Monday, May 30, 2005
Before the day is out... taking a moment to type what I think every day.

Millions of Americans have served this great country, countless have died throughout our short history. One thing is certain: This country would cease to exist if not for the bravery, selflessness and sacrifice of our troops, and for that I am eternally grateful to them. Too many Americans forget, too many take what we have for granted.

Just remember what this day is about. God bless the men and women in uniform.

Friday, May 27, 2005
  A book, a shrine, and some dead people
Apparently in the Islamic world, allegations of a wet book are more infuriating than 20 dead worshippers and the shrine that was destroyed along with their lives. If the "infidels" put as much as a bullet hole in the exterior wall of one of their "holy" places, riots ensue. But when Islamic violence kills their own innocents, it doesn't even raise an eyebrow. Apparently, when a Muslim is murdered, it matters more who killed them than the fact that they died.

The most amusing part of this article is that just hours later, some Islamists "rallied" against the alleged desecration of their book of holiness, while the bodies of the dead started to rot near Islamabad.

If this is the religion and these are the people we terrible westerners are supposed to "understand" and respect, I'll just say no thanks and move along.

20 Killed in Bomb Blast at Muslim Shrine
By SADAQAT JAN, Associated Press Writer

An apparent suicide bomb detonated Friday as hundreds of Shiite Muslims recited verses from the Quran during a religious festival at a shrine near Pakistan's capital, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens, witnesses said.

After the blast, hundreds of Shiite pilgrims, beating their chests in mourning, clashed with baton-wielding police, who charged the crowd to clear the way for ambulances. Some of the Shiite protesters chanted, "Down with America!"

The explosion at the Bari Imam shrine, the burial place of a historic saint on the outskirts of Islamabad, was the latest attack on a religious gathering in Pakistan, which has a long history of violent sectarian rivalry. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.


Hours after the bombing, thousands of supporters of hardline Islamic groups attended previously planned rallies in Islamabad and other cities to protest the alleged desecration of the Quran at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Sectarian attacks by Sunni and minority Shiites are common in this Islamic country. The schism between the two sects dates back to a 7th-century dispute over who was the true heir to the Prophet Mohammed.

In February, gunmen opened fire on mourners returning from a funeral near the shrine, sparking a firefight that killed three people and injured several others. That violence, however, was believed linked to a feud between two families over control of the shrine.

The last major attack against a religious gathering was on March 19, when suspected Islamic militants bombed a festival for a Shiite saint at a village shrine in southwestern Baluchistan province, killing at least 46 people.

In October, a car bombing at a gathering of Sunni radicals in the central city of Multan killed 40 people. Six days earlier, a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque killed 31 people in the eastern city of Sialkot. [emphases added]

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
  Common sense, and all that
Why Islam is disrespected
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | May 19, 2005

IT WAS front-page news this week when Newsweek retracted a report claiming that a US interrogator in Guantanamo had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Everywhere it was noted that Newsweek's story had sparked widespread Muslim rioting, in which at least 17 people were killed. But there was no mention of deadly protests triggered in recent years by comparable acts of desecration against other religions.

No one recalled, for example, that American Catholics lashed out in violent rampages in 1989, after photographer Andres Serrano's ''Piss Christ" -- a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine -- was included in an exhibition subsidized by the National Endowment for the Arts. Or that they rioted in 1992 when singer Sinead O'Connor, appearing on ''Saturday Night Live," ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II.

There was no reminder that Jewish communities erupted in lethal violence in 2000, after Arabs demolished Joseph's Tomb, torching the ancient shrine and murdering a young rabbi who tried to save a Torah. And nobody noted that Buddhists went on a killing spree in 2001 in response to the destruction of two priceless, 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Of course, there was a good reason all these bloody protests went unremembered in the coverage of the Newsweek affair: They never occurred.

Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don't lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don't call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain. But when Reuters reported what Mohammad Hanif, the imam of a Muslim seminary in Pakistan, said about the alleged Koran-flushers -- ''They should be hung. They should be killed in public so that no one can dare to insult Islam and its sacred symbols" -- was any reader surprised?

The Muslim riots should have been met by outrage and condemnation. From every part of the civilized world should have come denunciations of those who would react to the supposed destruction of a book with brutal threats and the slaughter of 17 innocent people. But the chorus of condemnation was directed not at the killers and the fanatics who incited them, but at Newsweek.

From the White House down, the magazine was slammed -- for running an item it should have known might prove incendiary, for relying on a shaky source, for its animus toward the military and the war. Over and over, Newsweek was blamed for the riots' death toll. Conservative pundits in particular piled on. ''Newsweek lied, people died" was the headline on Michelle Malkin's popular website. At NationalReview.com, Paul Marshall of Freedom House fumed: ''What planet do these [Newsweek] people live on? . . . Anybody with a little knowledge could have told them it was likely that people would die as a result of the article." All of Marshall's choler was reserved for Newsweek; he had no criticism at all for the marauders in the Muslim street.

Then there was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who announced at a Senate hearing that she had a message for ''Muslims in America and throughout the world." And what was that message? That decent people do not resort to murder just because someone has offended their religious sensibilities? That the primitive bloodlust raging in Afghanistan and Pakistan was evidence of the Muslim world's dysfunctional political culture?

No: Her message was that ''disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States."

Granted, Rice spoke while the rioting was still taking place and her goal was to reduce the anti-American fever. But what ''Muslims in America and throughout the world" most need to hear is not pandering sweet-talk. What they need is a blunt reminder that the real desecration of Islam is not what some interrogator in Guantanamo might have done to the Koran. It is what totalitarian Muslim zealots have been doing to innocent human beings in the name of Islam. It is 9/11 and Beslan and Bali and Daniel Pearl and the USS Cole. It is trains in Madrid and schoolbuses in Israel and an ''insurgency" in Iraq that slaughters Muslims as they pray and vote and line up for work. It is Hamas and Al Qaeda and sermons filled with infidel-hatred and exhortations to ''martyrdom."

But what disgraces Islam above all is the vast majority of the planet's Muslims saying nothing and doing nothing about the jihadist cancer eating away at their religion. It is Free Muslims Against Terrorism, a pro-democracy organization, calling on Muslims and Middle Easterners to ''converge on our nation's capital for a rally against terrorism" -- and having only 50 people show up.

Yes, Islam is disrespected. That will only change when throngs of passionate Muslims show up for rallies against terrorism, and when rabble-rousers trying to gin up a riot over a defiled Koran can't get the time of day.


[Via Naomi Ragen]