Al-Rashed ran through a list of recent attacks by Islamic extremist groups - in Russia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - many of which are influenced by the ideology of Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi-born leader of the al-Qaida terror network.

"Most perpetrators of suicide operations in buses, schools and residential buildings around the world for the past 10 years have been Muslims," he wrote. Muslims will be unable to cleanse their image unless "we admit the scandalous facts," rather than offer condemnations or justifications.

"The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us," al-Rashed wrote.

You will notice that the list does not include terrorist attacks in Israel.

Color me unimpressed.

"If all the enemies of Islam united together and decided to harm it ... they wouldn't have ruined and harmed its image as much as the sons of Islam have done by their stupidity, miscalculations, and misunderstanding of the nature of this age," Bahgat wrote.

The horrifying images of the dead and wounded Russian students "showed Muslims as monsters who are fed by the blood of children and the pain of their families."

Now that surprised me. He's actually using an accusation usually flung at Jews to describe his own people.

Mohammed Mahdi Akef, leader of Egypt's largest Islamic group, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, said in general, kidnappings may be justified, but killings are not. He said the school siege did not fit the Islamic concept of jihad, or holy war.

"What happened yesterday is not jihad because our Islam obligates us to respect the souls of human beings; it is not about taking them away," Akef told The Associated Press.

Blah, blah, blah. Say, let's Google Akef and see how moderate and peaceful a man he is. Oh, look what we found:

Arabs condemned the assassination of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin and vowed revenge on Israelis, while the United States quickly called for restraint from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, arguably the largest Islamic movement in the Middle East, issued a warning to all Americans and Israelis.

"There can be no life for the Americans and Zionists in the region," Akef told the pan-Arabic satellite television Al-Jazeera. "We will not rest until they (Israelis) are expelled from the region."

Jews are excluded from the list of those who have souls, I suppose. But back to the AP article: I sense a Zionist plot accusation coming on.

Ali Abdullah, a Bahraini scholar who follows the ultraconservative Salafi stream of Islam, condemned the school attack as "un-Islamic," but insisted Muslims weren't behind it.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Israelis who want to tarnish the image of Muslims and are working alongside Russians who have their own agenda against the Muslims in Chechnya," said Abdullah.

Yep, there you have it. The Joooooos were behind it. You know, I bet this guy's own brother could be found guilty of the deed, and he'd still say he was brainwashed by the Mossad to do it. So. Let's look at the words of the man who's one of the most influential clerics in all of Islam:

"What is the guilt of those children? Why should they be responsible for your conflict with the government?" Egypt's top Muslim cleric, Grand Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, was quoted as saying during a Friday sermon in Banha, 30 miles north of Cairo.

"You are taking Islam as a cover and it is a deceptive cover; those who carry out the kidnappings are criminals, not Muslims," Tantawi, who heads Al-Azhar University, the highest authority in the Sunni Islamic world, was quoted by Egypt's Middle East News agency as saying.

Say, does he extend that to Israelis?

Two years ago, in a Friday sermon at the mosque, Sheik Tantawi declared: "One who blows himself up among those [Israeli] aggressors is a martyr, martyr, martyr ... ." He later backed off slightly, saying suicide bombers should not target women and children.

I didn't think so. This guy's a bit of a puzzle, though.

Sheik Tantawi has reached out to other faiths, angering extremists who have said he should be stripped of his position for meeting with rabbis.

He counts among al Azhar's most important activities formal exchanges with Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leaders begun in 1998 through his Permanent Committee for Dialogue with the Monotheistic Religions.

On the other hand, he also said this:

Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the grand sheik of Al Azhar University — the most-respected institution of religious learning in the Muslim world — said shortly before the war in Iraq began, that attempts to resist an American attack are a "binding Islamic duty."

And this:

"Fighting Israel is an obligation," he said in October 2000; it is "obligatory for the entire [Islamic world] to support [the Palestinians] in their Jihad." While Tantawi demurred regarding attacks against women and children "who have nothing to do with war" -- according to him, this is "not accepted by Islamic law" -- those who die attacking an enemy who is occupying their land or violating their sacred places or their freedom are considered "martyrs."

Two out of three statements say that killing Jews is okay by him. Color me unsurprised.

I think, overall, I am unimpressed with the Muslim reaction to this. Time and again, the Muslim world seems to tolerate, if not approve of, suicide bombings against the West, and especially against Israel. A voice here and there speaking out just doesn't cut it. Not when Russia is burying hundreds of children. | |



Have a little whine with your protests

I have no problem at all with people exercising their First Amendment rights and protesting whatever they feel like protesting. I admit it pisses me off when it creates more traffic, which it did on more than one occasion when I worked in New York. But I have a record as a bit of a protester myself. I organized and led a protest that ultimately shut down the state college system of New Jersey for two days.

But I have to laugh at these statements by protesters:

Police insist the videotaping is well within legal guidelines for monitoring political activity. They also deny allegations that they use crowd shots to compile databases of protesters.

But Bentley claims the cameras are stifling to protesters. "When people are trying to exercise their First Amendment rights, it has an intimidating effect," Bentley said.

You want to speak your piece, but you don't want to be taped doing it. At least, not by police, I presume.

"It's been a long week," said demonstrator Sam Nolan, 37, of Queens, as he walked away from the protest. "The cops really wore us down. I guess people got intimidated."

Sam, Sam, Sam. Most of those protesters were out-of-towners. They don't get New York cops. And darn those cops, stopping protesters from doing whatever they wanted!

They sure don't make 'em like they used to. | |

The religion of child murderers

The Chechen "rebels" behind the Russian school hostage situation are Muslim Wahabbis.

There is something deeply wrong with monsters that take over schools and shoot fleeing children. Stan at Logic and Sanity has been updating from the Russian press for days; keep scrolling down to read the latest. The Russian press says over 150 children have been murdered.

The Russian situation is one that is familiar to Israelis. The world may have forgotten, but I have not. The palestinians have targeted children all along—the Hatuel murder was not a new thing for them. In fact, kassam rockets landed near a kindergarten in Sderot yet again.

Terrorism is the plague of the 21st century. It needs to be eliminated. | |



On Second Thought

Be careful what you wish for, I. Okay, so I mentioned below that I'd give up a whole lock of hair for discounted Mallomars. Knowing how diverse a group of readers I have, I know at least one of you laughed your head off when you read that. Because when I went to the medical center to give them the sample, that's exactly what they took: A huge, honking lock of hair four inches long from the back of my head. I am not exaggerating when I tell you I was extremely upset. When I was in fifth grade, my mother told me I was just getting a trim. She told the beautician to give me a Sassoon cut. He did this without my being able to see what he was doing, because they kept me away from the mirror deliberately. For those who don't know what a Sassoon cut is, it's short. Really short. Really, REALLY short. And it did not help that the first thing one of my classmates said the next morning was, "Meryl! What happened to your hair!" I burst into tears.

Come to think of it, that's probably why I grew my hair below my waist (in fact, it was below my butt) as a teenager. As soon as I got old enough so that my mother couldn't dictated my hair length (which was actually sixth grade, come to think of it), I let it grow. And grow. And grow. My hair is soft, fine, full, and grows between half an inch and an inch per month. It's one of my best features. I love it.

I hate the company that made me lose a hank of it. They damned well better have some good products in that discount store.

Be careful what you wish for, II. Never, ever, ever make the mistake I did. If your windshield needs to be replaced, do not go with the cheap guys. Unfortunately, I learned that by experience. Every so often—in fact, just last week—I was telling the story and saying that I wished another pebble would crack my windshield so I'd have to replace it. Only this time, I'd call my Chrysler dealer, ask them who they use, and get those guys.

So now I have a crack in the middle of my windshield, because a rock got flung up at it this afternoon, and the problem with Jeep windshields is that they're at nearly ninety degree angles. Deflection is not often the result. Sigh.

Because it's his job, dammit! Tig has a hairball in his stomach. I know he has a hairball in his stomach. How do I know this? Because he's been throwing up all evening. Then he eats again. Then he throws it up again. Inside. Outside. Inside. Outside. Last time, I caught him, threw him out, then got a bottle of water and forgot not to step in the water on the patio. I was in my stocking feet. And may I say: Sigh.

Because it's her job, dammit! Gracie has been playing "Show me how much you love me" with me. She's been giving me her imperious mew, which is actually a yowl, and translated, means: "Get your ass upstairs and play with me this instant." Since I'm ignoring her imperious mew, she came downstairs and played "I want to go out. No, I don't. Yes, I do. No, I don't" for about ten minutes, until I finally started ignoring her again. Then, of course, she went outside. Now she's inside and Tig is outside, probably throwing up. What-ever.

Bugs, bugs, bugs. Ew. Bugs. So it seems that every time I let Gracie or Tig in or out, a mosquito, or one of those things that looks a giant mosquito, comes in. Well, I kill them as I can, but last night, there was some kind of mosquito convention in my house or something. I looked up and saw them all over my ceiling and goddammit, there's more now. Except now I don't think they're mosquitoes. They're not buzzing around me, they're flying around on the ceiling and hanging on the walls. Or they would be, except I keep smashing them with a newspaper. I don't know what they are. I frankly don't care. I just don't want them in my home.

I'd show you pictures of them, but they're rather squished now.

Just killed another one. And may I repeat my mantra for the night: Sigh.

French imports destroyed the Farmer's Market. Tropical Depression Gaston, which dumped up to 14 inches of rain on us in 12 hours, is preventing Sarah and me from our weekly trip to the Farmer's Market. This is our last Thursday with all four children, too. Next week the two older boys are back in school, and Thursday returns to being Twinsday.

Well, since we can't go to the Farmer's Market in Shockoe Bottom, we're going to see a bunch of giant Presidents' heads.

I will explain more, and have pictures, later. | |



Wednesday news roundup

More proof that the Europeans are funding palestinian terrorists:

  • European aid has not reached its intended target - the Palestinian people. It has been diverted towards graft, terrorism and incitement to hatred.
  • Despite repeated denials from senior European politicians and civil servants, terrorists are on the Palestinian Authority payroll. This includes, in particular, members of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades who have openly admitted their direct roles in acts of murder. The salaries of these murderers come directly from budgets provided by European government aid, even though the Al-Aksa Brigades have been officially classified as terrorists by Europe.
  • European taxpayers' funds have not been managed transparently in everything connected with aid to the PA and to the Palestinian people. The facts have been concealed and continue to be concealed from European taxpayers.
  • The methods used to fund the PA might even be considered to be money laundering.

Russian terrorists are holding hundreds of schoolchildren hostage, and Russia has just upped its protection of all nuclear facilities. Via LGF, a blogger who is translating the Russian reports for us.

Russia—and the world—is reaping the product of the refusal to acknowledge that terrorism in any cause is terrorism, whether the people are "oppressed" or not. The world's anti-Israel policy has reached around to bite it in the ass.

Meantime, Amnesty International came out with a harsh condemnation of the attack, and surprisingly, so did Kofi Annan.

Israel is about to launch attacks on Hamas in Syria, I think. Between this AP article, and Israeli sources saying they're going to hit Hamas leaders wherever they are makes me think that the Mossad is going to get very, very active soon. Go get 'em, guys.

And now, I'm going to give up a strand of my hair for a drug test, which a certain area company requires for potential employees. However, this job may entail my being able to get discounted Mallomars. I'd give up a whole lock of hair for that. | |



Blog ennui, again

Actually, it's the news, and getting up at 6 a.m.

Raincheck? Tomorrow, I'll post more.

Here are a few thoughts, though: I think the Israeli "spy" scandal stinks to high heaven, and was a deliberate leak to discredit President Bush and his advisers, as well as Israel.

I will post on Friday my essay on why I no longer consider myself a liberal.

Look at these pictures of Shockoe Bottom, the hardest-hit section of the city. (Click on the link below "Photo Gallery.") No Farmer's Market for Sarah and me this week.

The pals are inhuman monsters.

The power just went out in my apartment. Sigh. Luckily, I have a candle and pack of matches on the table from last night, when the power threatened to go out. Okay. Time to find more candles, shut down the computer, and read by candlelight.

Oh. The power's back on. I'm still going to read. Only not by candlelight. | |



It isn't raining rain, you know. Oh, wait. Yes it is.

I had to get to the bank earlier this evening, but forgot my camera. No matter, though—it's really too dark to catch much with a digital camera, and frankly, I headed straight home after getting gas. It was windy and pouring rain; roads all over the area are flooded, and tornado watches and warnings were throughout the area. Funnel clouds were sighted in the two adjacent counties to me. So I went home to dry out and discovered that my parking space was taken and my parking lot was flooding. There were no more spaces. Grrr. Luckily, after driving around a bit, I came back to my area, intending to park on the grass, when someone pulled out in front of my building.

The lake has gone down considerably. I went out to take some pictures and stood ankle-deep on the speed bump, looking at water that was at least calf-deep a few feet away. I can smell smoke. Something's burning. The power flickered several times, enough so that I put a candle and matchbook nearby, but so far, the power hasn't gone out.

The stories of the closures seem endless. I-95 was under five feet of water, and a woman had to be rescued. Traffic was stopped in both directions. A friend of mine happens to be travelling by train to Williamsburg tonight; she's been sitting on the tracks outside Richmond since five p.m. It's now nearly eleven.

Lake Gaston in my parking lotThe outer wall of a historic church, the one in which Patrick Henry gave his well-known "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech, collapsed. (Not the church, the outer wall.) Shockoe Bottom, the place where the tobacco barges used to offload their cargo, flooded again. More than 20 people were trapped in Bottoms Up, a pizza place in the Bottom, as the water rose some five feet and floated away cars in the parking lots. Every major highway in the Richmond area has at least one portion of it closed due to flooding. I watched in awe as Commerce Road disappeared under a tide of water, and as the rain came down in sheets, I wondered if I'd be able to get out of the parking lot, Jeep or no Jeep. The ride home was horrible. The torrents didn't let up, and every road had puddles encroaching into the roadways. The Richmond area got more than ten inches of rain in some eight or nine hours. Our rainfall was already some six to eight inches above average. Gaston's addition broke the record.

Worst of all, the Chesterfield County Fair was shut down, and my niece was deeply disappointed that she couldn't go today. Oh, well. There's always tomorrow. Or better Wednesday, when the field may actually be dry.

I'm temping again tomorrow, and hoping that the water will be gone. The good news is I can bring my laptop, and if there's a phone line, I can get in some blogs from work. I got permission from the administrator who called for a temp. Cushy job, this one. I sit down and read or blog all day, stopping only to give a map and directions to the new office location for the company. And they're not only okay with that, but told me I could bring in a small TV if I liked. Too bad it's only for one more day.

Apparently, Gaston's impact was too local to garner much national attention, but we'd have been quite happy if it had passed us by completely. Next time, bub, stay in France. | |

Gaston is a rude guest

But then, that's the French in him.

Here's where I was earlier today.

Flooded roads from Tropical Storm Gaston

Take a look where that fire engine is. It's Commerce Road in Richmond. The water is up to its wheels. At this point, the water in the parking lot was about three feet behind my Jeep. The flood actually receded a bit to the point where you could see the grassy island between the sides of Commerce. There were many, many floods on the way home, including the street leading into my apartment complex. We've got four to six inches of rain to date, are expecting another one to four, and funnel clouds have been seen in several nearby counties.

Route I-95 is closed in both directions outside Belvidere. It's flooded out.

I have to go back out. I must get to the bank today. So I'm off to Lake Midlothian, otherwise known as Midlothian Turnpike. Wish me luck.

I think I'll bring my camera. This picture was taken by Joseph, the nice young man who owns the black Jeep parked next to mine. He emailed it to me so I'd have it for the weblog. Ain't technology grand? Stay tuned for more pictures.

| |



Sometimes, you have to draw a picture

I simply don't want to focus on anything newsy today.

These Bald Eagles were at Busch Gardens. Have fun in the comments making up a caption.

Two bald eagles

| |


Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary is also a good bet if you've never been here before.