Saturday, March 10, 2007

Diana West: Burnt offerings on the altar of multiculturalism


A student shouts slogans during an anti-Israel protest outside the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur March 9, 2007. Hundreds of Muslim students staged a protest after Friday prayers in the Malaysian capital against Israel's excavation work near the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

http://www.townhall.com

Only one faith on Earth may be more messianic than Islam: multiculturalism. Without it -- without its fanatics who believe all civilizations are the same -- the engine that projects Islam into the unprotected heart of Western civilization would stall and fail. It's as simple as that. To live among the believers -- the multiculturalists -- is to watch the assault, the jihad, take place un-repulsed by our suicidal societies. These societies are not doomed to submit; rather, they are eager to do so in the name of a masochistic brand of tolerance that, short of drastic measures, is surely terminal.

I'm not talking about our soldiers, policemen, rescue workers and, now, even train conductors, who bravely and steadfastly risk their lives for civilization abroad and at home. Instead, I'm thinking about who we are as a society at this somewhat advanced stage of war. It is a strange, tentative civilization we have become, with leaders who strut their promises of "no surrender" even as they flinch at identifying the foe. Four years past 9/11, we continue to shadow-box "terror," even as we go on about "an ideology of hate." It's a script that smacks of sci-fi fantasy more than realpolitik. But our grim reality is no summer blockbuster, and there's no special-effects-enhanced plot twist that is going to thwart "terror" or "hate" in the London Underground anymore than it did on the roof of the World Trade Center. Or in the Bali nightclub. Or on the first day of school in Beslan. Or in any disco, city bus or shopping mall in Israel.

A student shouts slogans during an anti-Israel protest outside the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur March 9, 2007. Hundreds of Muslim students staged a protest after Friday prayers in the Malaysian capital against Israel's excavation work near the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site. REUTERS/Zainal Abd Halim (MALAYSIA) Body bags, burn masks and prosthetics are no better protections than make-believe. But these are our weapons, according to the powers that be. These, and an array of high-tech scopes and scanners designed to identify retinas and fingerprints, to detect explosives and metals -- ultimately, I presume, as we whisk through the automatic supermarket door. How strange, though, that even as we devise new ways to see inside ourselves to our most elemental components, we also prevent ourselves from looking full-face at the danger to our way of life posed by Islam.

Notice I didn't say "Islamists." Or "Islamofascists." Or "fundamentalist extremists." I've tried out such terms in the past, but I've come to find them artificial and confusing, and maybe purposefully so, because in their imprecision I think they allow us all to give a wide berth to a great problem: the gross incompatibility of Islam -- the religious force that shrinks freedom even as it "moderately" enables or "extremistly" advances jihad -- with the West. Am I right? Who's to say? The very topic of Islamization -- for that is what is at hand, and very soon in Europe -- is verboten.

A leaked British report prepared for Prime Minister Tony Blair last year warned even against "expressions of concern about Islamic fundamentalism" (another one of those amorphous terms) because "many perfectly moderate Muslims follow strict adherence to traditional Islamic teachings and are likely to perceive such expressions as a negative comment on their own approach to their faith." Much better to watch subterranean tunnels fill with charred body parts in silence. As the London Times' Simon Jenkins wrote, "The sane response to urban terrorism is to regard it as an avoidable accident."

In not discussing the roots of terror in Islam itself, in not learning about them, the multicultural clergy that shepherds our elites prevents us from having to do anything about them. This is key, because any serious action -- stopping immigration from jihad-sponsoring nations, shutting down mosques that preach violence and expelling their imams, just for starters -- means to renounce the multicultural creed. In the West, that's the greatest apostasy. And while the penalty is not death -- as it is for leaving Islam under Islamic law -- the existential crisis is to be avoided at all costs. Including extinction.

This is the lesson of the atrocities in London. It's unlikely that the 21st century will remember that this new Western crossroads for global jihad was once the home of Churchill, Piccadilly and Sherlock Holmes. Then again, who will notice? The BBC has retroactively purged its online bombing coverage of the word "terrorist"; the spokesman for the London police commissioner has declared that "Islam and terrorism simply don't go together"; and within sight of a forensics team sifting through rubble, an Anglican priest urged his flock, as The Guardian reported, to "rejoice in the capital's rich diversity of cultures, traditions, ethnic groups and faiths." Just don't, he said, "name them as Muslims." Their faith renewed, Londoners soldier on.


Diana West is a contributing columnist for Townhall.com.

Adam Lucas: Getting It



Marcus Ginyard and Tyler Hansbrough watch the final moments of the Tarheel's 71-56 win over Boston College on Saturday.

Adam Lucas on the win over Boston College.

March 10, 2007

http://tarheelblue.cstv.com

TAMPA--Marcus Ginyard's smiles on the basketball court come in a variety of flavors.

There's the "Celebrating a big play" smile. There's the "Can't believe that was called" smile. There's the "Dewey just drained another three" smile.

"I'm having fun out there," he's explained in the past. "A lot of guys try to be all hard when they're on the court. But I'm having fun and I don't mind showing it. I don't see any reason to be different on the court than I am off of it."

Never before, though, has there been a smile like the one he flashed early in the first half of Saturday's win over Boston College.

Maybe you saw it. With about 10 minutes left in the first half, Ginyard was guarding Sean Marshall. He swiped at the ball, forced a turnover, hesitated just a second, and then sprinted off to gather the ball and deposit a layup that put the Tar Heels up 19-9.

But why was he smiling during the play? Let's turn on the audio for just a second.

With Ginyard in front of him, Marshall ripped the ball through. Carolina's defensive ace pecked at the ball.

"You're not going to get the ball," Marshall told him.

At that exact second, karma landed directly on Marshall's head. As he turned and prepared to make his next move, a split second after the words had left his lips, Ginyard did take the ball away.

"He turned his back a little bit and I poked it away," Ginyard said. "He looked at the ref for a second and I looked at the ball. It was still out there, so I went and got it and laid it up."

Ginyard is not particularly a talker on the court. But this was an occasion he could not resist. So he looked at Marshall and said the only perfect thing he could say. The only thing left to say, really:

"Hey, man, I got it."

And there you have Carolina's 71-56 ACC Tournament semifinal win in a nutshell. This was, by far, the best game the Tar Heels have played against BC since the Eagles joined the league.



Brandon Wright scores two of his 20 points.

Boston College is a team built to bruise you. Every player on their roster fits their system perfectly. They have a swagger that suggests they are well aware they're going to wear you down, that they're content to plug along until you give up. Even their offense, a tight version of the flex that is ideally run with everyone inside the paint, is built to eliminate any room to breathe.

Last year in the Smith Center, that worked. Last year in the ACC Tournament semifinals, that worked. The day's theme was right there in black and white on the Carolina scouting report:

"Soft will not even come close to working against them. If you do something soft, you will get embarrassed."

"They're a very mentally tough team," Danny Green said. "They play physical and try to get in your head. It's attack or be attacked. And I think today we attacked them and played up to their level of intensity."

Everyone wearing argyle did. Forget about Ty Lawson's 8 assists--his most impressive contribution might have been holding Tyrese Rice to 1-of-9 from the floor. A series of Tar Heels limited Jared Dudley to 7-of-18. Carolina held a mammoth 16-rebound edge.



Ty Lawson drives for a lay-up in the second half of North Carolina's semifinal win.

Thirteen of those rebounds came from Tyler Hansbrough, his third double-digit rebounding effort in the past four games. He holds the mask he's forced to wear because of a big hit in the Duke game in approximately the same regard as he holds the dance skits during Late Night: there's nothing good about them, but they're required.

"I'm not happy with the mask," he said. "I don't think I will get happy with it. It cuts my vision...If I'm not going to be able to see to shoot the ball, I have to do something to help this team. So I wanted to get every rebound."

Did you hear that? Every rebound. The Tar Heels dealt exclusively in those types of absolutes on Saturday. They defended on every possession. They boxed out on every shot. And they ran constantly.

At times, it looked like a game of red rover, with five white shirts already back on defense as five burgundy shirts walked down the court on offense. When you play for Roy Williams and you see that walking, you know exactly what it means.

"They want to try to use the clock for 35 seconds on offense," Reyshawn Terry. "And we know that with our tempo of game, by the time they've worked it on offense, they might not be aware of us pushing the ball back the other way. So we tried to take advantage of it."

So Carolina earned a slot in Sunday's title game. They earned their 27th win of the season. And they earned something that's been even tougher to find over the last couple of years--Boston College's respect.

That's why, later in the first half after Ginyard had gone out of the game, Marshall had one last thing to say. As he crossed the court and found himself in front of his nemesis, now seated on the Tar Heel bench, he had only two words left:

"Nice defense."


Adam Lucas's third book on Carolina basketball, The Best Game Ever, chronicles the 1957 national championship season and is available now. His previous books include Going Home Again, focusing on Roy Williams's return to Carolina, and Led By Their Dreams, a collaboration with Steve Kirschner and Matt Bowers on the 2005 championship team.

Thomas L. Friedman: Don’t Ask, Don’t Know, Don’t Help



Published: March 7, 2007

The New York Times

I haven’t kept count, but it seems to me that the number of times I’ve seen President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney give speeches about the Iraq war using smiling soldiers as their backdrops have been, well, countless. You’d think that an administration that has been so quick to exploit soldiers as props — whether it was to declare “Mission Accomplished” on a naval vessel or to silence critics by saying their words might endanger soldiers in battle — would have been equally quick to spare no expense in caring for those injured in the fight.

The squalid living conditions and red tape that have been inflicted on some recovering Iraq war veterans at Walter Reed hospital and elsewhere — which have been spotlighted by The Washington Post — are shocking in their detail, but not surprising. They are one more manifestation — like insufficient troops, postwar planning and armor — of a war that was really important to get right but really hard, which the Bush team thought was really important and would be really easy.

Mr. Bush summoned the country to D-Day and prepared the Army, the military health system, military industries and the American people for the invasion of Grenada.

From the start, the Bush team has tried to keep the Iraq war “off the books” both financially and emotionally. As Larry Diamond of Stanford’s Hoover Institution said to me: “America is not at war. The U.S. Army is at war.” The rest of us are just watching, or just ignoring, while the whole fight is carried on by 150,000 soldiers and their families.

In an interview last Jan. 16, Jim Lehrer asked President Bush why, if the war on terrorism was so overwhelmingly important, he had never asked more Americans “to sacrifice something.” Mr. Bush gave the most unbelievable answer: “Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night.”

Sacrifice peace of mind watching TV? What kind of crazy thing is that to say? Leadership is about enabling and inspiring people to contribute in time of war so the enemy has to fight all of us — not insulating the public so the enemy has to fight only a few of us.

If you want to compare President Bush in this regard with Presidents Roosevelt or Wilson, pick up a copy of Robert Hormats’s soon-to-be-published book: “The Price of Liberty: Paying for America’s Wars.”

“In every major war that we have fought, with the exception of Vietnam, there was an effort prior to the war or just after the inception to re-evaluate tax and spending policies and to shift resources from less vital national pursuits to the strategic objective of fighting and winning the war,” said Mr. Hormats, a vice chairman of Goldman Sachs (International). He quotes Roosevelt’s 1942 State of the Union address, when F.D.R. looked Americans in the eye and said: “War costs money. ... That means taxes and bonds and bonds and taxes. It means cutting luxuries and other nonessentials. In a word, it means an ‘all-out’ war by individual effort and family effort in a united country.”

Ever heard Mr. Bush talk that way? After Pearl Harbor, Mr. Hormats noted, Roosevelt vowed to mobilize U.S. industry to produce enough weapons so we would have a “crushing superiority” in arms over our enemies. Four years after the start of the Iraq war, this administration has still not equipped all our soldiers with the armor they need.

As retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton pointed out, last year, because of spending in Iraq, the Army had a $530 million budget shortfall for posts, so facilities got squeezed. If Americans had been asked to pay a small tax to fill that gap, they would have overwhelmingly checked that box. They would have also paid a “Patriot Tax” of 50 cents a gallon to raise the money and diminish our dependence on oil. But no one asked them to do anything other than “sacrifice peace of mind.”

If you want to help and don’t want to wait for the White House bugle, here are some places to start:

(1) Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (www.saluteheroes.org), (2) the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (www.fallenheroesfund.org), (3) the Fisher Houses (www.fisherhouse.org) and (4) the Walter Reed Society (www.walterreedsociety.org). And one I know personally from my hometown, Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund (www.thankmntroops.org).

We can get just about everything wrong in Iraq, and pretty much have, but we’ve got to take first-class care of those who’ve carried the burden of this war. It’s that simple.

Joseph Rago: Free Radical


Aayan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali infuriates Muslims and discomfits liberals.

The Wall Street Journal

Saturday, March 10, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

NEW YORK--Ayaan Hirsi Ali is untrammeled and unrepentant: "I am supposed to apologize for saying the prophet is a pervert and a tyrant," she declares. "But that is apologizing for the truth."

Statements such as these have brought Ms. Hirsi Ali to world-wide attention. Though she recently left her adopted country, Holland--where her friend and intellectual collaborator Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim extremist in 2004--she is still accompanied by armed guards wherever she travels.

Ms. Hirsi Ali was born in 1969 in Mogadishu--into, as she puts it, "the Islamic civilization, as far as you can call it a civilization." In 1992, at age 22, her family gave her hand to a distant relative; had the marriage ensued, she says, it would have been "an arranged rape." But as she was shipped to the appointment via Europe, she fled, obtaining asylum in Holland. There, "through observation, through experience, through reading," she acquainted herself with a different world. "The culture that I came to and I live in now is not perfect," Ms. Hirsi Ali says. "But this culture, the West, the product of the Enlightenment, is the best humanity has ever achieved."

Unease over Muslim immigration had been rising in the Low Countries for some time. For instance, when the gay right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn--"I am in favor of a cold war with Islam," he said, and believed the borders should be closed to Muslims--was gunned down in 2002, it was widely assumed his killer was an Islamist. There was a strange sense of relief when he turned out to be a mere animal-rights activist. Ms. Hirsi Ali brought integration issues to further attention, exposing domestic abuse and even honor killings in the Dutch-Muslim "dish cities."

In 2003, she won a seat in the parliament as a member of the center-right VVD Party, for People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. The next year, she wrote the script for a short film called "Submission." It investigated passages from the Quran that Ms. Hirsi Ali contends authorize violence against women, and did so by projecting those passages onto naked female bodies. In retrospect, she deeply regrets the outcome: "I don't think the film was worth the human life."

The life in question was that of Van Gogh, a prominent controversialist and the film's director. At the end of 2004, an Islamist named Mohammed Buyeri shot him as he was bicycling to work in downtown Amsterdam, then almost decapitated him with a curved sword. He left a manifesto impaled to the body: "I know for sure that you, Oh Hirsi Ali, will go down," was its incantation. "I know for sure that you, Oh unbelieving fundamentalist, will go down."

The shock was palpable. Holland--which has the second largest per capita population of Muslims in the EU, after France--had always prided itself on its pluralism, in which all groups would be tolerated but not integrated. The killing made clear just how apart its groups were. "Immediately after the murder," Ms. Hirsi Ali says, "we learned Theo's killer had access to education, he had learned the language, he had taken welfare. He made it very clear he knew what democracy meant, he knew what liberalism was, and he consciously rejected it. . . . He said, 'I have an alternative framework. It's Islam. It's the Quran.' "

At his sentencing, Mohammed Buyeri said he would have killed his own brother, had he made "Submission" or otherwise insulted the One True Faith. "And why?" Ms. Hirsi Ali asks. "Because he said his god ordered him to do it. . . . We need to see," she continues, "that this isn't something that's caused by special offense, the right, Jews, poverty. It's religion."


**********


Ms. Hirsi Ali was forced into living underground; a hard-line VVD minister named Rita Verdonk, cracking down on immigration, canceled her citizenship for misstatements made on her asylum application--which Ms. Hirsi Ali had admitted years before and justified as a means to win quicker admission at a time of great personal vulnerability. The resulting controversy led to the collapse of Holland's coalition government. Ms. Hirsi Ali has since decamped for America--in effect a political refugee from Western Europe--to take up a position with the American Enterprise Institute. But the crisis, she says, is "still simmering underneath and it might erupt--somewhere, anywhere."

That partly explains why Ms. Hirsi Ali's new autobiography, "Infidel," is already a best seller. It may also have something to do with the way she scrambles our expectations. In person, she is modest, graceful, enthralling. Intellectually, she is fierce, even predatory: "We know exactly what it is about but we don't have the guts to say it out loud," she says. "We are too weak to take up our role. The West is falling apart. The open society is coming undone."

Many liberals loathe her for disrupting an imagined "diversity" consensus: It is absurd, she argues, to pretend that cultures are all equal, or all equally desirable. But conservatives, and others, might be reasonably unnerved by her dim view of religion. She does not believe that Islam has been "hijacked" by fanatics, but that fanaticism is intrinsic in Islam itself: "Islam, even Islam in its nonviolent form, is dangerous."

The Muslim faith has many variations, but Ms. Hirsi Ali contends that the unities are of greater significance. "Islam has a very consistent doctrine," she says, "and I define Islam as I was taught to define it: submission to the will of Allah. His will is written in the Quran, and in the hadith and Sunna. What we are all taught is that when you want to make a distinction between right and wrong, you follow the prophet. Muhammad is the model guide for every Muslim through time, throughout history."

This supposition justifies, in her view, a withering critique of Islam's most holy human messenger. "You start by scrutinizing the morality of the prophet," and then ask: "Are you prepared to follow the morality of the prophet in a society such as this one?" She draws a connection between Mohammed's taking of child brides and modern sexual oppressions--what she calls "this imprisonment of women." She decries the murder of adulteresses and rape victims, the wearing of the veil, arranged marriages, domestic violence, genital mutilation and other contraventions of "the most basic freedoms."

These sufferings, she maintains, are traceable to theological imperatives. "People say it is a bad strategy," Ms. Hirsi Ali says forcefully. "I think it is the best strategy. . . . Muslims must choose to follow their rational capacities as humans and to follow reason instead of Quranic commands. At that point Islam will be reformed."

This worldview has led certain critics to dismiss Ms. Hirsi Ali as a secular extremist. "I have my ideas and my views," she says, "and I want to argue them. It is our obligation to look at things critically." As to the charges that she is an "Enlightenment fundamentalist," she points out, rightly, that people who live in democratic societies are not supposed to settle their disagreements by killing one another.

And yet contemporary democracies, she says, accommodate the incitement of such behavior: "The multiculturalism theology, like all theologies, is cruel, is wrongheaded, and is unarguable because it is an utter dogmatism. . . . Minorities are exempted from the obligations of the rest of society, so they don't improve. . . . With this theory you limit them, you freeze their culture, you keep them in place."

The most grievous failing of the West is self-congratulatory passivity: We face "an external enemy that to a degree has become an internal enemy, that has infiltrated the system and wants to destroy it." She believes a more drastic reaction is required: "It's easy," she says, "to weigh liberties against the damage that can be done to society and decide to deny liberties. As it should be. A free society should be prepared to recognize the patterns in front of it, and do something about them."

She says the West must begin to think long term about its relationship with Islam--because the Islamists are. Ms. Hirsi Ali notes Muslim birth rates are vastly outstripping those elsewhere (particularly in Western Europe) and believes this is a conscious attempt to extend the faith. Muslims, she says, treat women as "these baby-machines, these son-factories. . . . We need to compete with this," she goes on. "It is a totalitarian method. The Nazis tried it using women as incubators, literally to give birth to soldiers. Islam is now doing it. . . . It is a very effective and very frightening way of dealing with human beings."


**********


All of this is profoundly politically incorrect. But for this remarkable woman, ideas are not abstractions. She forces us back to first principles, and she punctures complacencies. These ought to be seen as virtues, even by those who find some of Ms. Hirsi Ali's ideas disturbing or objectionable. Society, after all, sometimes needs to be roused from its slumbers by agitators who go too far so that others will go far enough.

Mr. Rago is an editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Srdja Trifkovic: Dinesh the Charlatan

Srdja Trifkovic

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org


On Monday, March 5, Dinesh D’Souza, a Hoover Institution fellow and writer, and I had a lively debate on WDAY’s Hot Talk with Scott Hennen, following our recent vigorous exchanges in print and on the Web on the nature of Islam. Faced with D’Souza’s delusional ignorance and arrogance in the first five minutes of our debate, I concluded that his knowledge of Islam was tenuous—his claim that he has spent four years studying it notwithstanding.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hence the key segment of our exchange, transcribed verbatim from the recording of the show:

TRIFKOVIC: Have you actually read the Kuran? Have you ever actually read the Kuran?

D’SOUZA: Of course I have.

TRIFKOVIC: Do you know how are the Suras arranged?

D’SOUZA: They are . . . er . . . they are not arranged in any chronological order . . . er . . . [pause] and . . . er . . . [pause] and so I quote in my book both the violent and . . .

TRIFKOVIC: Just tell me how ARE they arranged.

D’SOUZA: The other point . . .

TRIFKOVIC: Can you just tell me how are the Suras arranged?

D’SOUZA: . . . right. You can’t just call . . .

TRIFKOVIC: Why don’t you just tell me how are the Suras arranged?

HENNEN: OK, one at a time here; your question for Dinesh, Serge, is?

TRIFKOVIC: In what order are the Suras arranged in the Kuran?

D’SOUZA: [long silence] . . . I really don’t know what you mean by that. When you say “in what order” then . . . err . . . [pause] there . . .

TRIFKOVIC: [ . . . ] They happen to be arranged by size, from short to long! [sic!]

D’SOUZA: [without interruption] And when did Iran . . .

By continuing blithely with his “points,” rather than correcting my assertion, Dinesh D’Souza merely confirmed urbi et orbi what had been established beyond reasonable doubt in the course of our exchange: that he has not read the Kuran and that he may never have had one in his hands.

As it happens, the eccentric arrangement of the Muslim holy book—from those endlessly long and often boring Medinan Suras like Al-Baqarah with almost 300 verses, or Al-’Imran with 200, to the shorter and more interesting Meccan ones—is the Kuran’s most salient feature. It is its one feature that is bound to be noticed and remembered by any modestly observant and not necessarily astute layman.

That this key feature of the book is unknown to an author who claims to have spent four years studying it is indicative either of his tenuous hold on reality, or of his excessively creative imagination. Either way, the gall necessary for such a person to aspire to authoritative statements on Islam defies belief. Grotesque images spring to mind: Groucho spewing pronunciamientos on Dostoyevsky, Yogi Berra on quantum physics, Maya Angelou on poetry . . . The story would be farcical, were it not for the seriousness of the subject.

D’Souza’s particular statement in our debate that prompted my impromptu Kuran 101 test is worth quoting in extenso:

We can’t win the War on Terror without driving a wedge between the radical Muslims and the traditional Muslims . . . There are many Muslims who are very different from the stereotypical Muslim that Serge and [Robert] Spencer feature in their work. My point is simply this: ultimately I think that we have to draw traditional Muslims away from radical Islam, because the radical Muslims are fishing in the pool of traditional Islam. So for this reason I think that these attacks on Islam—the Koran is a gospel of violence, Mohammed is the inventor of terrorism—they are not just tactically foolish, they are historically wrong because Islam has been around for thirteen hundred years, Islam radicalism was invented in the 1920s, and came to power in 1979. How can we blame the Prophet Mohammad for things that Khomeini and Bin Laden are saying, that are very new. Historian Bernard Lewis points out that radical Islam is a radical break with traditional Islam. Never before have Muslim mullahs, or clergymen, ever ruled a Muslim country. All Muslim countries have been ruled by non-clergymen until Khomeini. So I think the flaw we see in this work and in the Islamophobic literature is that it tries to link the early centuries of Islam. It cherry-picks the Koran and finds all the violent passages, leaves out all the peaceful passages, and then basically concedes to Bin Laden that he is the true Muslim, that his reading of the Koran is correct, and it pushes the traditional Muslims towards the radical camp by denouncing their religion. Then we complain all these traditional Muslims [indistinct] . . . by denouncing Islam itself.

The claim that analyzing and exposing those aspects of orthodox Islamic teaching that prompt bloodshed will drive “traditional” Muslims into the radical camp is the exact moral and logical equivalent of the claim often advanced during the Cold War by Moscow’s apologists and fellow-travelers that a vigorous and principled stand by the West in defense of the Free World would be detrimental to the “moderates” in the Kremlin and play right into the hands of the “hard-liners.” Aside from the logical absurdity of this line of reasoning, it is also hypocritical: D’Souza’s latest book does not allow for any possibility of a cleverly driven conservative wedge between the “traditional” Left and its self-hating, post-modern mutant offspring.

In his book and in our debate D’Souza made a clear point (however objectionable) that Spencer and I must stop writing as we do, and that “conservatives have to cease blaming Islam for the behavior of the radical Muslims.” Such demands, coupled with D’Souza’s embrace of the classic leftist slogan of “Islamophobia,” go way beyond mere disagreement; yet he dismisses as “paranoid” anyone who sees this as a call for us to be silenced, or to be silent.

“How can we blame the Prophet Mohammad for things that Khomeini and Bin Laden are saying,” asks D’Souza, casually adopting a pious Muslim’s designation of Islam’s finder. On this crucial issue of Islam’s core teaching, Robert Spencer responded by noting that both Khomeini and bin Laden invoked Muhammad to justify their positions: D’Souza’s “traditional Muslims,” as he himself acknowledges, have no theological differences with the jihadists, and clearly they have mounted no large-scale or effective response to the jihadists:

So we are supposed to ignore the fact that the jihadists use Muhammad, instead of calling upon those “traditional Muslims” to formulate some effective counter to this use—whether by rejecting the literal meaning of Muhammad’s words in some cases, or by some other means? Here again D’Souza continues to repeat points that have no substance, all the while robotically invoking Lewis like the homo unius libri that Hugh Fitzgerald pointed out that he is. One would think an established conservative such as D’Souza would recognize that sometimes the conventional wisdom on a given topic is incorrect, and that the truth can be found among those who are despised and vilified by the lemmings of the mainstream.

When D’Souza asserts that “all Muslim countries have been ruled by non-clergymen until Khomeini,” continues Spencer, he is suggesting that some form of separation of Mosque and State is dominant in Islamic history, when just the opposite is the case: Islam does not accept any separation of the sacred and the secular realms: “Here again, it is hard to escape the impression that D’Souza either doesn’t know the facts of Islamic history and law, or actually wishes to give his audience a false impression.”

For a more lighthearted comment on the affair let us end with Hugh Fitzgerald on JihadWatch, who says that from now on “anyone debating Dinesh D’Souza should be sure to do exactly as Serge Trifkovic did”: simply ask D’Souza a question or two about the most obvious and elementary of matters. In his view, D’Souza now has three choices: 1. Be shown up for an ignoramus; 2. Be forced to study Islam, and perhaps modify his views in the process; or 3. Never appear where anyone can debate him about his knowledge of Islam:

I think Dinesh D’Souza will choose #3. #1 is something he obscurely realizes he is, but like the mountebank hawking his wares at the County Fair, he has assumed that no one will call him on his hollow claims. But he can no longer assume that. #2 requires work. It requires study. It requires thought. [ . . . ] #3 it will be. No more debates, for Dinesh D’Souza, with anyone at all. But what if—for him, a hellish What If—some of those interviewing him started to bone up on Islam, and asked him questions? What if on Talk Shows there were callers who would call up pretending that they were about to ask one thing, and then suddenly asked D’Souza one or more of those questions, the ones he cannot answer, to what should be his own great shame and chagrin? Then where would he be?

And the same can be done at those appearances he solicits for “Corporate Audiences” and “University Audiences,” Fitzgerald continues, as it is perfectly legitimate—it is hardly harassment—to simply ask him a few questions to see what this self-minted and self-described “expert on Islam” knows about the isnad-chain, or the work the muhaddithin, or “naskh,” or “fiqh,” or “tafsir, “ or “jihad,” or “dhimmi,” or “Ahl al-dhimma”:

And say, just what did happen at the Khaybar Oasis? And who was Asma bint Marwan? And who was little Aisha, and of what contemporary relevance is her story? And who can issue a fatwa, and what is the difference between a fatwa and a rukh? And what is the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya, and why does it matter? And who was Abu Bakr? Ali? Hussein? And what does the phrase “al-masjid al-aksa” mean, and who decided what that phrase must refer to?

But Fitzgerald has faith that no matter how hard Dinesh D’Souza starts studying now, he simply won’t be able to figure it all out—not given the list of his authorities, and certainly not given his mental faculties on display at the best source of information about Dinesh D’Souza: his own website, where the copy is written by—Dinesh D’Souza. Don’t miss it.

Srdja Trifkovic is the foreign-affairs editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and director of The Rockford Institute's Center for International Affairs.

Film Review: "300"




On the field of this battle, war is swell

With lots of gory effects, '300' is a faint-by-numbers tale

BY GENE SEYMOUR
Newsday
gene.seymour@newsday.com

March 9, 2007

One hears of allegedly serious minds grappling over what the "politics" of "300" are. Bloggers, pundits and others with too much time on their hands have spent the weeks leading to the opening of this revved-up and outlandish retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae arguing over which present-day parallel best fits the ancient combatants.

For the moment, we'll bite: Are the 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), correlatives for freedom-loving Americans holding the line against Middle East terror as personified here by the massive Persian army? Or are the nation-gobbling Persians, led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), analogous to what some believe to be imperialistic Americans?

If "300" carried any intellectual heft (if, in other words, it was scrupulous with historic details), one could see the point of thrashing these provocative notions to their metaphoric nubs. But this movie in no way pretends to be a replication of historical events. It is, instead, a willed hallucination of ancient history goosed with mutant warriors, rhinos outfitted like Sherman tanks and a King Xerxes who's dolled up with enough glittering threads and glossy makeup to make every David Bowie wanna-be from the mid-1970s chew his knuckles in fuming envy.

Put bluntly, the movie's just too darned silly to withstand any ideological theorizing. And "silly" is invoked here, more or less, with affection.

This unapologetically gory ripsnorter is adapted with what looks to be obsessive faithfulness from a graphic novel by Frank Miller, whose "Sin City" was, like "300," transformed into a blood-caked movie with live actors, digitally enhanced backdrops and ornate visual effects.

Directed by Zach Snyder, who surprised moviegoers three years ago with his witty, energetic remake of "Dawn of the Dead," "300" has tons of energy, if precious little wit. Even a layer of self-mocking irony would be a welcome counterpoint to the head-pounding din of war whoops, screams of agony, slashing metal and declamatory growls. It's thick on many levels, but it never feels too heavy.



A wounded Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler roars his defiance at the Persian invaders in Warner Bros. Pictures' action drama, '300'.

The visual pacing and flourishes are reminiscent of "The Matrix." But they also seem intended to mimic the sensation of reading a graphic novel. As a Spartan warrior, for instance, is about to hurl his spear at one of the faceless marauders, he is frozen in space to allow a viewer to absorb the sleek, grimy, muscular image the way kids linger on a comic-book picture of Spider-Man throwing a haymaker. However one feels about such tactics, one can't deny that Snyder and others behind "300" know who they're making this movie for.

The acting ... well, that's hard to assess in a movie where every other line, even from the women, offers some variation of "Prepare for glory!" and "Spartans never surrender, never retreat!" Such blowhard riffing owes more to the heavy-metal songs than to dramatic texts - and that's likely how it's intended to come across. With that said, everybody shouts out and riffs with appropriate enthusiasm, even if they had to say their lines in front of blank backgrounds.

Thomas Sowell: Meatgrinder politics


Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald arrives at federal court for the perjury trial of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, former chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, in Washington February 20, 2007. Attorneys are due to make their closing arguments in the perjury case against Libby on Tuesday.


Friday, March 9, 2007

If you wanted a textbook example of what is wrong about appointing a special prosecutor, the prosecution of White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby is a classic. Let's go back to square one to see how this sorry chapter in criminal law unfolded.

The charge that was trumpeted through the media was that the Bush administration had leaked the fact that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. in retaliation against him for saying that Saddam Hussein was not seeking uranium in Niger, contrary to intelligence reports cited as one of the reasons for invading Iraq.

Since there is a law against revealing the identity of a C.I.A. agent, a great hue and cry went up for a special prosecutor to find and prosecute whoever leaked that information.

Some in the media gleefully anticipated seeing White House adviser Karl Rove, or perhaps even Vice President Dick Cheney, being frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs.

Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed a special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, to investigate these charges.

Here is where the story takes a strange and disturbing twist. Today we know what we did not know when it happened -- namely, that Fitzgerald discovered early on that the leaker was not any of the White House officials on whom suspicion was focussed.

It was Richard Armitage in the State Department. Moreover, Joe Wilson's wife had a desk job at the C.I.A. and revealing that fact was not a violation of the criminal law.

In other words, there was no crime to prosecute and there was no mystery to solve as to who had leaked Wilson's wife's name to columnist Robert Novak.

At this point, a regular prosecutor would have decided that he had other things to do than to pursue an investigation of a non-mystery about a non-crime. But special prosecutors are different.

Patrick Fitzgerald insisted on keeping the investigation going for three years -- and keeping secret the fact that there was no crime involved and no mystery about who leaked.

In the course of this pointless investigation, it turned out that some of Scooter Libby's statements conflicted with the statements of some reporters. So Libby was prosecuted for perjury and obstruction of justice -- and a Washington jury convicted him.

Not only did Libby's recollections differ from that of some reporters, some of those reporters differed among themselves as to what had been said and some differed in their later testimony from what they had said in their earlier testimony.

The information about Joe Wilson's wife was so incidental and trivial at the time that it is hardly surprising that it was not fixed in people's minds as something memorable. Only later hype in the media made it look big.

With Libby handling heavy duties in the White House, there is no reason for his memory to be expected to be better than that of others about something like this -- much less to convict him of perjury.

As for the pay-back conspiracy theory of a Bush administration-inspired leak because of Wilson's opposition to the Iraq war, Richard Armitage was not an Iraq war hawk and columnist Robert Novak opposed the war. They had no reason to discredit Wilson.

Even the term "leak" is misleading. In the course of a discussion, Novak simply asked Armitage why someone with no expertise like Joe Wilson had been sent to Niger in the first place -- and Armitage's answer was that he was sent at the suggestion of his wife, who worked at the C.I.A.

Novak's column was not about that fact but mentioned it in passing. From this the liberal media went ballistic with conspiracy theories that we now know were totally false.

A man's life has been ruined because his memories differed from that of others -- whose memories also differed among themselves -- and media liberals are exulting as if their conspiracy theories had been vindicated.

More important, how are we to expect highly qualified people, with far better options than a government job, to risk being put through the Washington meatgrinder because of politics, media hype and special prosecutors who can create crimes in the course of an investigation, when there was none to begin with?


Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy.

Phyllis Chesler: An Islamic Enlightenment



http://www.FrontPageMag.com

March 9, 2007

Is Islam the problem, or can it be part of the solution? Can Islam be reformed from within, or is Muslim violence and hatred due entirely to the teachings and history of the Qur'an? These were some of the major issues raised at the Secular Islam Summit in St Petersburg, Florida, this week.

A landmark event, the summit brought together such brave and eloquent defenders of freedom and conscience as the scholar Ibn Warraq (his nom de guerre); Iranian exile and activist Banafasheh Zand-Bonazzi; Austin Dacy of the Center for Inquiry; as well as many other Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents.

Most were incredible orators, some were entertainers, others were deep and mournful thinkers. They included:

* Egyptian-born Dr. Tawfik Hamid, who was once a "colleague" of Osama bin Laden's second in command, Al-Zawahiri.

* The Gandhi-like Dr. Shahriar Kabir, Bangladesh's leading human rights activist.

* Tashbih Sayeed, Pakistan's foremost opponent of radical Islam, a man of few, but fiery words.

* Dr. Afshin Ellian, an Iranian professor in exile in Holland, a close friend of Aayan Hirsi Ali, and a man of genial wit and wide-ranging knowledge.

* Egyptian-Palestinian-American author, Nonie Darwish, a warm but absolutely uncompromising thinker and speaker.

* Syrian-American psychiatrist, Wafa Sultan, the woman who became instantly famous for her debate on Al-Jazeera TV. A small, trim woman, she is a towering speaker, theatrically thrilling and passionate.

Indeed, there were so many excellent speakers that I cannot do them all justice here. For now, let me focus on only two. The opening speeches were delivered by Ibn Warraq, a consummate intellectual and committed secularist, and Irshad Manji, the best-selling author and a onetime master of the spunky sound bite who is now a bit more moderate and modest in tone.

Ibn Warraq spoke of the dangers that Muslims in the Islamic world face for speaking the truth about Islam, including prison, torture, exile and death. Proving his point was the fact that a number of invitees to the summit from Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia did not attend after receiving one too many death threats or after being told that their families would be targeted if they chose to attend. Most writers have been stopped in their tracks by such Muslim-on-Muslim repression.

Warraq explained that he wants an Islamic "Enlightenment," a la John Stuart Mill, rather than a "Reformation," which he considers mere tinkering. He believes that Western values are universal, although he felt that most human rights initiatives within the West, including the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, are "hopeless" and will not push sovereign Muslim tyrannies toward reform. He mourned the fact that the West continues to "apologize for colonialism and racism" and that Turkey still "refuses to acknowledge the Armenian genocide."

A running theme of Ibn Warraq’s remarks was the unjust treatment of Muslims in Islamic countries. For instance, he insisted that "protecting non-Muslims in Muslim societies" is crucial and can "lead to pluralism and tolerance for Muslims as well." He called for a "legal recourse" within the Islamic world for the widespread denial of freedom of speech. He "demanded the re-writing of anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish text-books, especially in Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” adding that he considers such hatred "scandalous." Warraq also implored "women's groups in the West to defend Muslim women" under siege.

In this connection, he assailed the "inconsistency and hypocrisy of the "western multi-culturalists, including feminists" and stated that the "law of the western secular state must override religious law when religious law denies basic human rights." Some European police -- he mentioned Sweden in particular -- still return the victims of family violence to the families that will kill them. In his view, the "rights of women are central to Islamic reform.” Warraq summed up his views on reform with the following credo: "No to female genital mutilation; no to forced and polygamous marriage; no to gender separatism."

Irshad Manji spoke next. She began with the wise observation that "courage is not the absence of fear but the recognition that some things are more important than fear." Manji, whose entourage included a young woman in hijab, described herself as a "person of faith but not a dogmatist." Manji found support for her moderation in a quote from the Qur'an, which "tells us to oppose your family" when the truth or true inner struggle is at stake. She pointed out that the "Qur'an says nothing about the proper form of government," which suggests that Islam should remain a private faith, not a political movement or a government.



In Manji’s opinion, "this silence is deliberate and gives us room to experiment with a different form of government." Calling for "Muslim pluralism,” Manji decried theocratic governments. In this regard, Manji commented that someone "should tell President Bush that he should not have empowered the theocrats in Iraq."

Manji proved an equal opportunity critic. She castigated "missionary atheists" who are so "angry that they resemble religious fundamentalists." At the same time, she criticized those Muslims who are so "submissive to authority that they cannot stand up to (unjust or tyrannical) authority." Agreeing with Ibn Warraq about the universal nature of human rights, she condemned the popular view that we are "not supposed to criticize another culture" if we are not part of it.

Manji shared Warraq's view that "more Muslims have been raped, tortured and murdered by other Muslims than by westerners." Moreover, she suggested that those in the Islamic world who make this argument have not considered its full implications. How can we "criticize the military culture in Guantanamo if we are ourselves are not military personnel? And, how can Muslims criticize American foreign policy if they are not American citizens?"

Finally, she made a point that I have made many times -- and which has gotten me demonized as a “racist” -- namely, that so-called western "anti-racists" are really acting as "racists" when they hold Muslims to lower standards out of some misguided notion of respect.

There was much more on offer at the summit. Other subjects of discussion included the war between Sunni and Shiia Muslims; the nature of jihad; and the Islamic Caliphate. It is worth noting that the tenor of the week was very different from what many have come to expect from conferences on Islam. Nearly every single speaker spoke up for Israel and for Jews, pointing out that both have been terribly abused by the Islamic world, as has the West in general. The conference also presented a declaration in English, Arabic, Bengali and Persian. which may be viewed in English at http://www.secularislam.org.

One might think that the western media would have flocked to the summit in droves. It’s not every day, after all, that Muslim reformers and dissidents gather for a forthright discussion about the troubles of Islam and the Islamic world. Such was not the case. Both the Associated Press and NPR promised to come but did not show.

To be sure, there were some notable exceptions to the media blackout -- CNN's Glenn Beck devoted an entire hour to interviews with conference speakers; Bret Stephens covered it for the Wall Street Journal as did Jay Tolson for U.S. News and World Report and Christina Hoff-Sommers for The Weekly Standard -- but the various papers of record in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles were, to the best of my knowledge, missing in action.

Curiously, both al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya, not previously known for their support of Islamic reform, covered the conference, which aired live and in Arabic. It is an unhappy irony that these noble dissidents should face ostracism and grave danger in Muslim lands and only to be similarly ignored by the Western intelligentsia and media.

Nonetheless, the summit was a remarkable success. As a participant, I was privileged to stand in solidarity with these dissidents. They are our best hope in the fight to win hearts and minds.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) and The New Anti-Semitism (2003). She has just published The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan), as well as an updated and revised edition of Women and Madness. She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1974). She is currently on the Board of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and lives in New York City. Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

With Pettitte Pitching, Clemens Pays Yanks a Visit


Andy Pettitte, who threw three innings Wednesday, said he thought Roger Clemens would pitch this season.

Tyler Kepner
March 8, 2007
The New York Times

TAMPA, Fla., March 7 — The elevator carrying Roger Clemens stopped on the third floor at Legends Field on Wednesday night. People were waiting for him in the YES broadcast booth. But instead of turning right and heading there, Clemens veered left. There was someone he wanted to see: the Yankees’ principal owner, George Steinbrenner.

No pitcher alive has as many victories as Clemens, who has 348 and just might pitch again this season. Clemens remains undecided about his future, and he was visiting a man who could pay him millions to return. The meeting lasted only a few minutes, and Clemens did not say what Steinbrenner told him.

“I’ll pass on that one,” said Clemens, who was with his son Koby. “It was just good to see him — great to see him. I’m glad he got to see my son a few years later. But, definitely, I’m here and I wanted to make sure I got a chance to say hello to him.”

For the first three and a half innings of the Yankees’ 1-1 tie with the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, Clemens watched from the front row of a corner box beside the Yankees’ dugout, with Koby to his left. Joe Torre and the Yankees’ coaches sat on folding chairs on the field, right in front of him.

“I’m a fan and a friend tonight,” Clemens said, before he settled in to watch the left-hander Andy Pettitte work three innings and closer Mariano Rivera work one.

“I’m going to watch the big left-hander throw. It was pretty cool, coming down here. Koby was just in the back seat reminiscing about how cool it was to come through here. He’s got great memories here.”

So does Clemens, who joined the Yankees in a trade from Toronto in 1999 and pitched in four World Series in five seasons. He joined Pettitte with Houston in 2004, helped lead the Astros to the 2005 World Series, and came out of retirement to make 19 starts for the Astros last year.

Clemens, who turns 45 in August, reiterated that he would not decide on his future before May. Lately, he has been throwing to minor leaguers at the Astros’ training camp in Kissimmee. Koby Clemens, 20, is a third baseman in the Astros’ system.

“I feel good, but I’m not to the point where I need to be to be competitive and get the job done, as far as I’m concerned,” Clemens said.

“I can only tell you the encouraging words I get from teammates and different guys I’ve had dinners with and stuff since I’ve been down here are great, and it sounds appealing, and then three days later I’ll be at home by myself and I’ll say there’s no way I can get myself going and doing this again.”



Roger Clemens, right, got a hug from Joe Torre and had a chat with George Steinbrenner Wednesday night when he stopped by Legends Field to watch a game.

Clemens has said that if he continues to pitch, he would do so with the Astros, the Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, his team from 1984 through 1996. The Yankees would gladly welcome him back, and would be determined not to let another team outbid them.

Clemens would have divided loyalties. His memories of the Red Sox seem to grow fonder with time, and he is tied with Cy Young for the franchise record in victories and shutouts. He has obvious ties to his hometown Astros and has mentored Roy Oswalt in the same way he mentored Pettitte as a Yankee.

Before attending the Yankees’ game at night, Clemens watched Oswalt pitch in the afternoon. At Legends, he sat in the seat closest to the dugout and leaned in between innings to chat with the Yankees Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson.

Pettitte, who has golfed with Clemens this spring, said he still believed Clemens would come out of retirement and pitch somewhere this season.

“When it comes down to it, that’s my guess,” Pettitte said. “Because I know he’s still working, he’s keeping himself in good shape. I think when it comes time, he’ll probably get the itch if he feels he can.”

Clemens said he was in better shape at this point last season, because he was preparing for the World Baseball Classic. He felt strong, he said, but it was all relative for now.

“The arm feels good, the body feels good,” Clemens said. “I haven’t had to walk off the mound yet, thank God, throwing to the minor leaguers.”

Clemens said he thought Pettitte “looked great,” and he was glad Pettitte avoided injury when a broken bat clipped his left ring finger in the first inning. Pettitte, who worked three shutout innings, said the finger bled a little and felt numb.

“I knew eventually it would stop throbbing if I stayed out there,” he said. “I didn’t want to come out after five or six pitches. I just kept telling them I was good. But I’m not going to do anything stupid.”

INSIDE PITCH

Right fielder Bobby Abreu, who has been idle almost two weeks with a strained oblique muscle, will begin taking swings this weekend. “I don’t feel any pain right now,” said Abreu, adding that he expected to be ready for opening day. ... Manager Joe Torre said Jason Giambi would play first base Thursday against the Atlanta Braves. Giambi will play mostly designated hitter this season, but Torre said he wanted to keep his options open. “It’ll be fun to get out there and let the Big G loose,” Giambi said.

Robert Novak: The Lost Scandal


Former White House aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, center, accompanied by his attorneys Theodore B. Wells, right, and William Jeffress, Jr. leave federal court in Washington, Tuesday, March 6, 2007, after the jury reached its verdict.

March 08, 2007

Chicago Sun-Times

WASHINGTON -- Denis Collins, a Washington journalist on the Scooter Libby jury, described sentiments in the jury room reflecting those in the Senate Democratic cloakroom: "It was said a number of times. . . . Where's Rove? Where are these other guys?" Besides presidential adviser Karl Rove, he surely meant Vice President Dick Cheney and maybe President Bush. Oddly, the jurors appeared uninterested in hearing from Richard Armitage, the source of the CIA leak.

"It's about time," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, rejoicing in guilty verdicts against Scooter Libby, "someone in the Bush administration has been held accountable for the campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics." But Libby was found guilty only of lying about how he learned Valerie Plame's identity. Reid and Democratic colleagues were after much bigger game than Cheney's chief of staff.

Democrats had been slow reacting to my column of July 14, 2003, that reported former diplomat Joseph Wilson's mission to Niger was suggested by his CIA employee wife, Valerie Plame. By September, when the Justice Department began investigating the CIA leak, Democrats smelled another Iran-Contra or Watergate. They were wrong.

The Libby trial uncovered no plot hatched in the White House. The worst news Tuesday for firebrand Democrats was that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald was going back to his "day job" (as U.S. attorney in Chicago). With no underlying crime even claimed, the only question was whether Libby had consciously and purposefully lied to FBI agents and the grand jury about how he learned of Mrs. Wilson's identity.

While my column on Wilson's mission triggered Libby's misery, I played but a minor role in his trial. Subpoenaed by his defense team, I testified that I had phoned him in reporting the Wilson column and that he had said nothing about Wilson's wife. Other journalists said the same thing under oath, but we apparently made no impression on the jury.

The trial provided no information whatever about Valerie Plame's status at the CIA at the time I revealed her role in her husband's mission. No hard evidence was produced that Libby ever was told she was undercover. Fitzgerald had argued that whether or not she was covert was not material to this trial, and Federal District Judge Reggie B. Walton had so ruled. Yet, in his closing arguments, Fitzgerald referred to Mrs. Wilson's secret status, and in answer to a reporter's question after the verdict, he said she was "classified."

In fact, her being classified -- that is, that her work was a government secret -- did not in itself meet the standard required for prosecution of the leaker (former Deputy Secretary of State Armitage) under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. That statute limits prosecution to exposers of covert intelligence activities overseas, whose revelation would undermine U.S. intelligence. That is why Fitzgerald did not move against Armitage.

Some questions asked me in television and radio interviews after the verdict implied that I revealed Armitage's name to Fitzgerald. Actually, in my first interview with Fitzgerald after he had been named special prosecutor, he indicated he knew Armitage was my leaker. I assumed that was the product of detective work by the FBI. In fact, Armitage had turned himself in to the Justice Department three months before Fitzgerald entered the case, without notifying the White House or releasing me from my requirement of confidentiality.

On Fox's "Hannity & Colmes" Tuesday night, super-lawyer David Boies said Fitzgerald never should have prosecuted Libby because there was no underlying criminal violation. Boies scoffed at Fitzgerald's contention that Libby had obstructed him from exposing criminal activity. Boies, who represented Al Gore in the 2000 election dispute, is hardly a Bush sympathizer. But neither is he a Democratic partisan trying to milk this obscure scandal.

George W. Bush lost control of this issue when he permitted a special prosecutor to make decisions that, unlike going after a drug dealer or mafia kingpin, turned out to be inherently political. It would have taken courage for the president to have aborted this process. It would require even more courage for him to pardon Scooter Libby now, not while he is walking out of the White House in January 2009.

Book Review:"My Year Inside Radical Islam"



By Erick Stakelbeck
http://www.FrontPageMag.com
March 8, 2007

When I first heard that I’d be working alongside a former employee of an Al-Qaeda-linked, Wahhabi charity—one shut down by the federal government for funneling money to terrorist groups, no less—I was deeply concerned. I’d been assured that Daveed Gartenstein-Ross had left his Islamist past far behind, that he’d since converted to Christianity and was fresh off a stint as an attorney for one of the leading law firms in the United States. This all sounded perfectly reasonable, and his resume was indeed impressive. And yes, people change. Still, my suspicions lingered.

Could Gartenstein-Ross be a jihadi “plant?” After all, my employer at the time, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), was a leading counter-terrorism think tank whose location was a closely guarded secret, and its Executive Director, Steven Emerson, had long been targeted for death by jihadists. Perhaps Gartenstein-Ross was acting as an inside man for a jihadi group, ingratiating himself at the IPT only to glean sensitive information about the organization that could be passed on to his Islamist cohorts. Unlikely, given IPT’s thorough screening of prospective employees, but possible.

Upon meeting Daveed for the first time, my suspicions only deepened. He was articulate, clean-cut, friendly, and knowledgeable about a wide range of my favorite topics, from history, to music to sports. He also possessed a keen intellect and was, at times, brutally honest (like a friend should be). Heck, the guy was completely likeable—the perfect sleeper agent. I thought of the Al-Qaeda handbook, which calls on jihadists to use deceit in order to obtain information about the enemy’s “vital establishments,” and even encourages them to strike up false friendships with infidels.

Call me a paranoid Islamophobe if you must, but I still believe those initial concerns back in the summer of 2004 were wholly legitimate, given the circumstances. Still, I must admit, I’m struck by how absurd they now seem. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a sleeper agent? The same down-to-earth guy with whom I’ve shared countless laughs and great conversations, and with whom I’ve been fortunate enough to bond with on a personal and professional level these past two-and-half years? The same rising star in the counterterrorism field who contributes regularly to respected publications like The Weekly Standard and Reader’s Digest? The fact that this brilliant, well-adjusted young man of Jewish descent could somehow get sucked into the primitive world of radical Islam—even if for a relatively short time—demands an explanation. Thankfully, Daveed provides that and a whole lot more in his absorbing new memoir, My Year Inside Radical Islam.

The two most notorious cases of white converts to Islam who adopted a fundamentalist strain of the faith are, undoubtedly, American Taliban John Walker Lindh (serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for treason) and Al-Qaeda mouthpiece Adam Gadahn (aka “Azzam the American,” thought to be hiding somewhere in the tribal regions of Pakistan). Both men had unusual religious upbringings and were raised in the progressive environs of California. Gartenstein-Ross has said his path towards radical Islam mirrored theirs in some respects.

Raised in liberal Ashland, Oregon to hippie parents, he was taught to revere Jesus and Buddha equally as great teachers; but that no one religion held a premium on truth. By the time he left Ashland in 1994 to attend Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Gartenstein-Ross had grown into a free thinker with a passion for social justice. At the same time, he found himself searching for spiritual answers. He was befriended by a Muslim student who practiced Sufism, which is generally considered a more moderate form of Islam (although opinions vary). Gartenstein-Ross was attracted to several aspects of the religion, but one seems to have particularly struck him: Islam’s belief that Jesus was a prophet with a close relationship with God, but that he had never claimed divinity. This seemed to answer some of the nagging spiritual questions he’d been contemplating after years of debates with Christian friends.

In reading the book, one gets the sense that loneliness and a few near-death experiences made Gartenstein-Ross slightly more susceptible to such a major life change as converting to a new religion--particularly one not known for its fondness toward Jews. Nevertheless, his new life as a progressive-minded Muslim proved gratifying at first, both intellectually and spiritually. Upon graduation, he accepted a job at an Islamic charitable organization back in Ashland called the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation. Before long, his entire world was turned upside down.

Al Haramain was a Saudi government-funded operation that billed itself as a religious charity. Although Saudi Arabia officially closed down Al Haramain because of its terrorist ties in late 2004, the question remains whether it is actually defunct; its leadership is reportedly still in place, as is its support infrastructure.

Not surprisingly, after just a few days at Al Haramain’s Ashland branch, Gartenstein-Ross learned that his moderate interpretation of Islam was dangerously out of step from that of his co-workers. It seemed that everything, from listening to music, to owning a dog, to wearing shorts above the thigh, to dating a non-Muslim woman, was strictly haram (forbidden) and worthy of eternal damnation.

In one eye-opening passage of My Year Inside Radical Islam, Gartenstein-Ross describes an uncomfortable interaction with a local elementary school teacher in which he refuses to shake her hand, because such contact between the sexes was viewed as inappropriate by his radicalized peers at Al Haramain. When Gartenstein-Ross voiced disagreement over these restrictive ground rules, he was lectured—often times loudly, and straight from Islamic texts—by his outspoken co-workers, who’d been Muslims longer and, hence, viewed Gartenstein-Ross as a theological novice with much to learn about his new faith.

The incessant browbeating and indoctrination continued on a daily basis, and regular visits by radical Saudi sheikhs to the Ashland office only helped reinforce Gartenstein-Ross’ view that perhaps his initial, moderate interpretation of Islam had been off the mark. The more he studied the Koran and other Islamic texts, the more he found a compelling argument for the legalistic practice of the faith as trumpeted at Al Haramain. What at first seemed ridiculous now seemed divinely sanctioned.

In a sense, Gartenstein Ross’ steady drift towards radicalism encapsulates the West’s great dilemma in its ongoing struggle against fundamentalist Islam. Are the jihadists just a small sect of extremists that have hijacked a “great and peaceful religion,” as our leaders and media elites reassure us after every new terrorist attack? Or do bin Laden, Nasrallah and the charitable chaps at Al Haramain actually practice Islam as its founder and prophet, Mohammed—himself a warrior—intended it? Yes, there are moderate Muslims. But are they essentially akin to “cafeteria Catholics,” who conveniently pick and choose which practices they want to take from their religion, while ignoring the more stringent, or “outdated” ones? In other words, is Islam itself moderate? Or is it, if taken literally, an inherently violent faith incompatible with modernity and Western values? As European and American victims pile up and the global jihad intensifies, that’s a question a reluctant West, paralyzed by political correctness and self-doubt, will eventually have to confront.

By the time he left Al Haramain in 1998 to attend law school in New York City, Gartenstein-Ross had his own issues to confront. His descent into radical Islam had caused a growing chasm between he and his Christian fiance, Amy. He also felt increasingly distanced from his still-liberal parents. Overall, Gartenstein-Ross’ experience at Al Haramain had left him disillusioned and spiritually restless. He could no longer reconcile the fact, for instance, that celebrating Christmas with Amy and her family was haram, and that marrying her would be even worse. He recounts a solitary stroll through Central Park when all of the doubts and questions that had been building up overwhelmed him:

When you became Muslim, you thought that the moderate interpretation was clearly right. You thought that extremists were either ignorant or manipulating the faith for their own gain. Your time at Al-Haramain has made you question this. As your cherished vision of Islam collapses, you’re left feeling depressed, hopeless, confused…you once unreservedly condemned the “extremists”; now you say prayers for the mujahideen. But you still have doubts, and you’re not happy with where you are.

Gartenstein-Ross decided to read and re-read the Quran, to once again pore over every important Islamic text with a fine-toothed comb. He was left with more questions than answers. He soon found himself attending church on Sundays, and reconnecting with an old friend who was a devout Christian. When Gartenstein-Ross learned that Al Haramain’s Ashland office had been raided by the F.B.I, he decided to step forward and help with the investigation. To his surprise, the Bureau already knew all about him.

How times change. In my current job as a correspondent and terrorism analyst for CBN News, Gartenstein-Ross is one of the first experts I dial whenever I need information on developing events in the War on Terror. His tumultuous time spent in the grip of radical Islam has given him a personal insight into the enemy that few counterterrorism analysts can match. He continues to work closely with U.S. intelligence agencies, and shares his expertise in frequent appearances on radio and television. My Year Inside Radical Islam promises to only enhance his reputation, and deservedly so.

Other reviews, quite rightly, have focused on the larger issues the book speaks to: among them, the road to radicalization, the poisonous role of many American Muslim organizations and mosques, and the ease with which Islamists have quietly blended into the American social fabric. At its heart, however, I think the book is more about a conflicted young man’s personal journey from the brink of oblivion to redemption. Despite its subject matter and cautionary lessons, it’s also a love story. And I can assure you that it’s completely and utterly above suspicion.


Erick Stakelbeck is a correspondent and terrorism analyst for CBN News. He also contributes to Hot Air.com.

Book Review: "Pistol"



Review: Published: Mar 04, 2007 12:30 AM
Modified: Mar 04, 2007 02:22 AM

How 'Pistol Pete' became Peter

Tim Stevens, Staff Writer

The week before he died of a sudden heart attack in 1988, the basketball legend "Pistol Pete" Maravich told me he wanted to move back to Raleigh.

In town to have his basketball jersey retired at Broughton High, Maravich said he spent many of the happiest days here while his father, Press Maravich, was the head basketball coach at N.C. State. That was before his personal demon -- the one who told this magnificent star he was never quite good enough -- began tormenting him as he rose to fame in college and the NBA. Looking back, Maravich said his days as "Pistol Pete" seemed like a lifetime ago. Peter was how he introduced himself now. "I like Peter," he said. "It is a good biblical name."

He also liked Peter Maravich, the man he had grown to be.

In 1982, after years of contemplating suicide (his mother had killed herself while he was in the NBA), Maravich desperately called out to God to save him. Maravich believed God answered audibly, "Be strong and lift thine own heart."

Maravich embraced Christianity with the same fervor that he had shown to basketball. He became an evangelist; he wrote his autobiography; a movie was planned and he had developed a series of basketball videos. All of it revolved around his faith.

When he made his last visit to Raleigh, he looked emaciated with his eyes sunk deep in their sockets and his skin had a pallor, but he smiled readily and he said he was content for the first time in memory.

Sportswriter Mark Kriegel maps that road to contentment in "Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich," a remarkable book that is the best researched biography yet of this revolutionary basketball player.

"Pistol" actually is two biographies. You cannot write about Maravich without focusing on his father, Press -- a fact the son acknowledged when he titled his autobiography, "Heir to a Dream." The second of Press' two sons, Pete Maravich was destined to pursue his father's dreams of transforming basketball.

The two, father and son, pursued those dreams for almost all of Maravich's life. It was in Raleigh that Maravich's last hope of avoiding the pain that plagued most of his adult life disappeared. As Kriegel notes, Pete wanted to play college basketball at West Virginia. Press had taken the head coaching job at LSU with the clear understanding that his son was coming, too. Press' threat that Pete could never visit his home again if he went to West Virginia was Pete's denouement. The die was cast. Pete's fate sealed.



At LSU he teamed with inferior players. Kriegel reports the nation's best prospects, including future UNC-Chapel Hill all-America Charlie Scott, were turned off by Press' appeals "to come play with my son."

Pistol Pete had one of the most storied college careers of all time. He holds the NCAA career record for most points (3,667 points, 44.2 points per game for a three-year varsity career) in 83 games. He also shot an NCAA record 3,116 times and made a record 1,387 shots. He scored 50 or more points 28 times and was selected as one of the top 50 NBA players of all time.

But the perception developed that the show was more important than the outcome of the game. If not to Pete, then to others. When it came time to sign his professional contract, he went to the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, who dismantled a championship-caliber team to showcase the amazing Maravich. In an era before ESPN's highlights, the Hawks chose a virtual highlight film.

He fulfilled his father's dream by changing the way basketball was played and was enjoyed, but Pistol might not have liked all the changes. He was at Campbell University's famed basketball camp in Buies Creek once when he wrapped up a 35-minute demonstration of passing and dribbling drills with a dunk. Hundreds of children roared approval. "I show them how to play basketball and all they care about is a dunk," Maravich grumbled to me.

He was a five-time NBA All-Star, scored 15,948 professional points and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. But the success came at a great personal cost, leading to alcohol abuse and various attempts to find contentment in vegetarianism, Hinduism, extraterrestrialism and survivalism. None of the records or the various "isms" brought him peace.




Maravich never played on a championship team -- not at Broughton, not at LSU, not in the NBA.

But on Dec. 28, 1987, at Broughton's Holliday Gymnasium, Peter Maravich had returned home. He waved to the crowd, held a jersey that is still in the Broughton trophy case, thanked the school for remembering and smiled.

A week later, on Jan. 5, 1988, Maravich was playing in a pickup basketball game with Dr. James Dobson, an internationally known Christian counselor.

During a break, he was asked how he felt. The last words he spoke before collapsing to the floor as his heart ruptured were, "I feel great."

(Tim Stevens covers high school sports for The News & Observer.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jamie Glazov: Shooting Back



Charl van Wyk (left) discussing a beekeeping course as an evangelistic
outreach to the terrorists who attacked his Church. On the right is Letlapa Mphahlele, the commander of the terrorists who ordered the attack.


http://www.FrontPageMag.com

March 7, 2007

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Charl van Wyk, a full time Christian missionary and assistant director of Frontline Fellowship – an evangelical missionary outreach group that focuses on resistant or neglected areas and groups in Southern Africa. He is also an associate missionary of In Touch Mission International, based in Tempe, AZ.


Charl van Wyk was an ordinary Christian man until the day he was called upon to be extraordinary. The date was July 25, 1993 and the event became known as the St. James Massacre. Mr. van Wyk was catapulted to the media's attention by shooting back at the terrorists who attacked the innocent congregation. He is the author of a new book which discusses those events: Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defence. He will be visiting the U.S. in May 2007 and may be contacted for speaking engagements at itmi@intouchmission.org.


FP: Charl van Wyk, welcome to Frontpage Interview.


Wyk: Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story. I hope it brings a ray of light to some who might be going through what I experienced but maybe in a less traumatic sense.


FP: Tell us what happened at the St. James Massacre.


Wyk: It was a typical winter’s evening in Cape Town, dark and dismal. The St. James Church was not as full as it usually was. There were slightly less than the approximately 1500 worshippers it normally held, which was probably due to the cold and rain.


The Reverend Ross Anderson opened the service after the choruses and first hymn had been sung. Two young members of the congregation stood up and ministered to us in song. I was totally captivated by their lovely voices, when a scuffle at the front door, to the left of the stage, drew our attention.


I ignored the noise and wished that people would be more considerate when entering during the service. Why couldn’t they wait until the song item was over?


When I saw a man with a rifle standing in the doorway, I thought, “I wonder if this is the play that is to be presented to the young people tonight?”


The chaotic scene that was unfolding was no play; it was serious and incredibly real. Grenades were exploding in flashes of light. Pews shattered under the blasts, sending splinters flying through the air. An automatic assault rifle was being fired and was fast ripping the pews — and whoever, whatever was in its trajectory — to pieces. We were being attacked.


Instinctively, I knelt down behind the bench in front of me and pulled out my .38 Special snub-nosed revolver, which I always carried with me.


The congregation had thrown themselves down — in order to protect themselves as far as possible from the deluge of flying bullets and shrapnel. By God’s grace, the view of the terrorists from my seat, fourth row from the back of the church, was perfect. The building was built like a cinema with the floor sloping towards the stage in front. So without any hesitation, I knelt and aimed, firing two shots at the attackers. This appeared ineffective, as my position was too far from my targets to take precise aim with a snub-nosed revolver. I had to get closer to the terrorists.


So I started moving to the end of the pew on my haunches and leopard crawled the rest of the way when I realised that my position was too high up. The only way I could stop their vicious attack, was to try and move in behind them and then shoot them in the back at close range.


I sprinted to the back door of the church, pushing a lady out of the way, so that I could kick the door open and not be hindered as I sought to get behind the gunmen to neutralise their attack.


As I desperately rounded the corner of the building, outside in the parking area, I saw a man standing next to what was the “getaway” car. Resting on his hip was his automatic rifle. The man was looking in the direction of the door through which they had launched their attack.


I stepped back behind the corner of the wall and prepared to blast the last of my firepower. I strode out in full view of the terrorist and shot my last three rounds. By this time, the others were already in the car. My target jumped into the vehicle and the driver sped away immediately, leaving behind the acrid stench of burning tyres and exhaust fumes.


I remember thinking, “Lord why haven’t I got more ammunition?”


I ran across the road to the house of a neighbour and jumped over the fence. Knocking on the door I shouted,


“Call the police, there’s been an attack!”


FP: Did you strike any of the terrorists with your shots? Years later now, do you believe your action was justified?


Wyk: I shot Khaya Makoma, one of the attackers. I firmly believe that the most Biblical action I could take at that time was to protect the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ from the onslaught. In fact, if I did not try to protect them when I had the opportunity to do so, I would have broken the commands of Scripture.


FP: Can you tell us some verses in Scripture that you believe legitimize your actions and justify Christians in protecting themselves?


Wyk: In Proverbs 25:26 we read: “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.” Certainly, I would be faltering before the wicked if I chose to be unarmed and unable to resist an assailant who threatened the lives of God's people.


Paul wrote in a letter to Timothy, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially of those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)


“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbour as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)


FP: Tell us who Letlapa Mphahlele is. What were the circumstances surrounding your presence at his homecoming ceremony? What has been your relationship with him?


Wyk: I met Letlapa when I tried to make an appointment with Khaya Makoma, one of the attackers that I had shot during the attack.


I phoned the jail that Khaya was in to ask for a meeting with him so that I could share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him. Shortly thereafter I received an invitation from Letlapa, the commanding officer of the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA) to meet with him. He ordered the attack.


We met and he introduced me to Khaya when we visited him in jail together. Letlapa and I met on occasion for a television interview, breakfast, press interview etc


I was invited to his home coming celebrations which marked his return home after having been in exile. The celebration also included the South African courts having withdrawn all charges against him for the terrorist attacks he ordered.


FP: Why did you want to meet Khaya Makoma? Tell us the philosophy of reaching out to someone who tried to harm you and your congregation.


Wyk: There is hope for terrorists, but only through the Grace of Jesus Christ. I wanted to share, with Khaya, the great Gospel of Jesus Christ, how He had died on the cross and shed His blood for the cleansing of sins.


I am no more righteous or better than Khaya and so as two desperately wicked sinners before a holy, just and gracious God, we sat and spoke about Jesus Christ and the Way of Salvation.


Khaya had been influenced by liberation theology, i.e. the idea that the Gospel pertains to a political salvation, and he is an animist, i.e. someone who worships his ancestors. He believes that we all worship the same God, and that he can communicate with God through his ancestors and I, through Jesus Christ.


FP: Why did Letlapa Mphahlele order the attack on your Church?


Wyk: Letlapa and I were being interviewed at the Cape Town Airport by a newspaper reporter. The reporter asked Letlapa why, considering the fact that negotiations were well under way for a new political dispensation, he still gave the command to attack the church. Letlapa responded: "This attack was an act of terrorism in the true sense of the word....what terrorism is all about. We did it to instill fear in the Whites in South Africa."


FP: So overall, what final message would you have, after your experience, and in terms of who you are, in terms of the terror war we face today?


Wyk: Even innocent people need to be prepared to deal with terrorists in a confrontational fashion, that is to use lethal force to protect themselves in the event of an attack. This may appear to be an extreme position, but we as Christians have not only a right but also a duty to protect the innocent and to look after those whom God has entrusted to us.


People also need to be prepared to deal with terrorism psychologically. It is so much easier just to give up and give into the demands of those who are terrorizing others, but such compromise is not the way of the faithful servant of Jesus Christ. We must stand up for what we believe in, even to death. And we must not allow people of other religions and political persuasions to enforce their ungodly views upon us in whatever manner they deem fit.


We have found in South Africa that political correctness and making excuses for the terrorists is no help to the innocent citizen. Terrorists need to be dealt with extremely severely by law. Giving into their demands just makes them move the goal posts and find another reason to bring pressure on the government of the country they are attacking.


Education is a must - forewarned is forearmed - there is a battle of worldviews going on in the world and people need to understand the threat and how they can make a difference.


The bottom line, however, is where you will spend eternity.


FP: Charl van Wyk thank you for joining us today. It was an honor to speak with you.


Wyk: The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for the opportunity. Armed citizens save lives.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left and the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union (McGill-Queens University Press, 2002) and 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.

The Louvre’s Art: Priceless. The Louvre’s Name: Expensive.



A computer image of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel. The building is expected to cost about $108 million to build, and will include art from all eras and regions, including Islamic art.


By ALAN RIDING
The New York Times
Published: March 7, 2007

PARIS, March 6 — What’s the price of a good name?

How about a cool $520 million?

That is the amount that Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, agreed Tuesday to pay to attach the Louvre’s name to a museum that it hopes to open in 2012. And there is more: in exchange for art loans, special exhibitions and management advice, Abu Dhabi will pay France an additional $747 million.

Controversy over the Louvre Abu Dhabi has been swirling in France for the last three months, with critics charging that the French government is “selling” its museums. But only now have the full details of the nearly $1.3 billion package been disclosed.

For Abu Dhabi, the deal is an important step in its plan to build a $27 billion tourist and cultural development on Saadiyat Island, opposite the city. The project’s cultural components include a Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a maritime museum and a performing arts center as well as the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

For France the agreement signals a new willingness to exploit its culture for political and economic ends. In this case, it also represents something of a payback: the United Arab Emirates has ordered 40 Airbus 380 aircraft and has bought about $10.4 billion worth of armaments from France during the last decade.

The agreement was signed on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi by the French culture minister, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, and the president of Abu Dhabi’s tourism authority, Sheik Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahayan. Henri Loyrette, president of the Louvre, joined the many senior French museum officials in attendance.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel as a 260,000-square-foot complex covered by a flying-saucer-like roof, is expected to cost around $108 million to build. Planned as a universal museum, it will include art from all eras and regions, including Islamic art.

The project will be overseen by a new International Agency for French Museums that is to include the Musée d’Orsay, the Georges Pompidou Center, the Musée Guimet, the Château de Versailles, the Musée Rodin, the Musée du Quai Branly and the Louvre among its members. This agency is also expected to seek new international partners in the coming years.

Still, it was inevitable that the focus of attention would be the renting of the Louvre’s name. It was this that upset many French traditionalists, including 4,700 signers of an online petition objecting to the accord. But it was also the Louvre brand that Abu Dhabi most coveted to add prestige to its ambitious Saadiyat Island plan.

“It’s a fair fee for the concession of the name,” Mr. Loyrette told Agence-France Presse in Abu Dhabi. “This tutelary role deserves reward. It’s normal.”



An image of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in 2012.

Apart from paying $520 million to the French agency for the use of the Louvre name for 30 years, with $195 million to be paid within one month, Abu Dhabi has also agreed to make a direct donation of $32.5 million to the Louvre to refurbish a wing of the Pavillon de Flore for the display of international art.

This gallery, to be ready by 2010, will carry the name of Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan, the founder and longtime ruler of the United Arab Emirates, who died in 2004.

Abu Dhabi will also finance a new Abu Dhabi art research center in France and pay for restoration of the Château de Fontainebleau’s theater, which will be named after Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, the current president.

For a government-owned cultural institution in France to carry the name of a corporate or foreign donor is also a first and may well raise eyebrows here. In the past, for instance, the Louvre has turned down offers of financial help from philanthropists who asked that galleries be named after them in return.

France is profiting handsomely from this deal: in exchange for $247 million, it will rotate between 200 and 300 artworks through the Louvre Abu Dhabi during a 10-year period; it will be paid $214.5 million over 20 years for the management expertise provided by its new museums agency; and it will provide four temporary exhibitions a year for 15 years in exchange for $253.5 million.

In a telephone interview from Abu Dhabi, Mubarak Al-Muhairi, the deputy chairman of the emirate’s tourism authority, dismissed rumors that the new museum would reject loans or exhibitions from France including Christian religious art or depicting, say, nudity. “In principle, there are no restrictions,” he said, “but both sides will agree on what is shown.”

He said that the authority’s hope was that the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which is being designed by Frank Gehry, would open by or soon after 2012, with the other parts of the cultural center to follow.

He added that while Abu Dhabi is expected to spend around $520 million during the next decade on assembling its own art holdings, “it is our intention to build the collection gradually so as not to disturb the market.” In this, the French museums agency is also expected to play an advisory role.

In a statement, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan said the accord reinforced Abu Dhabi’s vision of becoming “a world-class destination bridging global cultures.”

In a message read at Tuesday’s ceremony, the French president, Jacques Chirac, said the arrangement “sealed a partnership with the world’s most visited and well-known museum.”