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Sentiments for this day

We are having a dinner party at Samizdata.net HQ and our recurring toast this evening (with excellent Polish flavoured vodka and apple juice) is:

Death to the Wahhabbis!

death_to_the_wahhabi_toast.jpg

It just seemed the appropriate thing to say on September 11th.

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80 comments to Sentiments for this day

  • Euan Gray

    excellent Polish flavoured vodka

    Do tell what Poles taste like 🙂

    Death to the Wahhabbis!

    Not to put a damper on your fun, but how does this differ, exactly, from Wahabi cries of “death to the kaafir”?

    EG

  • Hank Scorpio

    “Not to put a damper on your fun, but how does this differ, exactly, from Wahabi cries of “death to the kaafir”?”

    Umm, we have flying robots that can launch Hellfire missiles and they have guys with C4 stuffed into their shoes?

    I guess it just comes down to capabilities =P

  • Euan Gray

    we have flying robots that can launch Hellfire missiles and they have guys with C4 stuffed into their shoes

    “One man’s terrorist is another man’s air force technician with his hands on the controls of a semi-autonomous guided missile” as it were?

    EG

  • Attacking civilians to restrict their freedom and submit to Allah

    vs

    Attacking people that attack civilians to restrict their freedom and submit to Allah

    …just in case the argument wasn’t tongue-in-cheek 🙂

    Death to Relativism!

  • Libertarians are supposed to be people who support freedom of religion. Personally, I think that all religions are nutty, but I don’t wish anyone death for their beliefs, no matter what they may be.

    It is another matter if people commit acts of aggression, but in that case, one is not attempting to punish them for their beliefs, but for their actions.

  • Not to put a damper on your fun, but how does this differ, exactly, from Wahabi cries of “death to the kaafir”?

    If you believe in the moral equivalency of all people regardless of that they profess and do, then sure, there is no difference.

    I however think Wahhabbism is a toxic Islamic fascist creed with whom ultimately coexistence with its supporters will be impossible (and that would seem to be the alcohol fuel consensus generally here at Samizdata.net HQ tonight)… and if it comes down to who survives, ‘them or us’, I vote for us. So… Death to the Wahhabbis. Better them than us.

    It is a sentiment, not a philosophy, but that is how we are calling it tonight.

    Do tell what Poles taste like 🙂

    That depends on where you lick them…

  • mike

    Er, don’t know about licking poles – depends on the season I would imagine (winter means you get stuck and have to get someone to call an ambulance)… um, not that I’m speaking from experience or anything..!

    However, I will say this – just came back (early) from a party my friend invited me to; felt mighty uncomfortable and pissed off (showing videos of Iraq protests in Edinburgh this summer, plus shit art videos), and have decided it’s near enough impossible to live with bloody lefties nevermind wahhabbis. I am feeling seriously uuurrrghhh – aaarrrgghhhh!!! Bloody dustheads.

    I didn’t mention politics to anyone – but even discussions of art videos betray collectivist thinking (“yeah man society just hasn’t learned how to..” blah blah fucking blah). Had to leave before I threw up. Need to get out of Edinburgh – socialists everywhere, like a waking nightmare zombie game or something, but with awful reality of occuring on Sept 11 anniversary.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    On this sombre anniversary, the best way to mark it is to eat, drink, be merry, listen to loud profane rock music. That is what the islamo-losers hate – fun.

    rgds from Austin, Texas.

  • So you’re prepared to kill them, Perry, but not to countenance any restrictions on their migration? 🙂

  • It is really simple, Peter, and has been explained before… I do indeed wish large numbers of Saudi people would come to the West so that they can see the vastly superior civilisation on offer and decide to be come a part of it.

    Wahhabbism, which you probably think is a synonym for ‘Muslim’ (it aint), is a form of extremist Islam which is the intellectual underpinning for Islamo-fascism. If Wahhabbis come to Britain, I would hope they would either assimilate (which would make still being a Wahhabbi more or less impossible) or alternatively find that much of British society will ‘disassociate’ with them, thereby depriving them of the goodies you get from being a member of the society, inducing them to either change their ways or bugger off back to where they came from.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    The estimable Perry de Havilland wrote:

    If Wahhabbis come to Britain, I would hope they would either assimilate (which would make still being a Wahhabbi more or less impossible) or alternatively find that much of British society will ‘disassociate’ with them,

    The parts of British society that ‘disassociate’ with the Wahhabbists will immediately be prosecuted by the repulsive Trevor Philips and the folks at the CRE, and Cherie Bleah will promote the Wahhabists “human rights” to be associated with compulsorily.

  • I find this all really peculiar.

    I’m happy enough living in a country with neo-Nazis, Communists, and all sorts of others, under an enlightened constitution that has permitted all ideas, even “toxic fascist” ones, to coexist in peace. I would not have it any other way. Freedom isn’t freedom if it is only for the people with approved ideologies.

    I don’t care if it is “Death to Nazis”, “Death to Americans”, “Death to Catholics” or anything else. It is vile. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. It would be one thing to toast a world of rationality without silly religions, or to toast an end to bigotry, or toast the end of terrorism, but instead you toasted the deaths of people who had not initiated any violence against you that I am aware of. Perhaps some Wahabis wish you ill, but do all of them? Perhaps some have done violence, but have all of them? Unless they have all done you violence, you cannot reasonably seek death for all of them.

    On the morning of September 11th, 2001, I watched the result of wishing death to random strangers. I watched the results live, with my own eyes, as people I knew died for this ideology. I was not a safe distance away speculating about the images on television, and the people who died were not all strangers to me. I’m sure the terrorists who carried out the unspeakable crime justified it because “the Americans are evil people who have hurt us”, never mind that few if any of the people at the trade center had ever done a bit of violence to anyone, let alone to any of the terrorists or their kin.

    I take special note of the lovely smiles you all had on your faces as you wished violence upon strangers who had never caused you any harm. I’m reminded of the people in various middle eastern cities dancing for joy in the streets at the death of strangers at the World Trade Center. You seem to be no different from them.

  • Guy Herbert

    You are in danger of running into the same problem that Christian theologians had when they discovered Amerindians, Chinese, Polynesians, etc who’d had no contact with Christendom. How could they be damned when they’d not had a chance to hear the Gospel?

    There are plenty of people, particularly in Saudi Arabia or Sudan, but also in Muslim communities across the poorer parts of the world whose local mosques have for 30 years been staffed at Saudi expense, whose only education is in Wahabi tradition. I wouldn’t wish those people death, though I’m sure I’d like to see Wahabism itself as extinct as Manichee.

  • Shawn

    “Libertarians are supposed” …..to think for themselves.

    Not everyone here is a card carrying politically correct Libertarian. Some of us are individuals.

    “I take special note of the lovely smiles you all had on your faces as you wished violence upon strangers who had never caused you any harm.”

    Sept.11 was harm.

  • We are at war and Wahhabbism, like Naziism before it, is the creed of the people we are at war with. And so, on the anniverary of our enemy’s most infamous day, the day of fire and death when we finally realised we were at war, we toast the death of our enemies.

    I do not wish them harm because of their religion or race, but because of what they believe and who they support. The supporter of the enemy who attacks us is also the enemy. All an individual Wahhabbi who has been indoctrinated into the Islamo-fascist way has to do to stop being ‘the enemy’ is to change their minds. I used to work in the World Trade Center. A school friend of one the people toasting last night was murdered by Wahhabbi terrorists in Bali. Yes, death to the people who did those things and any who support them. Remember the streets filled with people chanting their support for Al Qaeda and ‘death to the infidel’ after 9/11? Well death to them too if they support the people who would kill or convert us by force if they could.

    Perry Metzger finds that vile. Oh well.

  • Euan Gray

    when we finally realised we were at war

    I’ve heard it said many times that it was really the day America realised it was a war, much of the rest of the world already being well enough aware of the fact – the USSR as early as the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, for example. Sometimes I find it hard to disagree with that analysis.

    we toast the death of our enemies

    I have to say I intensely dislike the mindset that can accept this as reasonable. Killing people, whilst occasionally necessary, isn’t something to celebrate. Indeed, gloating over the death of the enemy, however horrid he may be, is not one iota better than the Islamist gloating over the destruction of the WTC.

    This is a conflict of ideas and cultures, not a battle between two bunches of thugs and may the most lethal win. We are supposed to be more civilised, we are supposed to be more broad minded and tolerant than the Wahabi Islamist. Let’s try to behave as if we were, shall we?

    We don’t have to pull our punches, but we don’t need to be smug and gleeful when they land.

    EG

  • Tolerance for a religion that advocates killing you is madness. Maybe that’s why I’m an Objectivist, not a libertarian. And of course borders should be open, except to people who advocate killing others except in self-defense. And self-defense doesn’t mean you have to wait until someone has pulled a gun and drawn a bead on your heart. You can, for instance, overthrow a murderous regime with clear links to other murderous regimes that advocate unceasingly for the murder of people like you. And not just “you can”. You MUST.

    In the Middle Ages, Christianity was a profoundly intolerant, violent religion. In the Twentieth Century, the two ends of the collectivist spectrum, Communism and Fascism, took over that title. Now it’s Islam – notice I did not say “Wahhabi Islam”. If such intolerance is not resisted and eradicated, we will be in thrall to it for as many centuries as the West was to hierarchical Christianity.

  • We don’t have to pull our punches, but we don’t need to be smug and gleeful when they land

    Simply not true. Wars are to a great extent battles of morale and psychology. To kill an enemy it helps if you can see him as a enemy, not ‘a person just like me’. Unless you are suicidal or psychotic, you generally do not want to kill a person if they are ‘just like you’.

    So just as if this was 1941 we would have been toasting ‘Death to the Nazis’, here in 2004, we toast ‘Death to the Wahhabbis’. As I said before, it is a sentiment, not a philosophy, but that is indeed how we feel: we want the people who want us to die to…die. Go figure.

  • Verity

    Euan Grey – “…we are supposed to be more broad minded and tolerant than the Wahabi Islamist. Let’s try to behave as if we were, shall we?” Oh, let’s not! You’re not preaching to a bunch schoolchildren here.

    Robert Speirs is the only one who got the point. It is Islam which preaches the forced submission to allah of the entire world. (At least they think big.) The Wahabis are more upfront, but do not imagine that other Islamics do not share their views, or at least sympathise with them. It wasn’t all Wahabis who were shooting guns off into the air on Sept 11 three years ago. It wasn’t all Wahabi school children in NY, whose school faced the WTC, who brought their cameras to school that day.

    We are at war with Islam, among whom are included the Wahabis.

  • Euan Gray

    Simply not true

    It is, I’m afraid. Soldiers don’t like killing people, it’s just their job. In fact, soldiers are probably the largest pacifist group in the world, since they’re the ones who have to do the dying. They know perfectly well that the enemy is a man just like them, possibly with a wife & kids & a nagging mother-in-law. Of course, they also know the enemy wants to kill them, so generally it’s seen as a good idea to get the boot in first & wondering about whether Johnny bin Psycho has silly little problems with his mum takes a back seat. They do not need to conceive of the enemy as a brainless killing machine or some form of monster in order to do their jobs.

    So just as if this was 1941

    Presumably you mean 1939?

    we want the people who want us to die to…die

    Better to want them to stop wanting us to die. There are other ways of achieving this than just killing people. Unless you intend to create martyrs, of course.

    How many are there? About a billion Moslems in the world? A tiny fraction are lunatic zealots, actual or potential – maybe a few thousand at the most. There likely a few tens of thousands who probably would assist, a few hundreds of thousands who are happy enough to cheer them on, but not actually do anything concrete to help other than maybe give money. And millions who at the very least understand and/or sympathise with and/or share the simmering resentment much of the Islamic world has against the infidel but highly successful West.

    Demonising them, or a part of them, only lowers you to their level. Defeating an enemy is about much more than infliciting a military defeat, it is about changing the way he thinks of you so that he stops looking on you as an enemy. He might never be your friend, but you can stop him being your enemy.

    Removing the cause of the resentment – i.e. we are rich and successful, they are poor & ignorant – will go a lot further than just killing them. Certainly, we must eliminate the active loonies, preferably before they strike. But we must also remember that a large part of the problem stems from poverty and ignorance. Eliminating these will significantly reduce the level of general support the lunatics get. Simply relying on a military defeat may stop the terror (although I think it is unlikely), but it will do nothing to remove the resentment. In fact, it is likely only to increase it.

    This sort of “hearts and minds” approach has been successfully used more than once by the British (the only military power ever to have defeated a terrorist enemy). The Russians even learned it in Afghanistan, but too late to make a difference. Unfortunately, the record of the US military shows that they have never fully understood the concept, although they do now seem to be starting to grasp it in Iraq.

    EG

  • Euan Gray

    We are at war with Islam

    We are not, but if we give the impression that this is how we think, then we soon will be.

    EG

  • This is all even more fascinating than I thought.

    It appears Mr. de Haviland and the rest cannot distinguish between Wahhabism and Wahhabis.

    Lets recall what the toast at their party was:

    Death to the Wahhabbis!

    Not “an end to Wahhabism”, but “Death to the Wahhabbis”.

    Now, at times Mr. de Haviland seems to touch on it a bit:

    We are at war and Wahhabbism, like Naziism before it,

    which is all fine and well, and possibly even true. But there is a difference between an ideology and people.

    We have the same gap in understanding in “Shawn”

    “I take special note of the lovely smiles you all had on your faces as you wished violence upon strangers who had never caused you any harm.”

    Sept.11 was harm.

    Certainly September 11th was harm. You don’t have to tell me that. Unlike you, I got to smell it in my clothes, to taste it in my mouth. However, not all Wahhabis were involved with September 11th.

    This failure to understand the difference between groups and individuals, or between ideologies and people, is the central delusion of collectivism — which all of you supposedly are against.

    Indeed, since you are in favor of the deaths of all members of a group, do the Wahhabis not have a cause to wish all of you death for your ideology? It would appear that you have justified their way of thinking, haven’t you. Or, put another way, you’ve sunk to their level.

    I’m sure at least one or two Brits over the years have committed atrocities against the Irish over the centuries. — does that justify IRA bombings? After the Second World War, we got our hands on full lists of Nazi party members — why did we not execute every last one?

    Robert Speirs doesn’t get it either when he says:

    Tolerance for a religion that advocates killing you is madness.

    Freedom doesn’t just mean freedom for people you like. If it isn’t freedom for people you hate as well, it isn’t freedom. My right to say there is no god is guaranteed only when a kook in a mosque can also say that all infidels should burn in the fires of hell. My right to say that freedom is essential is guaranteed only if they — or you — can say freedom is madness.

    Let me remind all of you of a quote from someone who had a lot more to say about liberty and freedom than any of you.

    I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    Voltaire might have been ashamed to call any of you brothers, but he would be happy to defend your right to smile and toast the death of strangers who have done nothing to you. I am as well. Your right to wish them death should be protected as much as their right to wish you death. I hope for both of your sakes that neither set of wishes comes true.

  • Tatyana

    … It wasn’t all Wahabi school children in NY, whose school faced the WTC, who brought their cameras to school that day…

    Would you tell me what school did you have in mind, Verity?
    My son was among other 9-graders in Stuyvesant H.S. (in the vicinity of the Towers) that morning. I don’t recall him seeing anybody photographing the horror, despite that many students had cameras (he had, too: he was a school magazine photo editor and photographer and ALWAYS carried his camera to school).
    After being evacuated on 9/11, the students resumed their classes in different school building, in Brooklyn and returned to the Styuvesant in the week of October 24. You can read their accounts upon return in this issue of the school magazine, The Spectator.(Link)

  • Euan:

    It is, I’m afraid. Soldiers don’t like killing people, it’s just their job. In fact, soldiers are probably the largest pacifist group in the world, since they’re the ones who have to do the dying.

    To ‘like’ killing is not the issue: getting sufficient enthusiasm for the venture is what bloodthirsty sounding toasts are all about. I used to hear such toasts by common people and soldiers in Croatia and Herzegovina all the time (and I am not talking about ethnic cleansing paramilitaries). You really need to hang out with more soldiers because none of what you write is my experience. Most soldiers I know do not ‘want’ wars but that does not mean that if they find themselves in one, they will fight it with a pained aesthetic detachment. Try hanging around some pubs in Aldershot if that is what you think 🙂

    Presumably you mean 1939?

    No, I mean 1941. Why do you presume I mean 1939? Was that a better year to toast “Death to the Nazis”? If you want to know why I chose 1941, keep in mind that a significant proportion of Samizdata.net’s readers are from the USA. Then take a quick informal poll of Americans asking “What year did World War Two start?” A significant number will say 1941.

    Perry Metzger:

    Lets recall what the toast at their party was:

    Death to the Wahhabbis!

    Not “an end to Wahhabism”, but “Death to the Wahhabbis”.

    And as I also said before, in 1941 I would be toasting “Death to the Nazis” not “Death to Nazism”. You may choose to make a distinction when downing a vodka but I do not. When my ideological enemies are not just advocating the death of people like me, they are actually taking some steps to make it so, the notion of “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” gets replaced with “keep talking so the security services can track you down and kill you”. Perhaps you think the Nazis should have been allowed to take out full page ads in British newspapers in August 1940 urging the British to surrender? How about a nice Oswald Mosley Op Ed column in the Times in 1943 in which he opines that ‘Fascism ain’t so bad really’? I wonder what Voltare would have said about that…

    I am content to share a tolerant (and as extended as possible) community with Nazis, Islamists, Communists, Satanists, Christians, Hindus, Scientologists, Socialists, Human Extinctionists, Objectivists and even Paleo-Libertarians… but only if they are not (a) actually working for my enslavement and/or demise and (b) appear to be within sight of achieving that and are moving from talk to implementation. At that point I start to take things a mite personally.

    I could not care less of someone just advocates communism or wahhabbism or whatever. But if they actually look like they are going to move against me physically, I would have no hesitation putting a bullet between their eyes before they are able to have me dragged off to some gulag or madrassa for ‘re-education’. Voltare’s utterances only make sense when they are expressed within the context of the give and take of civil society, not applied to a ruthless enemy with whom one is at war. An inability to make that distinction is what makes so many ‘libertarians’ recede into the lunatic fringe of utter irrelevance. You guys make me seem moderate and mainstream, which is quite an experience for me.

    Sure, I wish the overthrow of the Wahhabbist ideology which drives people to do the things they do, but I also wish death to anyone who wishes death to me. Yeah, it would be great if they stopped wanting that but while they do, to hell with them.

    It was a toast and thus not prefaced by a lengthy preamble of disclaimers in order to make it politically acceptable. Not only do you need to get out more and see how such things are done, you might profit from being a tad less squeamish.

    The war we are involved in involves people being killed and not just the more easily intellectualisable ‘overthrowing Wahhabbism’. What is the point of pretending otherwise?

  • Euan Gray

    Try hanging around some pubs in Aldershot if that is what you think

    Just to be annoying, I live in Scotland, don’t like pubs and in any case rarely drink alcohol. Anyway, I already know several soldiers (the industry I work in is full of ex-soldiers, for some reason). Lots of Moslems too, for other reasons. None of what you say invalidates my point, which is that attempting to dehumanise the enemy is unnecessary from the point of view of the professional soldier.

    I have to agree with Perry Metzger’s point that several here seem to have failed to distinguish between group and individual. In the particular circumstances of the current conflict, I think this is a grave mistake. It is the point of view which would achieve nothing save to alienate the entire Moslem world. We are NOT at war with Islam, we are at war with a small group of fundamentalist zealots with a specific socio-political agenda. If the distinction is not made, it is harder to identify and eliminate the real problem.

    might profit from being a tad less squeamish

    I have no problem with people being killed per se. It is occasionally necessary and sometimes beneficial. But because elements of some sub-group of Islam are a problem, does not mean that all of Islam is the problem, or even all of the sub-group.

    Voltare’s utterances only make sense when they are expressed within the context of the give and take of civil society

    I disagree. What do we achieve if we set aside one of the basic principles of western civilisation? Have not the terrorists won a victory then?

    In a wider, pragmatic sense, it is necessary to allow people to say what they will, however unpleasant. Otherwise, you can’t gauge how deeply those feelings are held, or how much support they have in society, or why such feelings are even there. If you can’t do that, you can’t eliminate the problem because you don’t know how big it is or why it exists.

    EG

  • Verity

    Tatyana – I have absolutely no idea where your son goes to school as I don’t know the geography of the area. I read in several different publications that some teachers in some schools which had a view of the WTC from their classroom windows commented that an inexplicable number of Muslim boys brought cameras to school on the morning of Sept 11. There must have been at least a dozen schools which had a view of the WTC in and around NY. Maybe more.

    It was three years ago and I honestly cannot remember where I read it; and the schools in question didn’t stick in my mind because I don’t know NY neighbourhoods or boroughs. But I recall reading it in several publications. You could probably Google it.

    Euan Grey – “Demonising them, or a part of them, only lowers you to their level.” No it doesn’t. I am demonising them because they are wicked people who wish to impose their will and their primitive religion on free, advanced civilisations. They demonised themselves.

    Removing the cause of the resentment – i.e. we are rich and successful, they are poor & ignorant – will go a lot further than just killing them.”

    No, it won’t. People in Saudi Arabia are not poor. They are rich. They have free electricity and free telephones and petrol is 10 cents a gallon. They have air-conditioning to a fare-thee-well. They have foreign workers cleaning their houses and doing their yards. Their kids go to college in the West. This ‘poor and ignorant’ rubbish is lefty claptrap. None of the people who planned or perpetrated Sept 11 was poor and ignorant.

    The Turks who bombed the British Consulate and the HSBC headquarters in Turkey were not poor and ignorant.

    It is not possible to win ‘the hearts and minds’ of people who think you are evil. You were born Muslim because that is the natural state of mankind. You deserted Islam, which is abnormal. It is their duty to bomb you back to Islam and submission.

  • Euan Gray

    People in Saudi Arabia are not poor. They are rich

    Oh, really?

    From the Middle East Information Centre on Saudi Arabian “prosperity”:

    “Chronic joblessness, diminished incomes and difficulty in collecting enough money to marry and start families are all issues that can evoke anger — whether directed at the Saudi royal family, seen by many in the kingdom as spendthrift and corrupt, or at the millions of foreigners who hold high-paying jobs not available to young Saudi men.”

    Saad Fagih, head of the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, quoted in the same article:

    “Actual poverty has been endemic in Saudi Arabia now for the last six or seven years. I think I would not be exaggerating if I said people under the line of poverty would be 20% or 30%”

    The personal wealth and education of the terrorists is not the issue. It is in fact irrelevant. What matters is the level of wealth and education in the generality of the population from which they are drawn. If the populations are generally wealthy, educated and secure, they will not identify so closely with zealots. If they are poor, insecure and under- or badly-educated they will tend to look to the radicals for answers.

    EG

  • Verity, if it helps you Google, I recall Mark Steyn wrote about it in one of his columns.

  • Euan Gray

    You could probably Google it.

    Try here

    EG

  • I disagree. What do we achieve if we set aside one of the basic principles of western civilisation? Have not the terrorists won a victory then?

    Sorry but ‘one of the basic principles of western civilisation’ is NOT to give equal weight to the people you are at war with, nor to their creeds or views or safety. You have a strange notion of western civilisation if you think otherwise. Perhaps you need to read some books under the title ‘History of the Twentieth Century’. Again you seem unable to see the difference between the essential tolerance that underpins normal western civil society and a situation in which violence and a clear and present danger exist. They are materially different conditions to that which prevails in normal civil society.

    I have to agree with Perry Metzger’s point that several here seem to have failed to distinguish between group and individual.

    I cannot speak for the commentariat but certainly none of Samizdata.net’s writers have any problem making that distinction. It is true that not all self-described Wahhabbis are my enemy, which means I do not need to wish all Wahhabbis dead (though certainly I would have none as my friend and care little for their sensibilities)… but the people who clearly are my enemies are indeed Wahhabbis and those I do indeed wish destruction upon. They are after all my enemies and wish no less for me and my ilk.

    What additional meaning you read into that is probably not worth me debating.

    If our remarks inflame and seem intemperate, that is beacuse we are intemperate people at times and see no reason to always carefully craft our words as so to not annoy or upset. I doubt that will be the last September 11th on which we make such a toast.

  • Why not watch the Last Night of the Proms? Far more agreeable.

    September 11th should be reserved for remembrance and loss. For other countries, there are other days, just as potent in terms of their grief.

    Perhaps a movement akin to Remembrance Sunday and a cenotaph are more appropriate symbols for the victims of terrorism.

  • Jacob

    EG:
    “We are NOT at war with Islam, we are at war with a small group of fundamentalist zealots with a specific socio-political agenda. ”

    This seems a very specific, and definite statement. What are your sources ? Have you counted those “fundamentalist zealots”, and concluded based on your count that they are few? I mean: is this just your gut feeling, or have you travelled and lived extensively in Muslim countries ? What is the basis of your claim? David Warren(for example) has lived many years in Pakistan. I think his assesment differs from your’s. (Mine too).

  • mike

    go on there Jacob!!
    logic him right out of that rabbit-burrow!

  • Verity

    Euan Grey – “If the populations are generally wealthy, educated and secure, they will not identify so closely with zealots.” Exactly! Because they will be the zealots! They don’t have to worry about putting rice on the table, so they sit around thinking about how to teach the world to straighten up and fly right, so to speak.

    Like many rich socialists we could name.

    But you are still missing the point. Muslims are commanded by the koran to get infidels to become Muslims, or at least Dhimmis – in other words, submit to Islam – or kill them. This is not subtle. It is not nuanced. It is not sane.

    The only argument I would have with Perry’s posts is, I would not single the Wahabbis out. Certainly, the are funding the spreading of the word, but this is something that every Muslim believes in his heart of hearts anyway. True, some of the gentler spirits wouldn’t want to actually murder us, but they still believe we are committing a crime against god by not following his rules and by not submitting to him. This is the way they’re brought up, and there are no dissenting voices in Islam. Think about it.

    Peter Cuthbertson – Thank you! I do remember now that Mark Steyn was one of the people who wrote about it.

  • Tatyana

    Verity,
    Since you made a statement, I’d expect you to back it up with sources and not tell ME to google it. Of course you have no idea where my son went to school, that’s why I gave you this information.

    As to your shamelessly proclaimed ignorance about the area, WTC (as the name implies) was located in financial business district of the city (does Wall street rings a bell?) and it should give you an idea that not many schools will be located next to it, less so- in visual proximity of the buildings. (And you can google the images of downtown disaster area, in case three-year old continuous TV coverage didn’t burned it in your brain forever)
    If you recall the white footbridge overpass from all TV reportages of the time (that was the closest to the catastrophe area journalists were allowed to come) – that’s the bridge entry to the Stuyvesant school. It’s 1.5 blocks from WTC
    I can assure you, if there were any students bringing the cameras to school in anticipation of the events and it’d became obvious while everybody in school saw people jamping to their death from above – my son would have tell me that day. He and other students were evacuated from the school and told “to go uptown”, and when after 4 agonising hours I managed to meet them (they walked more than 40 blocks) he’s seen a lot of things some people have luck never experience in their entire life. But not what you refer to.

    The legends like the one you tell I think are of the same vien as rumors spread by Islamists about Israelis not coming to work to WTC on 9/11. (“Mossad conspiracy theory”)
    In fact muslims and jews of many countries of origin were killed at the towers that day. I guess they didn’t pay attention to the warnings?

    I, on the other hand, saw with my own eyes 4 or 5 dancing and throwing candies Arab men next to the 10th Ave Post Office building, at 1:30 pm, when I was running to the 30th street to meet my son after he finally was able to get to a working payphone and call me at work. I’ve noticed them only because of the stark contrast they made to the sombre and grief-ridden faces on the streets.

    Really,it would be very beneficial to you, Verity, if you abandon that condescending tone of yours and try to think what you’re going to say-before talking.

  • Verity

    Tatyana – I have absolutely no idea where your child goes to school. Telling me the name of a school and a neighbourhood I don’t know will not serve to enlighten me, even were I interested in your child, which, let me make this even more transparent for you this time, I am not.

    I am shamelessly ignorant of the Piazza San Marco, the VIIth arrondissement, Red Square, Islington, Nob Hill, Sunset Boulevard and even entire countries, like Sweden and Brazil.

    I am, however, fairly familiar with Manhattan, especially the upper East Side (ring a bell?).

    What I am not familiar with, and will not be acquainting myself with, are the numerous schools in the NYC/NJ area that, three years ago, had some classrooms that had a view of the WTC. Is that clear enough for you?

    I repeat: Wahhabism is a profound evil, but although much of the rest of Islam shrinks from showing such a cruel face, it can so shrink in the assurance that Wahhabism is on the job.

  • Tatyana

    Let me assure you, dear Verity, I HAVE NO INTEREST in you personally whatsoever.
    You can continue your ignorant ranting and your tantrums for the rest of your miserable life and it will not makes a hair difference to me.

    But if you make public statements you better find some evidence to back it up, and do it in a polite way, it’s in your interests.
    Unlike you, I mentioned an EYE WITTNESS account of the events who happened to be my son and I’d rather beleive him and his classmates than somebody who proudly proclaims her complete ignorance of the subject for ideological reasons.

    What’s “clear enough for me” is that you are shallow hysterical revolutionary type to be avoided by reasonable people.

  • I am with Perry on this one and join in the toast. The Wahhabbis are the most virulent proselytizers of Islamofacism. They are one of the main carriers of that disease. Now if they change and, for whatever reason, stop being Wahhabbi then I will no longer wish them dead. I hope and expect that will be the outcome for most. That would be better for both us and them.

    I am equating Wahhabbis with the worst of the advocates of Islamofacism and I suppose that you can argue that not all Wahhabbis are such advocates. I am uninterested in such quibbles.

    I do not consider the following to justify my position but to be one reason why I believe that my thinking on this subject is clearer than some. I have a good friend who worked in one of the towers right where one of the planes entered. As it happens his birthday is September 11 and he decided to give himself the present of not setting his alarm that day. As a result he still lives.

    Tony Lekas
    Hudson, NH

  • Shawn

    “This failure to understand the difference between groups and individuals, or between ideologies and people, is the central delusion of collectivism”

    Wahhabism is a collective, and pretending otherwise is foolish.

    Metzger’s post if nothing else reminds me of why I have abandoned Libertarianism. It’s liberal based delusions are suicidal.

  • Verity

    Shawn – Wahhabism is the loudest and most fanatical voice, but as I keep saying, there is no such thing as moderate Islam. The tenet of their faith is that the rest of us are infidels who need to be converted or murdered. This is what their koran teaches. It is not open to interpretation. This is why it is all but impossible to get any Muslim ‘spokesperson’ – they’re all self-appointed – to condemn terrorism. In their hearts, they know the terrorists are doing allah’s will and they are thus unable to speak against it.

    The Wahhabis are energetic and rich proselytisers, but they have no nay-sayers within their co-religionists for one reason: Muslims believe that even if their actions may be a little misguided, their reasoning is correct. Everyone’s got to be ‘brought back’ to allah, one way or another. Forced conversion or death.

    This is why talk of ‘moderate Muslims’ is self-deluding. Even the mildest mannered of Muslims, and there are many, believe that all human beings were born Muslim and, having deserted it, must be brought back to submission by god’s command.

  • Even the mildest mannered of Muslims, and there are many, believe that all human beings were born Muslim and, having deserted it, must be brought back to submission by god’s command.

    I must disagree. In Bosnia and Herzegovina I met many entirely secular ‘muslims’, many who had mixed marriages and we very blasé indeed about religious matters. I felt as threatened by their religion as I do by Anglicanism.

  • Euan Gray

    Jacob,

    Although I have not spent years in Pakistan, I have worked in Moslem countries and my company, for a variety of reasons (mainly cost), employs a considerable number of Moslems from various countries in a range of different positions. I know Moslems from India, Pakistan, the Lebanon, Afghanistan (really, but only one and he now lives in Pakistan), Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Russia and Qatar (a Palestinian family).

    Some, especially the Qatari ex-Palestinian, have a distinct beef about Israel. Some more don’t particularly like what they see as the immorality of “the west”, but on the other hand most of the rest are not terribly religious and many are drinkers, smokers and serial womanisers up there with the best of the westerners. Moslems from the ex-Soviet territories are the least hostile, since decades of atheistic Russification had a considerable effect – I think this is matches with Perry’s note about secular Moslems from Bosnia & Herzegovina, which of course also used to be Communist.

    My impression is that the majority of the Moslems I know think we in the west are a tad decadent and immoral, but that’s about as far as it goes. Whilst they would probably be happy to see the west convert to Islam, they generally don’t seem to see any need for force. “Not all Moslems are terrorists” is the most memorable quote from one of them – in fact from the ex-Palestinian. It is commented that the Koran commands the faithful to spread the word and bring all humanity to Allah. Fair enough. The Christian Bible also says much the same thing, and a quick glance at the history of Christian expansion in the Americas shows how that went.

    [As for western immorality and decadence, sometimes one looks around and wonders if they don’t have a point.]

    There appears to be a considerable amount of insecurity and resentment in much of the Moslem world directed (not only) against the west. The west is, in their eyes, infidel, decadent, immoral and licentious. But at the same time, the west is rich and powerful. The Moslem world, in their eyes, is much more faithful, more religious, more moral, truer to the commands of Allah. And yet they fail – they are poor except where there is oil (and will be poor again when no-one needs the oil), they are weak, their governments frequently are hopeless.

    Essentially, we do everything wrong yet we succeed. They do everything right, and fail. This realisation does terrible things to a man’s world-view, especially if he is religious. How does one reconcile the teaching of one’s faith with the manifest facts of the world? This explains, I think, a large part of the angst and indeed anger in parts of contemporary Islam.

    Some people patently decide that the way to deal with this is not to reform but to strike out at the contradictory evidence. This is a human reaction, and people in the west do the same thing sometimes. Frequently the strike is just words. Sometimes it is more.

    The Wahabi strain of Islam appears to be not dissimilar in world-view to the Puritan Christians of the 16th & 17th centuries. This is, in itself, probably not a threat. But there are people within it who are, and who inspire others with tales of the “old days” of Al-Andalus, or with the meesage that removing the decadent west will solve all their problems and so on. [Of course, there is no shortage of otherwise intelligent people in the west who advocate re-conquest of former Imperial possessions, so this is not an unknown phenomenon]

    Specific objections that the fundamentalists have against the west appear to centre around American domination of Saudi Arabia, western support for Israel, and western siphoning of huge amounts of cash out of the oil states. They don’t want to change, and want to impose a very conservative religious order on their own people. They want to be able to live they way the choose wherever they happen to be – which brings them into conflict with the west.

    But most Moslems simply don’t appear to be like this. Yes, they want the west to convert, but many westerners would like them to convert to Christianity. Yes, the probably do pray for us to see the error of our ways, as we pray for them. And there are ignorant and stupid imams who preach hate and violence. And yes, poor and ignorant people will swallow that line because they don’t know any better and it offers an easy solution to their problems.

    I think they way I do because of what I have experienced for myself, what I have seen, what I have read, and the many conversations on the subject I’ve had with people from widely different cultures. I do not like Islamism, but I have no problem with Islam, nor with the vast majority of the Moslems I have met. Most of them don’t particularly like Islamism either, come to that – it gets in the way of them having a good time & earning cash. I see no sign whatever of a global Islamic plan to violently oppose the west, but I do see small factions rebelling against reality and the modern world, but also with access to cash and technology. And yes, this is a problem.

    Sorry for the lengthy post. I’ll end it now by repeating the words of my Palestinian Qatari:

    Not all Moslems are terrorists.

    EG

  • Jacob

    EG,
    Thanks for your informative reply.

    And there are ignorant and stupid imams who preach hate and violence. And yes, poor and ignorant people will swallow that line because they don’t know any better and it offers an easy solution to their problems.

    True. There are many of those imams and many of those influenced by them.

    Judging the matter based on aquaintances who live in the West is a little dangerous, because a) they are westernized, therefore not representative, and b) People hold back, they won’t tell you all they think, they even tend to tell what they think you’ll like to hear.

    “Not all Muslims are terrorists”
    Sure. But many are, many. Not a few individuals, not an insignificant group (like, say, the Bader-Meinhoff gang in the 70ies), but a huge portion of the population in many countries.

    There are many, many poor countries, and poor people in the world, in Africa, India, China, South America. They don’t embrace the insanity of terrorism (though many embrace the insanity of communism). Poverty doesn’t explain the phenomenon.

    The problem is serious, and it wasn’t created by the West, neither is there anything the West can do to solve it and make it disappear.

  • Shawn

    “It is commented that the Koran commands the faithful to spread the word and bring all humanity to Allah. Fair enough. The Christian Bible also says much the same thing, and a quick glance at the history of Christian expansion in the Americas shows how that went.”

    No it doesnt.

    The problem is not that the Q’uran commands the faithful to “spread the word” about Allah, but that it commands the faithful to do so by force of arms. There is NO command in the Gospel, anywhere in the New Testament, to spread the faith by force of arms. That the Church has sometimes done so through alliances with the State is true. That this is a corruption of the Gospel is also true, or at the very least that no support for such actions can be found in the Gospel. And that there is NOTHING in the Christian faith which mandates such expansionism is also true. For its first three hundred years Christians resisted the state and most refused military service. Even after Constantine the idea of the Christian warrior was controversial, and it has remained so to this day.

    This is the fundamental basic difference between Islam and all other religions, Christianity incuded, that Euan and others here repeatedly ignore. So for the benifit of those who dont get it letme repeat:

    Islam was founded by a military commander (even if he was not one at the beginning) who wielded the sword and faught what amounts to a war of religious conquest. From the beggining, Islam was a faith that was joined at the hip to military expansionism. The Q’uran does not simply tell Muslims to spread the faith, it tells them to do so by the sword. Jihad is central to Islam.

    There is no other major religion on earth that has started the way Islam did, as a military allied warrior creed with expansion by force as its central aim.

    It is this fact which must be central to any analysis of Islam and its relationship to the rest of the world.

    Ignoring this facet of Islam is dishonest. Trying to make comparisons between Islam and other faiths is also dishonest, as Euans facile and factually incorrect post above shows. What Euan and Metzger and J and others here are doing is upholding a bald faced lie. And it is just one lie of several:

    That Islam is just another religion like any other and should be treated as such. As I have shown above this claim is false and demonstrably so.

    That most Muslims are not supporters of terrorism. Not one iota of evidence has been presented to prove this claim. The most conservative estimates are that the supporters and sympathisers of HAMAS, Hizbollah and al-Qaeda number in the millions.

    That most Muslims want to live in peace with the West. Again, where is the evidence?

    Euan trots out the “Muslims I have known who were nice” as though this makes for a systematic analysis of the situation in the ME.

    Not all Muslims are terrorists. But so what? The real questions we should be asking are, how many are? How many are supporters? And how many might not agree with terrorism per se, but do agree with the cultural and religious conquest of the West through other means?

    I hope that my concerns about Islam are wrong. But this issue deserves better than facile liberal PC slogans and cliches.

  • Euan Gray

    based on aquaintances who live in the West

    They don’t live in the west, apart from the Qatari, whose family is still in Qatar. The rest of them live in the countries they come from.

    Poverty doesn’t explain the phenomenon

    I didn’t say it did. I said earlier that the wealth or otherwise of the terrorists is not the issue. The degree of support they get from their home populations, however, is not unrelated to poverty.

    They don’t embrace the insanity of terrorism

    But they do embrace organised crime, drug cultivation and smuggling, kidnapping as a source of income, etc. Poverty encourages radical solutions. Unfortunately, in the case of poor Moslems, there is a radical “solution” in the form of fundamentalist religion. Unsurprisingly, it gets taken up sometimes.

    No it doesnt.

    I’m afraid it does. The Bible encourages the faithful to spread the word. It does not, of course, say as the Koran does that this should be at swordpoint. I said that both books encourage conversion of the non-believer. The fact that the methods differ doesn’t mean the Bible doesn’t say this.

    Even after Constantine the idea of the Christian warrior was controversial, and it has remained so to this day

    That’s not exactly accurate. There are many examples of the Church Militant throughout history. Whether this is a perversion of the Gospel is another matter, but nothing is to be gained by splitting hairs over different churches’ interpretations of the same passages.

    That most Muslims are not supporters of terrorism. Not one iota of evidence has been presented to prove this claim

    So where is the evidence that “most Moslems” ARE supporters of terrorism?

    The real questions we should be asking are, how many are? How many are supporters?

    Well, according to you, most of them, and it would appear you require no further analysis. These are indeed important questions, and the answer is not a simple “most of them”. Blanket assumptions that “most” Moslems are supporters of terrorism will not exactly help in discovering the answers, and will serve only to alienate those who might be well-disposed to the west.

    It seems it’s wrong to permit an Islamic blanket characterisation of the west as effete, decadent, corrupt and “the enemy”, but it’s quite acceptable to make a blanket accusation of Moslems are either terrorists or terrorist supporters ,and “the enemy”. I cannot but feel this is incorrect.

    EG

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    The always interesting Perry de Havilland wrote:

    In Bosnia and Herzegovina I met many entirely secular ‘muslims’, many who had mixed marriages and we very blasé indeed about religious matters. I felt as threatened by their religion as I do by Anglicanism.

    You don’t consider the tranzi kumbaya leftiness of the Archbishop of Canterbury threatening? 🙂

  • Jacob

    EG,
    But they do embrace organised crime, drug cultivation and smuggling, kidnapping as a source of income, etc. Poverty encourages radical solutions.

    All these are ordinary criminal (or not, in the case of drugs) activities, that exist in ALL countries. They pose a problem, but the problem with terrorism is NOT in that category at all.

    Your attempt to clasify terrorism as some kind of ordinary crime, perpetrated by some gang of ordinary criminals is entirely wrong. It would be like bundling the Nazis in with ordinary criminals and to state that their “root causes” were (as allways) poverty, and no, not all Germans support them, and they aren’t that dangerous (that’s what many said in the 30ies).

    Terrorism and crime are distinct beasts. Muslim terrorism encompasses huge masses of population, not just some deviant individuals (granted: not all muslims). It controls or quazi-controls some governments, it is global, it is aggressive toward other countries and cultures. Im my opinion, religion (Islam) is more a pretext, or a glue than a root cause, Osama &co aren’t profoundly religious. It is a mass-movement, maybe a mass psychosis, and it is extremely dangerous.

    Those who try to dismiss it as some crime-gang problem, to be solved by law-enforcement – like Kerry for example, are deeply mistaken.

  • mike

    Following up on Shawn’s post, I think another real question to be asked is something like this:

    Of those Muslims who are not terrorists, what proportion is ‘well disposed’ to the West as against ‘sympathetic to the conquering of the West by other means’?

    Picking up on definition, it might also be a real question to ask

    Of those Muslims who are ‘well disposed’ to the West, how far away are their political views from a moderate, secular liberalism (private property, rule of law applied to individuals etc etc, this would be good enough I should think)?

    So even if our ‘sympathetic’ Muslims (to us I mean) are in a minority, it’d be interesting to ask how recent their political views are, what distinguishing characteristics their lives have had and so on – all this might help us get some idea of how close they are to us and what kinds of things tend to bring this about.

  • Euan Gray

    It is a mass-movement, maybe a mass psychosis, and it is extremely dangerous.

    I agree it’s certainly extremely dangerous. For the moment, I do not subscribe to the view that it is some form of mass hysteria or psychosis. It could be, but I remain to be convinced.

    The rise of Nazism is another fascinating subject, and it is in fact true that many of the “root causes” were indeed economic – the depression of the late 1920s was greatly exacerbated by excessive and vindictive penalties imposed on Germany at Versailles, for starters. It has frequently been said that WW2 really started in 1919. Not all Germans did support the Nazis, just as not all Moslems support terrorism. Many Germans acutely felt the loss of national pride after what they saw as the humiliation of Versailles, just as many Moslems share a deep resentment at their own failure, made worse perhaps by the conspicuous success of the infidel west. The racial aspects of Nazism tapped into the latent European anti-semitism that has never really disappeared, and perhaps the tribalism of many Moslem societies has an effect here. On the other hand, perhaps just a feeling of vengeance after centuries of western domination has something to do with it.

    I don’t think the threat of Islamism is completely unprecedented – the threats of Communism, Nazism and Fascism were in my view similarly grave although employing different means. There are some particularly insidious facets to Islamism, but overall it isn’t in my view something completely new or uniquely awful.

    Im my opinion, religion (Islam) is more a pretext, or a glue than a root cause

    I agree, and it’s one of the points I’ve been trying to make. This is why it is NOT Islam that is the problem as such. It doesn’t matter so much what the religious belief of the terrorists happens to be, just as it doesn’t matter so much how personally wealthy or well-educated they are. Without a degree of support from their own people, they would not long survive and would be a lot easier to track down. Why is this support there? What problems do the people have or think they have which turns them towards extremism for answers? How can those problems be solved?

    EG

  • Euan Gray

    What mike said.

    But I would also say that this exercise will not be helped by a blanket assumption that all or nearly all Moslems are either terrorists or terror supporters.

    I mean, what’s the difference between (a) all Moslems are terrorists or if not they are terrorist supporters, and (b) [I am poor, my neighbour who is wealthy happens to be Jewish, so … ] all Jews either steal our money or support the stealing of our money.

    That’s not a road we need to go down, and blanket characterisations of entire religious or ethnic groups as having unique and undesirable propensities is NOT the answer to these problems.

    See what I mean about people failing to learn from (or even look at) history?

    EG

  • mike

    No Euan I’m afraid I don’t – the ‘learning from history’ thing is entirely seperate and is objectionable on purely logical grounds as we discussed before. Even though it sounds learned and cool.

    However, I do have a little sympathy with your protest against ‘blanket assumptions’, although I can’t quite say I agree with you.

    Where blanket assumptions about what groups of people believe are pretended to ‘answer’ questions about how we should manage our relations to them – then I would agree that they are unnecessary as well as stupid.

    And yet I don’t think Shawn is guilty of this. I don’t see where exactly he actually claims that his suspicion of Islam in general is enough to solve our problems, and he talks about evidence and systematic analysis of the ME – which is bang on for me. So I happen to think Shawn’s suspicion of Islam in general (and any other grand moral/spiritual ideologies) is quite healthy actually.

    Yet – as I gave a little example in my post – the important thing is to clearly think about our problems in the first place and to try to select the right questions – and I think especially Shawn’s last question is one of those.

  • Jacob

    EG,
    On the other hand, perhaps just a feeling of vengeance after centuries of western domination has something to do with it.”

    There weren’t “centuries” of western domination, they were centuries of Turkish domination. The British started to control Egypt about 1870(?) though it remained formally independent. The rest of the ME came under western rule after WW1, when the British helped the Arabs shake loose from the Turks and improve their life immensly. Saudi Arabia was never colonized. (maybe Algeria and Marroco were colonized earlier). Persia and Afghanistan were never colonized.

    This is historic fact, but it really does not matter. It’s conceptions, or misconceptions that rule the Muslim’s mind, not facts, and anyway, historic facts aren’t something we can undo or change.

    Why is this support there? What problems do the people have or think they have which turns them towards extremism for answers? How can those problems be solved?

    We cannot fully grasp what the problems are, we cannot fully understand all social-cultural processes, and there is NO way we can “solve” the problem and cure the psychosis. We cannot do social engineering, we cannot mold social or cultural evolution to our tastes.

    We must defend ourselves against it, in the most vigorous manner. Don’t delude yourself that there is some other way, some soft, and nice, and polite and spiritual way to “solve” the problem.

    The same, interestingly, is true for the Nazis. Maybe Versailles was to blame for their rise, maybe poverty – this is all idle speculation – this is not scientific truth that can be nailed down. It still remains a fact that nothing could have been done in the 30ies to stop Nazism, short of vigorous and early use of force.

  • mike

    Jacob writes:

    “We cannot fully grasp what the problems are, we cannot fully understand all social-cultural processes”

    I don’t think Euan is making any such claim, Jacob. For example, one of the problems that Muslims have is unemployment. I’m sure there must be things ME governments, for instance, can do to try and help solve this problem. Also, there may well be things companies such as Euan’s can do out of self-interest that just happen to reduce unemployment among Muslims.

    Jacob also writes:

    “and there is NO way we can “solve” the problem and cure the psychosis. We cannot do social engineering, we cannot mold social or cultural evolution to our tastes.

    What are you talking about? And who mentioned anything about ‘molding cultural evolution to our tastes’? Actually, are not each and every one of us doing something like this whenever we make a decision about the future (e.g. whether I shall buy organic eggs or simply free range eggs or duck eggs even [my favourite!] – thus contributing however minutely to the shape of market demand for eggs, which itself may reflect one ‘aspect’ of attitudes toward food in our culture which may have some significance for the future – blah blah blah..)? I think so.

    I find all these references to ‘evolution’ when discussing the future of Islam to be just so facile and devoid of actual content, as to be really not worth the pinch of salt I sprinkle on my boiled eggs.

  • Euan Gray

    I don’t think Euan is making any such claim

    No, I’m not. I do say that we can try to figure out some of the reasons why the resentment is there and what prolongs it. We probably will never get more than an approximate understanding, but we can at least try. Whilst we can’t do anything about cultural issues, if there are economic or political causes then we can, potentially, do something about it. Note, though, that this isn’t a call to occupy the Middle East or enforce a particular economic or political regime, but advice and assistance freely sought ought, IMO, to be freely given. The trick is to find which levers to pull in order to trigger the seeking bit.

    From a more cynical and pragmatic point of view, you will never defeat your enemy if you don’t try to understand him. You need to figure out what motivates him, why it motivates him, and so on. You need to know, in simple terms, what makes him tick.

    Occupation of the ME is *one* way to enforce stability, but the price would be extremely high in both bodies and cash, and frankly it’s not worth it. Someone on this blog who shall remain nameless did actually suggest the occupation of Saudi Arabia as an “answer” to the problem, but it isn’t. Not unless your plan is to wipe out all of Islam, of course.

    My company, and other companies like it, do bring money and expertise to the region (and other regions, of course). How this gets used is another matter, and companies generally don’t get involved in that. This in one way helps, but in another way it hinders because it is seen by some as looting the riches of the Arab world.

    My point about the centuries of western dominance is that the Moslem world ceased to be a significant player 200-300 years ago, and since then has continually and obviously declined in relative importance to the west. This seriously niggles a lot of Moslems, especially Arabs.

    My earlier point about not learning from history relates to the unwise nature of blanket categorisation of ethnic or religious groups as having specific qualities, and the example I chose was the treatment of the Jews by Nazi Germany. The lesson of history which people fail to learn (some people, at any rate) is that (a) this is nasty and unpopular as well as being invalid and (b) it doesn’t bloody work. I’m not suggesting this will necessarily happen again (see earlier discussions re: predicting from history) but I am suggesting that some people ignore the historical evidence that it’s a Bad Thing. I think this is a valid point.

    EG

  • mike

    Euan: I’m not even sure that historical events necessarily have anything to do with what we consider moral and immoral today. If something is wrong, then it is wrong because it is contrary to values we believe in and not because of historical events. Although they may of course act as a reminder…

    Anyway, may I ask what kind of company yours is, I mean what field of business, such that it is seen by some as ‘looting the riches of the Arab world’? Oil?

    The helps/hinders point is exactly the kind of thing I’m interested in. Your company ‘helps’ from a ‘development’ point of view, yet hinders from a ‘reactionary’ point of view, no? I’m interested in what will dissolve that ‘reactionary’ point of view.

  • Euan Gray

    mike:

    I think I’m not expressing myself well on this historical stuff. My point generally is that history is a reminder, full of cautionary tales if we care to look at them. Of course, morality changes, but irrespective of the morality this idea of blanket attribution of undesirable characteristics to specific ethnic/religious groups just plain doesn’t work.

    what field of business, such that it is seen by some as ‘looting the riches of the Arab world’? Oil?

    Yes, but engineering services not production and exploration. So although we don’t “loot” the money directly, we are sometimes seen as complicit in the process – and of course we are a yet another infidel western company.

    I’m interested in what will dissolve that ‘reactionary’ point of view.

    As am I. The Moslem mindset appears in some respects to be quite alien to the western world, but I’m sure we can still make some sense of at least some of it.

    EG

  • Euan Gray

    mike:

    I think I’m not expressing myself well on this historical stuff. My point generally is that history is a reminder, full of cautionary tales if we care to look at them. Of course, morality changes, but irrespective of the morality this idea of blanket attribution of undesirable characteristics to specific ethnic/religious groups just plain doesn’t work.

    what field of business, such that it is seen by some as ‘looting the riches of the Arab world’? Oil?

    Yes, but engineering services not production and exploration. So although we don’t “loot” the money directly, we are sometimes seen as complicit in the process – and of course we are a yet another infidel western company.

    I’m interested in what will dissolve that ‘reactionary’ point of view.

    As am I. The Moslem mindset appears in some respects to be quite alien to the western world, but I’m sure we can still make some sense of at least some of it.

    EG

  • Shawn

    “I’m afraid it does. The Bible encourages the faithful to spread the word. It does not, of course, say as the Koran does that this should be at swordpoint. I said that both books encourage conversion of the non-believer. The fact that the methods differ doesn’t mean the Bible doesn’t say this.”

    I did not say that the Bible does not command Christians to spread the Gospel, I said that it does not command them to do so by force of arms, a distinction which is crucial.

    “That’s not exactly accurate. There are many examples of the Church Militant throughout history. Whether this is a perversion of the Gospel is another matter, but nothing is to be gained by splitting hairs over different churches’ interpretations of the same passages.”

    It is not a matter of splitting hairs, it is a fundamental difference between Islam and all other major world religions. Nothing is to be gained by ignoring this. Also “examples” of the Church militant is hardly the same thing as a central tenet of the faith. Again, your dishonestly trying to fudge an important distinction between Islam and other major world religions.

    “So where is the evidence that “most Moslems” ARE supporters of terrorism?”

    I never said they were, but even if a minority, we are talking about millions of Muslims who do. This fact destroys the notion that in Islamic terrorism we are dealing with a small fringe extremist movement. In fact we are dealing with a mass movement numbering in the millions. Also support for terrorism alone is not the only problem. Hatred and/or opposition to the West is also an issue.

    “It seems it’s wrong to permit an Islamic blanket characterisation of the west as effete, decadent, corrupt and “the enemy”, but it’s quite acceptable to make a blanket accusation of Moslems are either terrorists or terrorist supporters”

    I have never made that claim. I have also never said “most of them” which you imply later. However as I said Islamic terrorism is not the only problem we have to face with regards to Islam as a whole.

    “I cannot but feel this is incorrect.”

    Thats nice. But your feelings are not the issue.

    Inside “Mainstream” Islam:

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=36430

    One in eight Muslims in Britain support terrorist attacks:

    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=300802004

    Thats 13 percent of British Muslims.

    13 percent of 1.6 million is 208,000. Nearly a quater of a million Muslims IN BRITAIN ALONE support al-Qeada and other terrorist groups like HAMAS and the terror actions taken by these groups. Ands thats just the one who willing to be honest in a poll.

    Now if the percentage is that high in a Western country amongst immigrant Muslims who have been exposed to the truth of life in the West how much higher will it be in the Middle East?

  • Personal experience and a bit of common sense tells me it would be quite unhealthy for Mr Gray to voice the same kind of civil criticism about Islamic extremism in Saudi circles. If he had any sense of self-preservation, that is.

    And goes to show that saying something that might sound the same to a distracted five-year old does not make people, or their motives, the same. And reveals claims to the contrary to be one more article of what is now Europe’s main export : self-centered intellectual masturbation.

    By the time the Sunday morning intellectuals of the time bothered to look into what was wrong with communism and fascism and why, a few dozen millions had died.

    So with a little patience and more victims, I’m sure they’ll get around to looking into what’s wrong with Wahabbism some day. Instead of opining for pages about what’s wrong with the people who already know.

    And we wonder where Islamic fundamentalists got the idea we were weak-minded wankers…

  • Shawn

    ” Im my opinion, religion (Islam) is more a pretext, or a glue than a root cause

    I agree, and it’s one of the points I’ve been trying to make. This is why it is NOT Islam that is the problem as such. It doesn’t matter so much what the religious belief of the terrorists happens to be,”

    This is disturbingly wrong.

    Fact: All of the founders of modern Islamic terrorism were deeply religious. Osama bin Laden is well known as a deeply religious man. Relatives of his who have spoken out, including one Wedstern women who married into the family testify about hus strict fundamentalist beliefs.

    Fact: Almost all the global terrorist acts of the last twenty years have been by Muslims. Not Christians or Jews or Bhuddists or any other group. Ignoring the religious dimension of ISLAMIC terrorism is again factually incorrect and dishonest.

    Fact: Almost all the Islamic terror groups are religiously based, such as HAMAS, Hibollah and al-Qaeda. They do not simply use religion as a cover, they ARE religious groups. ISLAMIC religious groups.

    Fact: Islamic terrorists support the creation of religious fundamentalist regimes such as those in Sudan, Iran, and recently in Afghanistan.

    Fact: A fundamentalist, literal interpretation of the Q’uran and a militant interpretation of Islam is the CENTRAL MOTIVATING DIMENSION of all Islamic terror groups.

    Now can we please get back to reality?

  • Shawn

    A few final points.

    I am not trying to demonise Islam or Muslims in general. I AM trying to be realistic about Islam, the central facets of its faith system, and its history, especially in relation to the non-Islamic world.

    In admitting the hard truth that we are dealing with a mass religious movement that numbers in the millions and that is prepared to use horrific violence, I am not trying to make a point about Muslims in general.

    Any discussion of Islamic terrorism cannot be divorced from the religious beliefs that motivate Islamic terrorists, and therefore cannot be divorced from a discussion of Islam itself.

    Having such a discussion, which much of the world has been having since 911, does not mean that we are trying to demonise the religion.

    Islam as we know it and Western civilisation may well be incompatible. Admitting this does not mean the demonisation of Islam.

    Communism and freedom were incompatible. So might Islam and freedom. This does not mean we should destroy Islam, but certainly does mean the West should be on its guard and take a precautionary approach to the Islamic world and to Islamic immigration.

    I do not think we are doomed to a constant civilisational war, but I do think we are in for a long conflict.

    I would not support the war on terror if I did not think it could be won.

    Imo, fundamentalist and militant Islam is doomed, and in fact Islam as we know it is also. I have no evidence to support this, I just happen to think that Islam, at least the Islam we have known since 622, is on the losing side of history.

    We have three weapons at our disposal, all of which should be used.

    One: Strongly limit permanent Islamic immigration to the West for the near future.

    Two: continue the military aspects of taking out terror groups and the states that support them.

    Three, work for and spead up the process of economic globalisation.

    Finally, there are signs, however imperfect, of hope:

    http://www.minaret.org/

    http://www.learningpartnership.org/events/newsalerts/morocco0204.phtml

    http://www.newstatesman.com/nscoverstory.htm

  • EG:

    “[…] is NOT Islam that is the problem as such.”

    EG, your display of willful thinking is hair-raising.

    Actually, I have suspicions on your honesty. Have you ever read anything of the Quran?

    In “A letter to Mankind(Link)“, by the remarkable Ali Sina, member of the ex-Muslim Movement and faithfreedom.org(Link), you can read:

    Those of us, who know Islam, know that the understanding of the terrorists of Islam is correct. They are doing nothing that their prophet did not do and did not encourage his followers to do. Murder, rape, assassination, beheading, massacre and sacrilege of the dead “to delight the hearts of the believers” were all practiced by Muhammad, were taught by him and were observed by Muslims throughout their history.

    “If truth has ever mattered, it matters most now! This is the time that we have to call a spade a spade. This is the time that we have to find the root of the problem and eradicate it. The root of Islamic terrorism is Islam. The proof of that is the Quran.”

    May we have the courage to defend the truth.

  • Euan Gray

    Those of us, who know Islam, know that the understanding of the terrorists of Islam is correct

    And yet other Moslem scholars assert that the understanding of the terrorists in some cases twists and in other cases flat out contradicts the teaching of the Koran.

    Like most religious issues, much of this is interpretation and opinion. Consider for example the differences between the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant variations of Christianity. Consider even the huge the variations within the large number of different Protestant strands. Consider the differences between Shia and Sunni Islam, and don’t forget Sufism. Wahabism is not all of Islam, don’t forget.

    So some say the terrorists are correctly following the Koran. Others say the opposite. Depending on how you read the words, there is some justification for both their cases, but the cannot both be correct. Nobody is disputing that the terrorists try to justify their acts by means of the Koran. This, however, does not mean they are correct. It doesn’t even mean that all Islamic scholars agree with them. And it doesn’t mean that all Moslems agree with them, either.

    May we have the courage to defend the truth

    And what “truth” would that be, exactly?

    EG

  • Firstly, Ali Sina is not a Muslim, but an ex-Muslim. Happily.

    And, EG, I don’t give a damn to your anonymous “other Moslem scholars”, flatly because Islam systematically uses deception as a weapon —defined as Taquiya and kitman (Link).

    I strongly suggest you to think about the suicidal nonsense which is moral relativism, and to read Mr. Sina’s instructive writings, e.g., the article “The Secret of Muhammad’s Success.”(Link)

  • A_t

    Joel, I think you’ve made your point; all the sources you quote can be relied upon to slag Islam off at every opportunity, & i’m sure they will do so again, should I click on any of the links, which frankly I can’t be bothered to do. I always find it suspicious when a source takes a completely consistant line on any human problem, & I would no more trust any of those sources unsupported than I would the word of fundamentalist muslim sites or national governments.

    As to an ex-muslim… well, I’ve known ex-christians, brought up within the Christian faith & perfectly knowledgable about it, who would condemn Christianity as an evil faith, responsable for many of the world’s problems. I don’t think they were right, & have no reason to believe this person is any more so about any inherent evil.

  • Euan and Mike:

    Agree with much of what you say; except suggestions that we (the West) ought to be doing stuff to relieve unemployment etc in the ME thereby relieving root causes of terrorism.

    No way. That sort of international welfarism works about as well as domestic welfarism – i.e. not at all. The best thing we can do is to buy stuff from them, sell stuff to them and otherwise leave them all well alone.

  • Euan Gray

    Joel:

    I don’t give a damn to your anonymous “other Moslem scholars”

    You probably should. It generally pays to open the mind. In any case, it is unwise to rely only upon one man’s view of the world, or indeed one organisation’s view. This, after all, is the narrow outlook of the terrorists. Read what others have to say, even if it does upset your preconceptions.

    You still haven’t answered my question – what is this “truth” you talk about? I have my suspicions, of course…

    Julius:

    That sort of international welfarism works about as well as domestic welfarism – i.e. not at all

    I agree, and I wasn’t advocating it. Opening up their economies and encouraging stable business-friendly economic regimes, however, is something that would work although it would be tricky to accomplish without giving rise to accusations of imperialism. There also seems to be some inherent resistance to western capitalist methods in much of Moslem culture, and this would be harder to overcome.

    I suspect, though, that probably the most important thing we can do is ease our dependence on oil. This can only realistically be done by large scale expansion of nuclear capacity, which carries its own problems with popular (though largely misinformed and indeed semi-literate) opposition. Once the ME’s source of importance is removed, it would be a lot easier to, shall we say, actively require change. The ability of the terrorists to do much about it would be substantially reduced, although not eliminated, and the west would have greater flexibility in dealing with the problem.

    I do NOT think, however, that either assuming all Moslems are terrorists (which betrays ignorance) or demanding a halt to Moslem immigration (which gives the suspicion (note emphasis) of ulterior motives i.e. racism) are viable answers.

    EG

  • mike

    My my, I’ve missed a few postings here, haven’t I?

    I generally agree with most of what Shawn says. I agree with his imperatives 2 and 3 but not 1. The Muslim population of Britain is 1.6 mil and of that figure, 208,000 are terrorist sympathisers – that might be a big minority but it is still a minority – I want to know (as I indicated in my first post) how far away from us politically the rest of that 1.6 mil Muslims are. I want to know in what ways politically/psychologically they are different from the terrorist supporting minority – other than less sincere as this would mean that the guardian poll referenced by the scotsman merely arrived at inaccurate figures. Also Shawn I happen to think that if (and for me this still remains a big if) Islam generally is basically incompatible with a life based on liberty then we *should* demonise it – just like communism – because it will be antithetical to our most basic value and will have cost needless death and suffering to so many people (and that’s just on their own score, not even counting your imperative number 2). This does not mean tracking every Muslim down and sending them to ‘re-education’ camps of course – I would like to believe that sufficient contact with our way of life will render their religious outlook more or less irrelevant to their day-to-day affairs. But I might be both wrong and complacent in this belief – hence my curiosity about the Muslims who do not sympathise with the terrorists.

    Sylvain: quite apart from sounding vaguely insulting, your comments do not make grammatical sense. What are you talking about? Should we all stop thinking and talking and instead go and join the forces? Is that what you’re saying? Then please, don’t let us hold you back from taking your own advice. I’ve done my bit in that respect and would much rather do other things with my life now.

    Joel: I’m with you on the supreme value of truth – but as I have said there are other relevant questions to this debate than simply whether Islam is to blame for Islamic terrorism. In an ultimate sense perhaps it is, but in a more proximate sense – it is the *people* who commit terrorist outrages that are responsible. And I want to know about those people who follow Islam but denounce terrorists – are they simply insincere, or are they closer to our outlook than we realise? Also, how long can Islam survive in our culture without becoming impotent – and what factors (e.g. multi-cultural politics or abolishment of) bear on this?

    Julius: as Euan has also mentioned, I was not talking about welfarism either.

    Euan: since when was the suspicion of ulterior motives racism? Perhaps if that suspicion is completely unreasonable – e.g. where it is based on discredited biological theories. However where it is reasonable I would not think of it as racism at all.

  • Euan Gray

    mike:

    Euan: since when was the suspicion of ulterior motives racism?

    I think you misunderstand me. I meant that *some* people who advocate halting Moslem immigration *may* be doing so because of their own racist views *but* try to disguise this by presenting it as a security measure. Now, I don’t for one minute suspect or suggest that all or even most people who advocate such a restriction are racists, but I’m quite sure some of them are.

    I’ve met people who are racists, but who are also smart* enough to realise that it’s not terribly wise these days to suggest that blacks should be removed from the country on the grounds of being, er, black, and who say instead that welfare migrants and illegal asylum seekers (a substantial proportion of whom happen to be black) should be removed in the interests of saving money, enhancing security, blah, blah, blah.

    * ‘Smart’ is of course a relative term

    Well, eventually I gave up and had a look at some of Joel’s links. This quote rather sums up where the faithfreedom.org guys are coming from:

    “At FFI, we do not want to reform Islam. We want to eradicate it. Just as cancer cannot be reformed and the only way to cure the patient is to eradicate it, Islam can’t be reformed either and it must be eradicated for the world to be saved.” (Para. 6 on the page, if anyone can be bothered).

    Sigh.

    EG

  • mike

    Yes sorry Euan I did misunderstand you.

    Re: faithfreedom – I generally have little time for religion. It’s all just dark-ages superstition justifying a moral code, or at best it’s crap metaphysics IMHO justifying a moral code. However, as indicated in my post, I am suspicious as to whether an Islamic life may be compatible with a basically liberal society (which is different from a ‘pluralistic’ or multi-cultural society). Liberalism and pluralism may sometimes be compatible, but often clash.

  • Verity

    Euan – Could you tell us what race Islam is, please?

  • Euan Gray

    I am suspicious as to whether an Islamic life may be compatible with a basically liberal society

    Me too. I suggest one of the answers is to encourage assimilation of the Moslem immigrants into the host society. This will mean ending multiculturalism, which would be no bad thing and probably not unwelcome even among the immigrant population. I think if the illiberal Moslem element is forced to engage with society fully in order to get money, security, etc., then in time their illiberalism will fade as more and more of them see it is counter-productive.

    Could you tell us what race Islam is, please?

    Moslems belong to the human race, just like everyone else.

    [The idea of dividing homo sapiens into racial groups is as rational as differentiating between people on the grounds of the colour of their eyes. There is as much genetic difference between two unrelated white people as there is between a white person and a black person, so the exercise is illogical and invalid.

    However, some people persist in the belief that there is some meaningful difference between “races”. Some people do look upon Moslems as a race or something similar (I know people like this, unfortunately), which is as daft as (and I think closely analagous to) considering the Jews to be a race. The psychology of such people is fascinating, although I suspect it boils down to an inability to cope with change coupled with a degree of social inadequacy. But the point is that there are, I am quite sure, those who would use security concerns as a cover for excluding people they don’t like, i.e. in this case Moslems. It’s probable many of these people are of a more or less racist disposition anyway.]

    EG

  • Sirs,

    We need to see the Pink Elephant in the Room, and act accordingly. Nottice the Elephant:

    The Quran and Islamic texts are the root cause of Islamicism, in the same way that the “Mein Kampf” and “Das Kapital” were the fundations of Nazism and of Communism.

    Euan, A_t,

    I think that you embrace moral relativism… absolutely.

    Euan,

    Islam is not a race, but a cult. A cult of death. Otherwise, killing children would not be sanctioned, as it is, by Islam.

    Then you said:

    “Moslems belong to the human race, just like everyone else.”

    Well, that’s the truth and the Western view of the issue, rooted in the Judeo-Christian values. And possibly that’s the Bhuddist view, too.

    But precisely I am telling you that, according to the Quran, and according to central jurisprudence of Islam, only Muslims deserve to live a free life.

    And ideas have consequences, we can see it in a daily basis.

    A_t,

    My point is not that the author is an ex-Muslim, but that he is an ex-Muslim scholar, i. e., he has studied the Quran, its historical consequences, and the hair-raising human stories behind, usually having non-Muslims, women and children as victims.

    Of course there are a some remarkable people with a sense of courage, similar transparent position and deep knowledge on the issue; only some examples:

    Dr. Bat Ye’or, Ariel Natan Pasko, Victor Mordecai, Sir V. S. Naipaul, Hugh Fitzgerald, Robert Spencer, Craig Winn, Beth Goodtree.

    Julius,

    You can practice isolationism, but the Islamicists will not follow your live-and-let-live trend: Muslims are literally compelled to combat infidels –and combat may include provide funding to terrorist organizations, to lie, and to spread propaganda and disinformation– wherever they can find them, until all humans are Muslims: that’s the final da’wa (the utopical Muslim “peace”).

    Mike,

    Something is empowering Islamicists against us. Under my view:

    1) our ignorance and/or denial of the root cause, and
    2) our fear of acknowledging this objective truth, demontrated through logic and through history: we non-Muslims are under attack, a total war against non-Muslims that begun with Mohammedanism more than a millenium ago.

    Another truth: We are right to fight –in Manhattan in Falluja, or in London–, because a war of self-defense is absolutely moral.

  • mike

    Joel: might I ask which country you live in, and which country you are from? I was just wondering after looking at your website..

  • A_t

    Hmm.. looks to me as though “Joel Catala” is either a Craig Winn acolyte or Craig Winn himself, hiding behind a pseudonym for some unknown reason (not as though he’s publicity shy by the look of things). Certainly who a whois search on “joel catala”s domain takes you straignt into craig’s lap, & what he’s been saying fits in rather nicely with the book he wishes to promote.

    This is presumably also the same Craig Winn who did rather nicely out of his failed dot.com business….

    I dunno.. maybe not! Joel, are you Craig? Or do you just agree strongly with him?

    & so Joel, have you known many muslims? worked or studied alongside any?

    The great thing about your position is though, it’s highly watertight… even if I say
    “Oh, i had a muslim friend, he always seemed nice & treated me as an equal”,
    you’ll be able to respond
    “Ah no, but the devious mohammedean is tought to lie to infidels from an early age. What you thought was friendliness was actually a veneer over his seething, calculating hatred”.

    There’s no real room for discussion there; we’ll just have to see each other as hopelessly unrealistic, I’m afraid.

  • Shawn

    Whos Craig Winn?

  • A_t,

    I am not focusing on individual Muslims –and of course I know some of them–, but on the root of the problem: Muslim ideology, Islam.

    But, you seem more concerned about who I am than on the matter I focus on. Really odd.

    Mike,

    I am a Catalan. BTW, yesterday have been arrested 10 suspected Islamists in Barcelona (Link).

    (Catalonia today is ruled by Spain and France.)

    Unfortunately, the problem we face is real, and huge (Link) –please don’t hide the head in the sand.

  • A_t

    Joel, knowing individual muslims is important because although one may be able to extrapolate ‘all muslims will hate us’ from scripture, if this does not hold true for people you meet, it suggests your theoretical extrapolations are wrong. That isn’t to say they can’t be right sometimes, but knowing people who are good muslims & get on with you fine, showing no sign of wishing to kill you or convert you by force certainly puts paid to any notion that Islam is inherently evil or incompatible with our current way of life in the West, no?

    & nah, I’m not really that bothered about who you are.. I was just curious & doing a bit of research. I’m quite happy to believe you’re catalan; no trouble with that. Nice part of the world btw!

    (& head not in sand, just drawing different conclusions than you based on the evidence available)

  • A_t:

    I have not said that all Muslims will hate us. But the possibility that some Muslims (or even the majority of them) don’t hate us does not demonstrate that Islam does not teach hate to non-Muslims: indeed, the contrary is true.

    Of course some Muslims are nice people, but these guys are not good as Muslims, because they are not obeying the tenets of Islam: working to convert you, or otherwise to kill you.

    Islamicists are good Muslims because they follow Islam, and they are evil people.
    I said the root of Muslim hate is Islam. Period.

    Related to the evidende, well, it is there: e.g., in the net you can find:

    Good translations of Islamic verses,

    Background into Islam (Link)” by Abdullah Al Araby;

    good critiques of the Islamic teachings,

    “Islam: the Facade and the Facts” (Link) by Abdullah Al Araby;

    and good articles by experts,

    Syed Kamran Mirza’s Collection of articles (Link);

    etc.

    Best wishes, A-t.