Saturday, March 27, 2004

Thursday, March 25, 2004

This isn't good for anybody. Damn you and your EU, Michael!

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Required reading for the "No War for Oil" crowd. Where the hell is all the free oil, anyway? I guess Bush and his Halliburton cronies are stockpiling it somewhere waiting for the price to get REALLY high before selling it. Or something.

This is laughable: "The government's former top counterterrorism adviser testified Wednesday that the Clinton administration had 'no higher priority' than combatting terrorists while the Bush administration made it 'an important issue but not an urgent issue.'"

Uh huh. Right.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Another great column by OMOTLS (Our Man of the Large Spectacles).

Nothing is more irritating to me than the inferiority complex American lefties have towards Europe. Despite Europe's ridiculous 20th century track record, people like John Kerry would like to get approval from them for our own foreign policy, as if they are somehow more sophisticated and better able to understand the world. As Sowell so eloquently states in this piece, history is repeating itself, and the left is too caught up in their own internationalist fantasy to see it. What is it about history that the left just doesn't seem to get?

The Man!

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Hm, I did not expect an answer so soon. ME has preferred to respond via email and I was allowed to repeat his answer in full. While ME does not defend any stance for the moment (ME is preparing it, well I can't blame him/her because it took a lot of time for preparing mine), I nevertheless found it worthwile to post his/her letter. For one thing, it will convince you already that ME is not Layth.

Here it is:

Hello Michael,

Thank you very much for inviting me to comment on your guest entry. No, I do not think you are playing hardball. In fact I would have thought it strange if you had written otherwise. I enjoyed reading your balanced post with relevant links etc..

You reminded so much of a dear friend of mine 20 years ago today, with whom I used to have this type of conversation. It always ended up with S. screaming at me to convince me while I was trying my best to do the same ( minus the screaming of course ;)) . But I can see your screaming is only within, and I am pained for all those decent human beings like you who honestly care and want to understand and perhaps suggest a solution.

I admit I'm not as good as you are in providing links or quotations or other such items. I will try to convey my thoughts and the feelings. However, Michael please remember that I have no need to defend myself or anything or anyone else as this is not a Court but only a discussion with hopefully rational mature and cultured people wishing to understand someone/something alien to them. Twenty years later my friend admitted I was right, but that was never my aim "proving how right I am " . No my goal is to extend hands of friendship to people whom I grew up with and learnt to understand but who never did the same step in return as they simply assumed that I or my people would have to change/conform for their sake.

Nowadays it looks that there may be an opportunity for dialogue or better a 'multiplelogue'. I will address your fears and hopefully try to alleviate them, you obviously had time to prepare you 'ammunition' , so please allow me the necessary time as well. You may of course print this letter in your blog along with a greeting to all the others there.

No news yet of my sister, calling Iraq from here is only possible from internet. Their phone line is not repaired yet.

Best regards


I swear to Allah that ME does not stand for Mad Engineer from Belgovakia or something. I'm not faking this thing up.

So ME, we are eagerly awaiting your response.

Mr. Tom, you might have noticed ME calls me decent. So now you hear it from somebody else.

Michael, United States of Belgium.
Ladies and Gentlemen, can I have your attention please? For awhile now I have been emailing with an Arab living in a country in the Middle East. Despite differing views, so far this virtual conversation has been decent and civilized, or at least I might hope my acquaintance perceives it so. I do, in any case. At some point I began to think that the thoughts and threads developing in these conversations might also be interesting for my fellow bloggers at Downeast and our audience. Suspecting that our Arab in question might prefer some kind of anonymity, I proposed that upon mentioning him/her or presenting his/her views, I would always refer to him/her in a way that would reveal nothing about nationality, gender, age or profession and the like. That is why from now on I will be referring to him/her simply as ?ME? (Middle-Easterner).

In a recent letter ME presented a number of views which I would like to repeat here, answer to directly, and wait for reactions to come from both ME and readers. It may be a step to mutual understanding. So, here are some excerpts from ME?s email:

?I understand your fear from Islam as a European , because this religion has been badly portrayed in Europe and the West especially after 9/11.?

?(now follow some congratulatory remarks which are irrelevant because they concerned your servant)?

?With regards to the growing influence of Islam in Europe, I don?t know how to tell you this please do not be afraid , but it will continue growing it is the only religion which does not need preaching. Let me tell you this as well when open-minded Europeans/Westerners approach this religion to learn about it that like it so much that they convert and converts Michael are even better Muslims than those who have inherited it ( or just born Muslims as we say here ). It truly is a universal religion , I a not preaching here as I would not even know how to , I am not theologist ,though I know my basic Bible and Koran. Islam is compatible with freedom and democracy . It the humans which are flawed."

?(Michael the Troll from now on)?

OK, here you have it ME. Through our conversations and also because I pointed you to a rant of mine on this blog, I assume that you are aware of my/our concerns about the growing influence of Islam in Europe and elsewhere. So basically you say to me that Islam is growing, that it will continue to grow but that we need not to worry because it is compatible with freedom and democracy. With all due respect ME, now I would like to elaborate on a few of the events and developments that have made us Westerners acutely concerned about Islam?s growing influence:

First of all, during the past two decades the world has seen a steady rise in terrorist attacks committed by organizations that claim to act in the name of Islam. We have had:

a.) the two attacks on the World Trade Center

b.) the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Tanzania

c.) the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya

d.) a foiled plot to bomb the US Embassy in Kampala, Uganda

e.) the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole

f.) the 2003 Mumbai bomb attacks

g.) the October 2002 Bali bombing

Not to mention the spate of bombings in Israel, which are at least to some degree religiously motivated, as are the bombing attacks in Iraq, and of course the gruseome monstrosity committed just recently in Madrid. Regardless the political motovations, these crimes are all committed in the name of Allah.

A succint overview of the evolution of Islamic terrorism can be found here.

Secondly, apart from the deluge of news regarding attacks by Islamic terrorists, the biggest challenge (in the Western world) to imagining a peaceful coexistence between European (western) natives and the Islamic communities in their midst, is the seemingly nonexistent desire of the latter to assimilate and integrate in their host nations? societies, despite generous and far-reaching government-funded concessions. The Belgian State e.g. provided funding for a ?Muslim Executive Body" ("Moslimexecutieve") which, a.o., appoints Imams (paid by the Belgian State) and organizes and defines religious education. Yet half of the sixteen members of this council are fundamentalists opposed to integration. Forty years after Muslims (mainly Moroccans and Turks) started arriving in Belgium, we see a disturbing trend aimed at widening the gap between natives and ?newcomers?.

E.g., a majority of Muslim youths, upon reaching the age to marry, prefer to import a bride from one of the ?home countries?, since they deem Muslim girls born and raised here as ?spoiled? by western society. Furthermore, a really frightening development in Belgium is the rise of the militant AEL or Arab European League, led by Lebanese firebrand and former Hizballah member Abu Jahjah, who advocates a.o. declaring Arabic as fourth official language in Belgium!!!

Then there are the reports on the significant number of Muslim girls sent back to their native countries during summer holidays for undergoing circumcision.

And the press coverage on honor killings (small in number but growing) do not do much to calm our unrest...

Many Imams, although as said paid by the governments of the states where they reside, see fit to deliver fiery anti-Western sermons on Fridays. Although Belgium has its share of these, the most blatant example of them is a London based imam called Abu Hamza (though I?m not certain whether he is paid by the UK government).

And Denmark recently passed a law requiring Imams willing to enter the country to apply to a number of conditions (such as learning the Danish language) so as to limit the influx of the radical ones.

Last but not least, in most Western European countries, mine, Belgium, included, there?s a growing threat of Antisemitism. Unfortunately many if not most of the acts of violence, such as physically attacking Jews, burning synagogues, desecrating jewish graveyards, verbal abuse etc? are committed by Muslim youths. Despite the evident threat, the EU?s RAXEN (Racism and Xenophobua Network) saw fit to try to suppress a study proving this fact. In the end it was published but, given the prevailing ?politically correct? attitude of the grand majority of European press, it received only minimal coverage.

Furthermore I could mention the so-called black schools in the Netherlands, where Muslim youths, upon the teacher willing to start history lessons on the Holocaust, begin to chant slogans like "Death to the Jews", to such an extent that the teachers are forced to suspend the lessons.

So you see, ME, although I can certainly be found to tolerate the practicing of an Islamic faith at peace with other religions and with itself, hell, I presume the above will make it clear to you that when Muslims pretend that we don't need to worry because Islam is growing (your words), we westerners are anything but reassured.

I think my fellow bloggers and you would find it interesting if you could provide us with a reply. For that purpose you could use the comments section. However, should you feel the limited space there does not give you a fair chance to "defend" your take, you can always email me so that I can publish your answer in full in the actual blog space.

Best regards from the Land of Smurfs and Chocolate.