Friday, November 03, 2006

Symposium: "Islam - What the West Needs to Know"

By Jamie Glazov
November 3, 2006

A new documentary Islam: What the West Needs to Know has recently been released.

An examination of Islam, violence, and the fate of the non-Muslim world, the documentary features numerous experts. Today we have invited three of them to discuss the new film. Our guests are:

Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist who has become an ardent Zionist and evangelical Christian. He is the author of Why I Left Jihad. The Root of Terrorism and the Return of Radical Islam.

Serge Trifkovic, a former BBC World Service broadcaster and US News & World Report correspondent, foreign affairs editor of Chronicles, and author of The Sword of the Prophet. The sequel, Defeating Jihad, was published by Regina Orthodox Press in April. Read his commentaries on

Robert Spencer, a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of six books, seven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith and the New York Times Bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). His latest book is The Truth About Muhammad.

FP: Walid Shoebat, Serge Trifkovic and Robert Spencer, welcome to Frontpage Magazine.

Walid Shoebat, let’s begin with you. Tell us a bit about this new documentary and your contribution to it.

Shoebat: Ever since I left radical Islam, I have consistently run into westerners who are oblivious to the mind-set of radical Islamists, and being on both sides of the fence, I have felt like I am Captain Spock of Star Trek -- always having to explain to Captain Kirk how the aliens thought. Yet the first problem I encountered when speaking to westerners is that they always think that the Muslim world has the same aspirations as they do, seeking liberty, equality, modernization, democracy, and the good life.

Today, Islamism, a forgotten giant that ruled the ancient world and was finally wounded by the West, is now coming back to life - quickly. In many countries with a Muslim majority, secularism and socialism is out of style, and we have a new trend (actually very old) that is having a come-back, and is growing like wild-fire -- radical Islam.

This documentary I participated in links Islam’s history from it’s beginning until now showing the myths and facts. The documentary relies primarily on Islam’s own sources with the undeniable statements made by Muhammad, Islam’s founding father, and how his teachings still live in our modern time. While all this evidence is discussed, many statements by world leaders and politicians deny the undeniable - that Islam in its core teaching is not simply a "beautiful and peace loving religion", but a system of government as well to be forced on the rest of the world.

While the East already knows Islam since it lived with it from the beginning, the West is still oblivious not only to Islam’s history, but its growth in the West as well.

It’s a documentary that every westerner must see, especially since we still have our freedom to critique Islam, at least for now.

FP: Serge Trifkovic, how come I have a feeling this documentary won’t be part of the curriculum for too many university courses?

Trifkovic: I’d say that your feeling probably isn’t entirely intuitive. It is also based on ample empirical evidence that the elite class that controls the education, media, and entertainment all over the Western world does not want a serious debate about Islam’s tenets, historical record, and geopolitical designs. Worse still, since you ask about university courses, our educators don’t want to educate young people about Islam as it is – for which purpose “What the West Needs to Know” would be an excellent tool – but to indoctrinate them into accepting the elite consensus.

That consensus, as we see in the opening clips of Blair, Bush and Clinton, rests upon the implacable dogma that there is something called “real Islam” (peaceful, tolerant, and as American as apple pie), and then there is “extremism” that is an aberrant and unrepresentative deviation of Muhammad’s faith. (Blair’s assurances that the 9-11 attackers were not “Islamic terrorists” but “terrorists plain and simple” would have been on par with FDR declaring, after Pearl Harbor, that the attackers were not “Japanese airmen,” but “airmen” plain and simple.)

Let me offer a striking example of this dogma, lengthy for the symposium format but useful as to what gets into college courses and school curricula. It is provided by Houghton Mifflin, publishers of a history textbook, Across the Centuries, that is compulsory for 7th grade students in California. It employed one Shabbir Mansuri, a man with terrorist connections and a founding director of the Council on Islamic Education in California, to help with the book’s chapter on Islam. The results, while predictable, defy belief.

The first verses of the Qur’an, the textbook teaches 12 and 13-year-old Americans, “were revealed” to Muhammad in AD 610, and the initial revelation came from “a being he later identified as the angel Gabriel.” Such quasi-factual statements would befit a textbook used in a Pakistani medressa, but not one used in an American public school. More egregiously, Across the Centuries states that “some Jewish leaders would not accept Muhammad as God’s latest prophet,” and blithely glosses over the fact that Muhammad reacted to the Jews’ refusal to accept his prophetic claims with a host of violently Judeophobic “revelations” in the Kuran. Such injunctions from Allah paved the way for the ethnic cleansing and eventual extermination of all Jews under Muhammad’s domain. To omit his Endloesung from the history of early Islam is equal to the history of the rise of Nazism purged of the Kristallnacht and the Nuremberg Laws.

Another bold misrepresentation is contained on p. 64, dealing with “an Islamic term that is often misunderstood,” jihad. The textbook provides only one “true” definition: “The term means ‘to struggle,’ to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.” It admits that “[u]nder certain conditions the struggle to overcome evil may require action,” but hastens to add that the Kuran and Sunna “allow self-defense and participation in military conflict, but restrict it to the right to defend against aggression and persecution.” American teenagers are also taught that Muslim women enjoy “clear rights” in marriage and the right to an education, that the Muslims were “extremely tolerant of those they conquered,” that “Christians and Jews had full religious freedom” under Islam, and a host of similar lies. The exercises in the textbook require them to wear an Islamic robe, adopt a Muslim name, memorize Kuranic verses, to pray “in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful” and to chant, “Praise to Allah, Lord of Creation.”

The upholders of the mindset that promotes and mandates such rubbish in our classrooms will naturally treat the truth about Islam as inadmissible, and that’s why “What the West Needs to Know” will be ignored by them. They dominate the entertainment industry – just look at Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, which conveyed the message that, in a conflict between Christians and Muslims, the former attack, the latter react. The true hero of the movie is Saladin, a wise warrior-king sans peur et sans reproche; its villains, the coarse and bloodthirsty Europeans.

The manner in which the media routinely misrepresent Islam tends to be more insidious, especially when it is wrapped in the guise of scholarship. Take the 2002 PBS mini-series Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, financed mostly with our money, which offered an uncritical hagiography on par with the Soviet state television’s treatment of Lenin. Just as the comrades routinely glossed over some two million innocent victims of the 1917-1921 Bolshevik terror, the PBS glossed over the matter of slaughtered Jewish tribes, of the razzias, murders, rapes, of poll tax and dhimmitude. All Muslim battles were presented as defensive. Nine “specialists” vied with each other to praise Muhammad in extravagant terms. The result bordered on the ridiculous: e.g. “he deeply, deeply loved” his first wife Khadija, and each of his many subsequent marriages was “an act of faith, not of lust” – nine-year-old Aisha included for sure. Muhammad was presented as the liberator of women, and no mention was made of many Kuranic verses and Hadiths that allow, even sanctify rape, violence against wives, and discrimination.

On each and every score “What the West Needs to Know” sets the record straight, and that’s why it is subversive and dangerous. I expect it will be formally banned in the European Union, and I and my four fellow-“stars” should think twice before boarding the next flight for Heathrow or Schiphol lest we end up in a slammer with the book thrown at us for saying things that must not be said. On balance that may well be a price worth paying to alert our naive, complacent or manipulated fellow Westerners that their house is on fire.

In The Firebugs, Swiss playwright Max Frisch thus tells the story of Gottlieb Biedermann, a prosperous, guilt-ridden businessman who responds to an epidemic of arson in his town by letting two shady characters who look like arsonists into his home, lodging them, feeding them, and finally providing them with the incendiary materials. Even when he and his initially uneasy wife realize who the visitors really are, they remain in denial about their intentions. Biedermann tries to buy security by displaying generosity, even when the writing is clearly on the wall. Far from being grateful, the arsonists despise him and smugly state that “the best and safest method” for hoodwinking people “is to tell them the plain unvarnished truth.”

“What the West Needs to Know” seeks to present that unvarnished truth soberly, even dryly, with no bells and whistles, no dramatic music and no special effects. It offers a breath of fresh air and an alternative to the non-debate on Islam that we’ve had for over five years.

Spencer: It all reminds me of Eugene Ionesco’s delightful play Rhinoceros. In it, human beings one by one become rhinoceri, and even those who initially vow to hold out eventually succumb, out of the pressure of conformism and the sheer weariness of holding out. The absurdist premise is not so absurd when one looks at the global situation today: the free world is under assault everywhere from the forces of jihad, working from the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah, and notably the words and deeds of Muhammad. Yet in America and the West, taking note of these rather obvious facts only brings one opprobrium, if the chattering classes deign to take notice at all: one is compelled in the mainstream of public discourse to deny the obvious. Everyone is busy tossing away common sense, reason, and basic powers of observation and becoming a rhinoceros, and vilifying those who decline to do so.

Although the facts presented in Islam: What the West Needs to Know are readily and easily verifiable, they are not to be spoken, not to be noticed, and anyone who dares do so will in effect be read out of polite society. In a sane West, interested in its own defense, such a documentary would not have been produced by a small and indeed quixotic independent production company – Quixotic Media – but would have been just one part of a larger effort by Hollywood itself to educate the public about what we are facing, and why our civilization is worth defending. It would not have seen limited, quasi-furtive distribution, but nationwide, front-burner attention.

Nevertheless, however anxiously the media and political mainstream wish to ignore the information in this film, and however successful they are in diverting people away from seeing it or even hearing about it, they will ultimately not be so successful in preventing jihad terrorists from continuing to act upon the teachings of Islam we explain in the film. And eventually it will become painfully clear to the politically correct authorities that no matter how much it discomfits them, what we have explained in Islam: What the West Needs to Know is simply the truth. The sooner it is recognized and policies constructed accordingly, the safer we will all be.

Shoebat: I share similar frustration as Spencer and Trifkovic. My last episode speaking at Colombia was not only frustrating, but some of the questions made by the student audience reveal a dangerous trend. In my speech, I critiqued not only Islam, but Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer who wrote “The Jews and Their Lies." I also elevated Martin Luther King Jr. for fighting for Black rights, yet students criticized my speech as anti-Islam, racism and bigotry. Why is it that when I critiqued Martin Luther I was not accused of bigotry against Christianity?

When I was a terrorist the world labelled us as freedom fighters. When I was a “freedom fighter”, I was free to say that “Jews are shylocks, Israel is a racist state, Jews run the Congress and the media…”. In those days, I hated Jews, but when the day came that I changed my mind and loved everyone, I was labelled as a racist.

Yet similar statements to the things we said when we were terrorists are made at our universities – Richard Falk taught that Iran is a model for a humane government, Andres Steinberg “Israel destroys Christian shrines”, Rashid Khalidi “Israel is racist”, DeGenova “Patriot Americans are white supremacist”, Hamid Dabashi “Jews are vulgar”.

All these are so similar to what I learned as terrorist, yet these professors are not labelled as terror supporters, and I am being labelled as racist?

At another speech, one Rabbi critiqued the New Testament as “riddled with violence,” I had no problem with his right to state this, yet when I confronted him I asked “Why do you feel free to critique the New Testament, but afraid of critiquing Islam’s well documented violence?” to which he could not reply.

It didn’t matter that I stated in my speech that a Jew had the right to critique Christianity, a Christian had the right to critique Mormonism and Islam, and a Muslim had a right to critique the Bible and Christianity, I was still accused of racism and bigotry against Islam. One can say almost anything against any other religion but Islam. Why?

Our basic religious freedom is at stake. We might be going on the same road as I witnessed in England while doing interviews in the media. In one Christian TV show, the interviewer stated that he cannot critique Islam in fear of closure. Only the interviewee can do so. He feared a shut down of his Christian station.

The other dangerous trend is that all fundamentalists are being lumped as fanatics. At the BBC in England during one interview the interviewer stated to me that “the problem with today’s world is fundamentalism” to which I responded “Christian fundamentalists give the world a headache, I confess, but Muslim fundamentalists will whack your head right off your shoulders, sir” I was quickly thanked and escorted out of the BBC.

I concur with Trifkovic’s findings in regards to Across the Centuries school textbook. I remember the day I reviewed the same book my son brought from school, the next day I walked into the vice principle’s office when I threw the book on the desk asking “do you know what is today’s date/”, to which he replied “it’s September 11”. I replied him “I reject teaching Islam as fact, while my son cannot learn Christianity. Islam is the religion of millions who condoned 9/11.”

Fortunately for my son, he said “Sir, in this school we skip the whole subject, the book is enforced on us, but we do not comply.” Yet I doubt that the rest of the school system was as wise as this one.

I also concur with Trifkovic’s Kingdom of Heaven analysis. In one videotape I have by Sheikh Qaradawi, who spent six years in the Middle East as security adviser to the EU spreading his “peaceful Islam”, was giving an example to Muslim students in America about Salahuddin (Saladin). While Saladin’s Arab advisor was asked by Saladin that the Crusaders want a peace treaty, in which his Arab advisor gave the example from Surah Al-Anfal:61 “And if they concede to peace, so shall you concede, and place your trust in Allah”, yet Saladin argued “I am a Kurd and you are an Arab, you should know the Quran better then I” in which Saladin quoted Surat Muhammad verse 35 “And be not slack so as to cry for peace and you have the upper hand.”

Indeed, as Muhammad stated “Al-Harbu Khid’a” in English “War is deception”, yet, and while we try to fight the deception by Islamic terrorists from outside, we need to first fight the Islamic terror support that is coming from the inside.This deception wants to change the next generation Americans. If they succeed, it’s all over -- they won.

Trifkovic: None of us should have any delusions about the prospects that "What the West Needs to Know," or any other single book, movie, or TV appearance, will alter the paradigm and change the terms of what is still a very one-sided debate about Islam. This film nevertheless represents a quantum leap from what we've had available in filmography so far, most notoriously that disgraceful PBS series on Muhammad.

I'd hope the producers will come up with a shorter version that can be marketed to some potentially friendly TV channels (they do exist), or perhaps a 3-part mini-series of 30 min. each, and for the mass market the material may need to be "jazzed up" a little with more documentary clips and a more lively delivery of the voice-over reading Kuranic verses and Hadith, all of which would broaden the film's potential appeal.

This would be well worth the Quijotic team's while, as the movie makes a solid contribution to the effort to define the Enemy in the nebulously named "War on Terror," and to grasp the nature of the threat. It brings us a little closer to the day when the West will discard the taboos and start analyzing Islam without fear, or guilt, or the shackles of mandated thinking. "If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles," says Sun Tzu. Those who see this film will be a step closer to knowing the enemy, his core beliefs, his role models, his track-record, his mindset, his modus operandi, and his intentions.

But the main problem remains with ourselves, with those among us who have the power to make policy and shape opinions, and who will wilfully ignore, or else reject and condemn "What the West Needs to Know," and all of its contributors, and all of their works. Let's face it: they are beyond redemption, and the time for euphemisms and diplomatic restraint is over. The elite class that continues to peddle the lie about the "Religion of Peace and Tolerance," is composed of either idiots or evil traitors (and in Tony Blair's case the two blend seamlessly). As I wrote in "Chronicles" a week ago, the crime of which Jihad's Shabbos-goyim in the West are guilty "far exceeds any transgression for which the founders of the United States overthrew the colonial government."

FP: Walid Shoebat, Serge Trifkovic and Robert Spencer, thank you for joining Frontpage Magazine.

Click Here to support

Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Soviet Studies. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s new book
Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of the new book 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

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Film Review: "Borat"

From Kazakhstan, Without a Clue

The New York Times
Published: November 3, 2006

Sometime in early 2005, a mustachioed Kazakh journalist known as Borat Sagdiyev slipped into America with the intention of making a documentary for the alleged good of his Central Asian nation. Many months later, the funny bruised fruits of his labor, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” are poised to hit the collective American conscience with a juicy splat. The Minutemen, those self-anointed guardians of American sovereignty, were watching the wrong border.

Borat, who just recently invited the “mighty warlord” George W. Bush to the premiere of his film before a gaggle of excited news crews, is the dim brainchild of Sacha Baron Cohen, the British comic best known until now for another of his pseudonymous identities, Ali G. Described by his creator as a “wannabe gangsta,” Ali G was the host of a British television show, starting in 2000 (HBO had the American edition), where, as the voice of “the yoof,” he interviewed serious and self-serious movers and shakers, including “Boutros Boutros Boutros-Ghali,” Sam Donaldson and Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who found himself explaining why terrorists could not drive a train into the White House. (No tracks.)

Mr. Baron Cohen succeeded in seducing politicians and pornography stars alike, mostly because Ali G’s phenomenal stupidity made the character seem harmless. He also seemed to represent the ultimate in media big game: young people. Dressed like a Backstreet Boy, complete with Day-Glo romper suits, designer initials and a goatee that looked as if it had been painted on with liquid eyeliner, he was met with bewilderment, exasperation and patience that at times bordered on the saintly. Like Borat and Bruno, another of the comic’s similarly obtuse television alter egos who made regular appearances on the shows, the joke was equally on Ali G and on the targets of his calculated ignorance.

With Borat, Mr. Baron Cohen took the same basic idea that had worked with Ali G and pushed it hard, then harder. The joke begins with an apparently never-washed gray suit badly offset by brown shoes, which the performer accents with a small Afro and the kind of mustache usually now seen only in 1970s pornography, leather bars and trend articles. Think Harry Reems, circa 1972, but by way of the Urals. Married or widowed, and he appears to be both, Borat loves women, including his sister, the “No. 4 prostitute” in Kazakhstan, with whom he shares lusty face time in the film’s opener. He’s a misogynist (a woman’s place is in the cage), which tends to go unnoticed because he’s also casually anti-Semitic.

That Mr. Baron Cohen plays the character’s anti-Semitism for laughs is his most radical gambit. The Anti-Defamation League, for one, has chided him, warning that some people may not be in on the joke. And a sampling of comments on blogs where you can watch some of the older Borat routines, including a singalong in an Arizona bar with the refrain “Throw the Jew down the well,” indicates that the Anti-Defamation League is at least partly right: some people are definitely not in on the joke, though only because some people are too stupid and too racist to understand that the joke is on them. As the 19th-century German thinker August Bebel observed, anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools, a truism Mr. Baron Cohen has embraced with a vengeance.

Given this, it seems instructive to note how discussions of Borat, including the sympathetic and the suspicious, often circle over to the issue of Mr. Baron Cohen’s own identity. Commentators often imply that Borat wouldn’t be funny if Mr. Baron Cohen were not Jewish, which is kind of like saying that Dave Chappelle wouldn’t be funny if he were not black. For these performers, the existential and material givens of growing up as a Jew in Britain and as a black man in America provide not only an apparently limitless source of fertile comic material, but they are also inseparable from their humor. But no worries: Borat makes poop jokes and carries a squawking chicken around in a suitcase.

Like General Sherman, he also lays waste to a sizable swath of the South, a line of attack that begins in New York and ends somewhere between the Hollywood Hills and Pamela Anderson’s bosom. The story opens in Kazakhstan (apparently it was shot in a real Romanian village that looks remarkably like the set for a 1930s Universal horror flick), where Borat sketches out his grand if hazy plans before heading off in a horse-drawn auto. Once in New York, in between planting kisses on startled strangers and taking instruction from a humor coach, he defecates in front of a Trump tower (Donald Trump was one of Ali G’s more uncooperative guests) and masturbates in front of a Victoria’s Secret store. The jackass has landed.

It gets better or worse, sometimes at the same time. Whether you rush for the exits or laugh until your lungs ache will depend both on your appreciation for sight gags, eyebrow gymnastics, sustained slapstick and vulgar malapropisms, and on whether you can stomach the shock of smashed frat boys, apparently sober rodeo attendees and one exceedingly creepy gun-store clerk, all taking the toxic bait offered to them by their grinning interlocutor. There is nothing here as singularly frightening as when, during his run on HBO, Borat encountered a Texan who enthused about the Final Solution. That said, the gun clerk’s suggestion of what kind of gun to use to hunt Jews will freeze your blood, especially when you realize that he hasn’t misheard Borat’s mangled English.

That scene may inspire accusations that Mr. Baron Cohen is simply trading on cultural and regional stereotypes, and he is, just not simply. The brilliance of “Borat” is that its comedy is as pitiless as its social satire, and as brainy. Mr. Baron Cohen isn’t yet a total filmmaker like Jerry Lewis (the film was directed by Larry Charles, who has given it a suitably cheap video look), but the comic’s energy and timing inform every scene of “Borat,” which he wrote with Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham and his longtime writing and production partner, Dan Mazer. These guys push political buttons, but they also clear room for two hairy men to wrestle nude in a gaspingly raw interlude of physical slapstick that nearly blasts a hole in the film.

Clenched in unspeakably crude formation, those hairy bodies inspire enormous laughs, but they also serve an elegant formal function. The sheer outrageousness of the setup temporarily pulls you out of the story, which essentially works along the lines of one of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby road movies, though with loads of smut and acres of body hair, relieving you of the burden of having to juggle your laughter with your increasingly abused conscience. Just when you’re ready to cry, you howl.

“If the comic can berate and finally blow the bully out of the water,” Mr. Lewis once wrote, “he has hitched himself to an identifiable human purpose.” Sacha Baron Cohen doesn’t blow bullies out of the water; he obliterates them.

“Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It includes raw language, naked men and nude wrestling.

BORAT: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Opens today nationwide.

Directed by Larry Charles; written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham and Dan Mazer, based on a story by Mr. Baron Cohen, Mr. Baynham, Mr. Hines and Todd Phillips, and a character created by Mr. Baron Cohen; directors of photography, Anthony Hardwick and Luke Geissb├╝hler; edited by Peter Teschner and James Thomas; music by Erran Baron Cohen; produced by Sacha Baron Cohen and Jay Roach; released by 20th Century Fox. Running time: 89 minutes.

WITH: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), Ken Davitian (Azamat), Luenell (Luenell), Alex Daniels (Naked Fight Coordinator), James P. Vickers (Kidnapping Consultant), Peewee Piemonte (Safety) and Michael Li, Harry Wowchuk and Nicole Randall (Action Team).

Front Page Interview: Robert Spencer

The Truth About Muhammad
By Jamie Glazov
November 2, 2006

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Robert Spencer, a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of six books, seven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith and the New York Times Bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). He is the author of the new book, The Truth About Muhammad.

FP: Robert Spencer, it is a pleasure to have you back at Frontpage Interview.

Spencer: Thank you for inviting me.

FP: So tell us what inspired you to write The Truth About Muhammad. In your book, you discuss why you didn’t want to write it at first. How come?

Spencer: I was inspired to write this book by a phenomenon I have observed many times over the years: moderate Muslims would invoke Muhammad's example in arguing that Muslims should become more peaceful, and jihadists would invoke his example also, but to justify their acts of violence. I give some examples of this in the book's first chapter.

This is a very important question, for since Muslims traditionally have looked to Muhammad as the supreme example for human behavior (cf. Qur'an 33:21), what he was really like according to the sources Muslims themselves consider reliable will reveal a great deal about what non-Muslims can realistically expect in the long term from the Islamic world and the American Muslim community.

Meanwhile, the prevailing assumption among policymakers and the mainstream media is that Islam is fundamentally peaceful. Since a range of American policies are based on this assumption, I thought it useful to examine the origins of Islam and the character of its founder -- again, strictly according to the texts Muslims consider most reliable -- in order to determine how Muslims themselves who take such texts seriously regard their obligations as believers. This will illuminate a great deal about the readiness of Islamic nations and groups to make common cause and form lasting alliances with America and the West.

FP: Before we continue, it is crucial to emphasize that there are obviously many sincere, knowledgeable Muslims, such as Irshad Manji, Thomas Haidon, Kamal Nawash, Sheikh Palazzi, etc., who do not fall into the categories of some of the things we will be talking about. There are many moderate Muslim reformers who represent the best hope for the future of Islam; they are our allies and we have a huge stake in supporting them.

As you yourself have also pointed out, the problem we face in the Islamic world today is not necessarily Muslims per se, but what Islam teaches. Crystallizing the ingredients of Islam that may give rise to Islamic terrorism is the best weapon with which we can arm Muslim moderates and reformers who are fighting to democratize and modernize their religion.

Now having said that, I would like to move to an issue that has been of great interest to me. Your book is based on Islamic sources – sources, in other words, that many Muslims believe to be reliable and legitimate. So kindly explain the following phenomeon:

I have had an infinite amount of conversations with various Muslims in which many of the ingredients of Muhammad’s life are denied. For instance, numerous Muslims have told me, emphatically, that Muhammad was not a military man and never touched the hair on one person’s head. They emphasize that he only preached and practised peace. They look completely mystified and alarmed when I tell them about, for instance, the massacre of the Jewish tribe, Banu Qurayzah, and they tell me that this either never happened or that I am mistaken in one way or another. And they do this with tremendous anger.

Yet these are all facts. Facts, which you demonstrate, that are in the Qur’an and a hadith.

So what am I missing here? Do many Muslims themselves know nothing about their own Prophet? Or are they pretending they don’t know?

Spencer: Yes, I relied on Muhammad's earliest Muslim biographers, Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa'd, as well as the great muhaddithin Bukhari and Muslim. I also give numerous examples in the book of Muslims themselves referring to the accounts of Muhammad that I detail in the book -- showing that they themselves take for granted that these things happened.

In doing this, I have tried to perform a service for sincere Muslim reformers. After all, there can be no reform without a thorough and searching acknowledgment of what within Islam actually needs reforming. I have focused on a few of those elements of Islam in this book.
Nevertheless, I have many times encountered the phenomenon to which you refer. Just a few days ago I received an acrimonious email from a prominent moderate Muslim spokesman whose writings have been featured in FrontPage. He accused me of "shameless lies" for reporting that Muhammad married his daughter-in-law. Of course, this incident is referred to obliquely in the Qur'an (33:37), as well as in the hadith collection of Bukhari, the writings of the historian Tabari, the Qur'an commentary Tafsir al-Jalalayn, and other Islamic sources.

When I noted this, the spokesman called me an idiotic liar and heaped scorn on my invoking Tabari, whom he claimed was unreliable. He didn't say anything about Bukhari or Tafsir al-Jalalayn. Nor did he address the fact that apologists such as Karen Armstrong and Muhammad Husayn Haykal, as well as Maxime Rodinson and the Muslim convert Martin Lings and others also, use Tabari in their books about Muhammad. Haykal takes for granted that the daughter-in-law incident took place, and comes up with various apologetic explanations for it.

Meanwhile, this Muslim moderate has informed me that he is working on a piece attacking me and my work, which I expect to be as hostile, confused and disingenuous as his emails. But I mention this curious incident now because it is indicative of a tendency: the denial, the indignation, and the charges of ignorance and ill will have become the dispiritingly common ways in which all too many Muslim spokesmen respond to those who merely point out various aspects of Islamic tradition that make them uncomfortable.

Instead of working in constructive ways for reform, they prefer to demonize and vilify those who bring such material to light -- as if I really did make up the incident in which Muhammad married his daughter-in-law and somehow, through my black Zionist arts, made millions of Muslims believe it.

FP: So why is it that the reaction to your book from the Islamic world is primarily filled with insults at best and death threats at worst? Where is the tradition to actually counter with scholarship and argumentation for an honest and meticulous diagnosis of Muhammad’s life? Why do so many Muslims not embrace a close scrutiny of their Prophet’s life to get to the truth of who he actually was?

Even more curious is how many Muslims insist that their religion is about peace and yet, upon others’ disagreement, they become violent. What just happened with the Pope is a perfect example. Muslims get outraged that an implication has been made that their religion is one of violence, but then they react to this supposed defamation of their religion, and of their Prophet, by threatening and perpetrating violence.

What is the logic here?

I have myself received several death threats over the years from certain Muslims. Paradoxically, these death threats were preceded, in almost every case, with the perpetrator of the threat trying to insist to me that Islam is a religion of peace. This is how it would go: I get an email from a Muslim reprimanding me for some kind of comment or argument I made about Islam having a tenet of violence. The writer insists to me that Islam is a religion of peace. I respond by asking about and referring to the verses in the Qur’an that promote violence (i.e. 9:5). Then, within two or three exchanges, I start getting threatening emails – from the same individual who started out telling me that Islam is a religion of peace.

It is somewhat of a bizarre and tragic comedy, no?

Spencer: Yes it is, Jamie. In fact, the same bizarre and tragicomedy recently played out for me. I recently received several death threats from a Muslim who claimed that somehow I had insulted Islam by writing this biography of Muhammad. In one of them, he insisted that Islam was a religion of peace:

“I am coming to America to hunt down spencer. Very soon he will be delivered!"I will be violent against anyone who hurts muslim feelings about Prophet."It is a religion of peace for everyone until some duckhead sprews out his damn saliva on a senstive topic as this. Spencer will be delivered."He will be killed for sure. Tell you FBI and CIA. You dont know muslims. They will rip apart US you know why? because America has insulted their religion.”

I have come to expect this kind of furious reaction even from Muslims who don't threaten my life, but I have to say that it has been somewhat disappointing. When I first began to do this work publicly and published my first book, Islam Unveiled, I assumed that some thoughtful Muslim would deal with the questions I raised in it in the spirit in which they were offered, and map out a path by which the violent elements of Islamic teaching could be mitigated. Today I am no longer so naive.

FP: So let’s explore a bit of the psychology of many Muslim believers and their attitude toward Mohammed and supposed blasphemy etc. I am a bit puzzled by certain aspects of it.

For instance, I am a person of the Christian faith. I must say that if someone in my presence started making fun of Jesus or ridiculed him in some way – and started desecrating a Bible in front of me, I might be a bit taken aback or maybe slightly bruised in one way or another, but overall I wouldn’t really be too interested. Yes, it would be a shame that the Bible was desecrated. But in the end I didn’t do it. The desecrator did. Yes, I would most likely try to protect the Bible, and I would also say what I consider to be the truth about Jesus. But overall, whatever the turnout, I wouldn’t be severely traumatized and enraged, let alone out for blood, after such an episode.

All in all, in this portrait I paint, it is that person’s business what he is doing and thinking. If anything, I would probably just think he is a loser. And this person will deal with what he has done, said and thought in his own journey and in his own hour of judgment when it comes. His soul is not my soul. His business is his business and my business is my own. I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it, aside from maybe if I cared for him and was concerned for him.

I obviously do not speak for all Christians in my disposition toward these things, but overall there appears to be a substantial amount of tolerance and comfort in the Christian world in relation to non-Christian thought and anti-Christian ridicule – and also a certain awareness of private business. In Christianity there are boundaries between what people think, in the sense that there are notions of individuality, privacy and personal conscience, which appear to be almost non-existent in the Muslim religion and culture. This is in terms of the picture that many Muslims themselves present to us (i.e. the demonstrations and threats over the cartoons, the Pope’s statements, etc.)

Overall, I guess my point is that if someone engages in blasphemy in regards to my own religion, my mindset is that, if there is some kind of price to be paid for it, he will pay it. Why I am supposed to fly into a furious rage and start threatening or trying to kill someone and/or screaming with rage at some kind of demonstration is completely beyond me.

Can you enlighten me on the psychology here?

Spencer: Jamie, you're articulating one of the fundamental differences between the Christian and Islamic traditions. In Christianity, vengeance belongs to God only: "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord; I will repay" (Romans 12:19). But in Islam, the faithful are commanded to take revenge, for Allah will repay the offenders by means of the Muslim warriors: "Will ye not fight people who violated their oaths, plotted to expel the Messenger, and took the aggressive by being the first (to assault) you? Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame" (Qur'an 9:13-14). So in the first place, it is much more acceptable within an Islamic context than within a Christian one to avenge a wrong, and in Islam blaspheming or insulting the Prophet is a very serious wrongdoing.

Muhammad himself also sets an example for Muslims in this. He ordered the assassinations of several people who had dared to mock him and his prophetic pretensions - notably, two poets, Abu 'Afak and 'Asma bint Marwan. Abu 'Afak was reputed to be over one hundred years old, and had dared to criticize in verse Muhammad's killing of another of his opponents. Muhammad asked his men, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" He found a ready volunteer in a young Muslim named Salim bin 'Umayr, who dispatched the old poet as he lay sleeping. 'Asma bint Marwan, a poetess, was incensed when she heard of the murder of Abu 'Afak. She wrote verses denigrating the men of Medina for obeying "a stranger who is none of yours," and asked, "Is there no man of pride who would attack him by surprise and cut off the hopes of those who expect aught from him?"

When Muhammad heard of this, he looked to strike first, asking for a volunteer to kill her: "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" A Muslim named 'Umayr bin 'Adiy al-Khatmi took the job, and killed her along with her unborn child that very night. But after he had done the deed, 'Umayr began to worry that perhaps he had committed a grave sin. Muhammad reassured him:

"You have helped God and His apostle, O 'Umayr!" But would he incur punishment?"

Two goats," replied the Prophet of Islam, "won't butt their heads about her."

The men of 'Asma bint Marwan's tribe, the Banu Khatma, "saw the power of Islam" in her killing - so says Muhammad's first biographer, Ibn Ishaq. They duly acknowledged Muhammad as the Prophet of Allah (Ibn Ishaq, 675-676).

Muslims who claim that the killing of 'Asma bint Marwan was justified by her attempting to rally the men of Medina against Muhammad cannot make the same claim about the killing of Abu 'Afak. In any case, in these incidents, Muhammad, the "excellent example of conduct" (Qur'an 33:21), sets a precedent for his followers which we see working out in our own day with the international riots and killings over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad and the Pope's remarks: perceived insults are to be punished with death. No quarter given.

FP: Ok, fair enough, this is the ideological foundation perhaps, the teaching and example on the issue of punishment for dissent or criticism or whatever. But I am also prying more into the psychology.

There appears to be a general rage, and a general incapacity to hear other voices, in this mindset we are talking about. Aside from what the radicalized Muslim believes is the right thing to do, he is often himself seething with anger and ready to inflict violence at every moment’s turn.

Is this lust for violence and incapacity to hear other voices other than one’s own, perhaps connected to the non-existence of freedom and joy within the culture that much of Islam has engendered? So much is forbidden, and so many of the cultures are so devoid of entertainment and fun, that the only freedom becomes to punish others with violence?

Spencer: I don't think there's any doubt that there are significant forces in the Islamic world that are doing all they can to stoke rage and then channel it for their purposes. Some notorious recent examples include the fact that three more inflammatory cartoons of Muhammad were added to the ones that actually appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten in a dossier that was circulated in the Islamic world by Muslim leaders. Evidently they thought that the genuine cartoons weren't sufficient to induce the rage they wanted. Likewise the airing of a TV show depicting the Passover blood libel - Jews murdering a Christian child in order to use his blood in making Passover matzo - in Syria and Jordan does nothing but fan the flames of Islamic rage. And there is a veritable blizzard of such examples.

But aside from Islamic rage being stoked by leaders who plan to exploit it for a particular agenda (which primarily involves jihad recruitment), there is a deeper principle involved here. The Ayatollah Khomeini articulated it most vividly when he said:

"Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious."

In this he recalls something Lenin once said - that he enjoyed music but couldn't listen to it, as it made him want to embrace everyone and thus ran counter to the revolutionary spirit. Khomeini interpreted the Muslim prophet Muhammad's prohibition of music in much the same way: as a drug that diverted people away from their true purpose. "Music," he thundered, "corrupts the minds of our youth. There is no difference between music and opium. Both create lethargy in different ways. If you want your country to be independent, then ban music. Music is treason to our nation and to our youth."

I think the insight was sound: that music and other arts and forms of relaxation (Lenin gave up chess too, for much the same reason that he gave up music) soften the strength of the rage that is necessary for any revolutionary movement. And the Islamic jihad is just that - a revolutionary movement. Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi, a leading 20th century Pakistani Islamic thinker and activist, author of several influential books including Jihad in Islam and the massive Towards Understanding the Qur'an, and founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party), which is still an influential political party in Pakistan, stated this clearly:

"The truth is that Islam is not the name of a 'Religion,' nor is 'Muslim' the title of a 'Nation.' In reality Islam is a revolutionary ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals. 'Muslim' is the title of that International Revolutionary Party organized by Islam to carry into effect its revolutionary programme. And 'Jihad' refers to that revolutionary struggle and utmost exertion which the Islamic Party brings into play to achieve this objective."

Such a revolutionary struggle, of course, advances through violence. And that violence is provoked by rage. Rage thus becomes a cornerstone of a society that holds that revolutionary advance as one of its core principles.

FP: Some profound wisdom here, thank you sir. Again, I am trying to delve into the psychology of the mindset that rejects the notion that someone else’s thoughts are none of your business and that these thoughts are also disconnected from your own reality and happiness. I am interested in the phenomenon of why an individual would put such a high stake into what someone else is thinking, believing and saying. But you have helped to put this into context for us, thank you.

In any case, let’s move on.

I would like to touch on the Satanic Verses. This is a bit mystifying. According to Islamic teachings and sources themselves, the devil once spoke through Muhammad’s mouth. This is a bit odd, no? What exactly was this about and what exactly do Muslims think about this?

Spencer: The Islamic sources tell us that Muhammad's failure to convince his own tribesmen, the Quraysh, that he was a prophet grieved him. According to his earliest biographer, Ibn Ishaq, “the apostle was anxious for the welfare of his people, wishing to attract them as far as he could.” However, ultimately it was the leaders of the Quraysh who came to him with an offer to make him their king, with one condition: “desist from reviling our gods and do not speak evilly of them.” And they made an alternate offer: If you will not do so, we offer you one means which will be to your advantage and to ours.”

“What is it?”asked the Prophet of Islam.

“You will worship our gods, al-Lat and al-Uzza, for a year, and we shall worship your god for a year.”

Muhammad responded: “Let me see what revelation comes to me from my Lord.” And initially, the answer the Prophet of Islam received was sharply negative: “Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship, nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion” (Qur’an 109:1-6).

But still Muhammad longed for a way out of the impasse. He said: “I wish Allah had not revealed to me anything distasteful to them.” And finally he hit on a solution. A new revelation came to him, part of which is today found in sura 53 of the Qur’an. Ibn Ishaq states that when Muhammad declared that the goddesses of the Quraysh were “the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved.”

The Gharaniq were high-flying cranes. Muhammad meant that they were near Allah’s throne, and that it was legitimate for Muslims to pray to al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat, the three goddesses favored by the pagan Quraysh, as intercessors before Allah. The Quraysh were elated, and prostrated themselves with Muhammad. Word traveled quickly: “the Quraysh have accepted Islam.” Since peace seemed to be at hand, some of the Muslims who had earlier fled to Abyssinia for their safety began to return. But one principal player in the drama was not at all pleased: the angel Gabriel, the one whose appearing to Muhammad had given birth to Islam. He came to Muhammad and said: “What have you done, Muhammad? You have read to these people something I did not bring you from God and you have said what He did not say to you.”

Muhammad began to realize just how severely he had compromised his entire enterprise. “I have fabricated things against God and have imputed to Him words which He has not spoken.” He “was bitterly grieved and was greatly in fear” of Allah for having allowed his message to be adulterated by Satan. The Qur'an asserts that this happens to all prophets: “Never did We send a messenger or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom” (22:52). Indeed, it was all a test of the unbelievers: “That He may make the suggestions thrown in by Satan, but a trial for those in whose hearts is a disease and who are hardened of heart: verily the wrong-doers are in a schism far (from the Truth)” (22:53).

Allah sent down a new revelation to replace Satan’s words about al-Lat, al-’Uzza, and Manat; the corrected verses are found in sura 53 of the Qur’an.

Muhammad had returned to his original uncompromising monotheism; but unsurprisingly, his about-face only enflamed tensions with the Quraysh all the more. Ibn Ishaq recalls that the polytheists began to use this episode against him: "When the annulment of what Satan had put upon the prophet’s tongue came from God, Quraysh said: ‘Muhammad has repented of what he said about the position of your gods with Allah, altered it and brought something else.’ Now those two words which Satan had put upon the apostle’s tongue were in the mouth of every polytheist and they became more violently hostile to the Muslims and the apostle’s followers."

The Satanic verses incident, of course, has caused Muslims acute embarrassment for centuries. Indeed, it casts a shadow over the veracity of Muhammad’s entire claim to be a prophet. After all, if Satan could put words into Muhammad’s and make him think they were revelations from Allah once, he could again. Thus Islamic scholars, apologists, and historians have attacked it with particular ferocity and claimed it was a fabrication by Islam’s enemies.

Nevertheless, there remains the question of how and why such a story would have been fabricated and accepted as authentic by such pious Muslims in the eighth- and ninth-century: the historians Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa’d and Tabari, as well as by the later Qur’anic commentator Zamakhshari (1074-1143), who is unlikely to have recounted it if he had not thought it based on reliable sources, and others. Here, as in many other areas, the witness of the early Islamic sources is compelling. While events may be explained in other ways, those who would wish away the Satanic verses cannot get around the fact that these elements of Muhammad’s life were not the inventions of his enemies, but were passed along by men who believed he was indeed the prophet of Allah.

FP: As I mentioned earlier, we have many friends and allies in the Islamic world. There are many courageous Muslims, like Hassan Shahid and Tarek Fatah, who have tried to bring out the humane side of their religion and have been threatened because of their valiant efforts. What can non-Muslims do most effectively to help true Muslim moderates and reformers such as these to weaken the hold that fanatics have on Islam?

Spencer: Jamie, I consider this book, The Truth About Muhammad, to be an attempt to help sincere Muslim reformers fight the jihadist hardliners. After all, no reform can be accomplished without there first being an acknowledgment that some things need reforming. Muslim reformers today are confronted daily by jihadists who invoke Muhammad's example to justify what they are doing. As I show in the book, several years ago Zarqawi pointed to beheadings ordered by Muhammad to justify the beheadings he was carrying out in Iraq. Nor was this by any means an isolated example. A British Muslim called for a new massacre of the Jews, in imitation of Muhammad's massacre of the Jewish Qurayzah tribe, when Israeli troops entered Lebanon earlier this year. And there are many other similar examples quoted in the book.

In the face of this, what are Muslim reformers to do? They can deny that the Hadith ever says that Muhammad really did these things -- a tactic to which many pseudo-reformers have resorted in order to capitalize upon the ignorance of Western non-Muslims. Or they can acknowledge that he did do these things, and re-evaluate his status as the supreme example for human behavior for Muslims, formulating new ways to live out his example in a non-literal fashion in the 21st century. I believe that the latter is the only path to formulating a way for Muslims to live in peace with non-Muslims as equals on an indefinite basis, with no imperative to impose Sharia at any point in the future. But no steps can be taken toward this at all unless the aspects of his example that are being used to justify violence are confronted forthrightly.

FP: Thank you for joining us today Mr. Spencer:

Spencer: Thank you. At a time when most conservative and liberal media outlets cower in fear before jihadist intimidation and refuse even to discuss these important issues, FP's courage, and the ability it offers to be candid and politically incorrect, are immensely refreshing.

Click Here to support

Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Soviet Studies. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s new book
Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of the new book 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

Ann Coulter: Jihad is Fun! Vote Democrat!
November 1, 2006

John Kerry is the "botched joke" of American politics. For those of you keeping score at home, John Kerry has now called members of the U.S. military (a) stupid, (b) crazy, (c) murderers, (d) rapists, (e) terrorizers of Iraqi women and children. I wonder what he'll call them tomorrow. Whatever Karl Rove is paying John Kerry to say stupid things, it's worth every penny.

Now, back to the midterm elections ... Analysts place the average midterm loss for the party in the White House at around 15 to 44 seats, depending on which elections are counted — only elected presidents, midterm elections since the Civil War, midterm elections since World War II, comparable-sized congresses, first and second midterm elections and so on. The average first midterm election loss for every elected president since 1914 is 27 House seats and three Senate seats. The average sixth-year midterm election, like this year, is much worse for the president's party, which typically loses 34 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate. This makes the average loss in two midterm elections for the party in the White House: 30 House seats and four or five Senate seats in each midterm election.

In his first midterm election, George W. Bush picked up six House seats and two Senate seats — making him, according to The New York Times, "the first Republican president to gain House seats in an off-year election" and only the third president of either party to pick up House seats in a midterm election since the Civil War.

This means that for Democrats simply to match the historical average gain for the party out of the White House during the first and second midterm, they would have to pick up 67 seats in the House and 11 seats in the Senate. They're about 30 Mark Foleys short of having that happen. It at least seems clear that Democrat gains this year are going to fall far short of the historical average. No poll has the Democrats winning even half of their rightful midterm gains.

Despite the precedent of big wins in midterm elections for the party out of power — especially in a sixth-year midterm election — something is depressing the Democrats' popularity with Americans this year. I suspect it's the perception that many of them are Democrats. But instead of recognizing that the Democratic Party is a dying party, falling far short of its due historical gains, any gain by the Democrats will be hailed as a crowning mandate for the party that wants to lose the Iraq war, shut down Guantanamo and stop spying on Islamic terrorists on U.S. soil.

Even a dying party has death throes. If Democrats win a slight majority in the House or Senate, Americans will get shrill, insane leadership of the nation in time of war. Democrats can't not be crazy. They will instantly set to work enacting a national gay marriage law, impeachment hearings, slavery reparations and a series of new federal felonies for abortion clinic protesters.

The only way to get Democrats to focus on terrorists would be to convince them that the terrorists are interfering with a woman's right to choose or that commercial jetliners exploding in midair are a threat to America's wetlands.

The probable new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is in a catfight with Rep. Jane Harman for not being insane enough. Pelosi has indicated she will deny Harman the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee, instead giving it to Rep. Alcee Hastings, whom Pelosi voted to impeach from his federal judgeship in 1988 for conspiring to extract a $150,000 bribe from convicted criminals in return for lowering their sentences. An O.J. jury had acquitted Hastings on the bribery charge in a criminal proceeding, though his alleged co-conspirator, attorney William Borders, was convicted. But the evidence of Hastings' bribery plot was so overwhelming that a Democratic House voted to impeach Hastings 413-3 on 17 separate counts — including falsifying evidence to win his acquittal in the criminal case, and a majority Democratic Senate voted to convict Hastings on the very first count by 69-26, enough to remove him from office.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. — another finalist for the coveted "craziest Democrat in congress" title — led the charge for Hastings' impeachment, saying the judge had "betrayed his office." In addition to having a history of soliciting bribes from criminals before his court, Hastings wants to shut down Guantanamo, and he adamantly opposes the U.S. government listening to phone calls from al-Qaida phones to anyone in America (especially federal judges negotiating bribery deals by telephone).

As millions of lunatic Muslims plot to murder Americans, some Americans — we call them "Soccer Moms" — will cast a vote to save Michael J. Fox this year. In the process, they will put all Americans at risk by voting for a frivolous, dying party.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jonah Goldberg: Kerry, Kerry, Quite Contrary

The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:10/31/2006 08:42:35 PM MST

Well, Sen. John Kerry certainly did his best to offer an October surprise for Republicans at the last minute.

On Monday, Kerry was in California, stumping for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides. At an event at Pasadena City College intended to highlight Democratic education policies, Kerry told students, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well." But, he added, "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

The Internet lit up like a pinball machine. Sen. John McCain called on Kerry to apologize. Shortly thereafter the grand whirligig of the GOP message machine started churning, with denunciatory press releases from the usual suspects. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow asked the press to ask Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Webb of Virginia - a veteran and the father of a soldier in Iraq - if he agreed with Kerry's comments.

In response, Kerry issued a splenetic statement: "I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed-suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium. ... It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country, lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have. ... Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they're afraid to debate real men."

This raises an interesting question:

Can a typed diatribe still be spittle-flecked?

Later, Kerry did find a podium in Seattle and more or less read the same statement for the cameras.

Presumably, Kerry doesn't believe that McCain is either a stuffed-suit Republican hack or a cowardly service-slacking liar. Nor should it matter. Either what Kerry said was wrong or it wasn't. Neither his service nor his critics' lack thereof changes the meaning of what Kerry said.

But what did he say? Kerry insists he was making a joke about President Bush, not a joke about students who aren't smart enough to do better than the military. While there's virtually nothing in the text or video of his remarks to lend support for this, save for a wan smile he offered to the mute audience, it's possible that was his intent. After all, Kerry is an awful politician, a human toothache with the charisma of a 19th-century Oxford Latin tutor. One can't rule out the possibility that he simply botched a joke.

If it was a joke, it was a pretty bad one, even for him. First, Bush got better grades than Kerry at Yale. More relevant, if launching the Iraq war is a sign of stupidity and a failure to do one's homework, Kerry should avoid calling attention to the fact that he voted to approve it and defended that vote throughout his 2004 presidential campaign.

But whether or not it was a joke, it certainly sounded like Kerry was talking about the troops, because that's the way Kerry talks about everything. Kerry's a bit like one of those cavemen from the Geico commercials, only he's a throwback to a slightly more recent era: Vietnam. All of his ideas were formed from his experience as an anti-Vietnam crusader. He may have run as a born-again war hero in 2004, but his political career was founded on his activism against a war he repeatedly labeled a crime.

That's why few gave Kerry the benefit of the doubt. The idea that the military is the last refuge for the lumpen-proletariat is a Vietnam-era chestnut that continues to pop up in liberal talking points. It wasn't very accurate during Vietnam, and it's even less so now. A timely study of the demographics of enlistees in our all-volunteer military found that the share of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods has declined steadily since 1999 and throughout the war. Moreover, "U.S. military enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on average than their civilian peers."

Kerry thinks it's unfair for Republicans to seize on his comments, and to an extent he's right. He obviously didn't intend to insult America's servicemen and women. But Kerry fails to understand that he -- like so many fossils of his generation in the Democratic Party -- sounds like he's frozen in the past. The Democratic position on Iraq is that it's Vietnam all over again, and the only time Kerry ever seems sure of himself is when he's reprising his anti-Vietnam schtick.

Sure, Republicans are seizing on his comments with the same opportunistic zeal Democrats displayed when they recently tried to paint the GOP as soft on sexual predation on congressional pages. But Kerry -- like much of his party -- seems determined to lend plausibility to such criticisms.

You can write to Jonah Goldberg by e-mail at

Book Review: 'America Alone' by Mark Steyn

By Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu
November 1, 2006

America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It
by Mark Steyn
Regnery Publishing
256 pp
ISBN: 0895269786

In America Alone, Mark Steyn presents us with a doomsday scenario backed by impeccable science and research, and he does it in such a clever manner that we are actually amused as we read of the impending demise of Europe-as-we-knew-it, Japan, and Canada.

Why are they failing? Procreation, or more pointedly, the lack thereof. Populations in Russia, Italy, and the Low Countries may have already passed the point of no return. Canada is on the borderline. America, on the other hand, appears to have a sustainable reproductive level, a fact that ought to make some Canucks wish that General Hull had won in 1812 after all.

One of the most interesting sidebars of America Alone is that the front jacket blurb – the spot that most authors and publishers reserve for their prized quotation – is a comment from Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki al-Faisal. The Prince is succinct in his praise, saying that “The arrogance of Mark Steyn knows no bounds.” How many of us would have the guts to stick a quotation like that on our covers?

But the Saudi prince’s quotation is germane to the thesis of the book. Along with what he terms a voluntary demographic decline akin to “cultural suicide,” Steyn juxtaposes the decline of European numbers beside the fecund Islamic population. The result is a precipitous axis of European decline already overtaken by an exploding Muslim population, generally termed “Asian or African immigrants” by the willfully blind Euromedia.

Thanks to virulent Whabbist imams in the new mosques, the immigrants are uniformly anti-Europe, anti-assimilation, and very pro-Islamofascist. For the latter, Steyn notes, we need to thank His Highness, the Saudi prince and the rest of the House of Saud “royal” family. After all, it is their excess petrodollars that provide the comp and benefits package for the imams along with training in what – absent those dollars – would have remained a rather quaint if violent Whabbist Islamic cult lost somewhere out in the desert.

Where America Alone resonates particularly is in the realization of the stark inevitability of the inexorable tide of radical Islam eroding at the basis of the Greco-Roman Judeo-Christian culture that has sustained Western philosophy and culture for more than two millennia.

We dismiss the potency of the Whabbist Islamic philosophy at our peril. They don’t want to live beside us, nor do they particularly lust for our material or scientific wealth. In fact, they reject these cultural niceties as entirely dispensable contrasted to the overwhelming goal of establishing a sharia state upon the rest of the world. Democracy? Don’t need it when you have a caliphate headed by a political-religious leader who knows what’s best for you better than you do. Steyn summarizes it nicely: “Pre-modern Islam beats post-modern Christianity” for its political potency.

Steyn spends time on another suicidal cult, post-modern multiculturalism, with all of its wacky permutations and self-flagellations. By refusing to be judgmental and by according all cultures equal value, he argues, we diminish ourselves. But by setting out deliberately to denigrate our own culture the result is that the other cultures become superior. Such is the case in Europe and much of left-elitist America where it is insufficient merely to “respect” Islam but seems necessary to elevate it as superior to what it is eager to replace. How do the Muslims react to such culture-deprecating humility? By moving in ever more rapaciously, with contempt for the “weak horse” ideology of the “multiculti.”

Steyn also spends time discussing what Robert Kaplan terms the “re-primitivization” of human beings by Islamofascism. He shows how absolute irrational behavior can characterize people who comfortably possess the trappings of a modern civilization – cell phones, airline travel, the Internet – and yet do not sign up for its underpinning values. Steyn cites a case in Sudan where a man generated hysteria by claiming to have lost his penis while shaking hands with a foreigner. “Here’s the telling detail,” he notes, “the vanishing-penis hysteria was spread by cell phones and text messaging.”

More awful than the faintly amusing disappearing-penis phenomenon is the fact that what the press calls “British-born of Asian descent” meaning Pakistanis or other Muslims, UK citizens who love football and fish-and-chips, and boast about downloading the latest beheadings of infidels broadcast by al Jazeera or on Islamist websites to watch over and over again on their cell phones and to share with friends. In this bloodlust, they are encouraged by the radical imams (Saudi trained, of course) that preach from the many mosques that are now so filled to bursting that a new mega-mosque is planned to be erected beside the 2012 Olympic facilities. Many Londoners proudly point to this as yet another sign of their open-minded multiculturalism.

So what’s to do? Steyn offers three solutions (alert: giving away the ending here!). They boil down to 1) capitulate to Islam, 2) destroy Islam, or 3) reform Islam. He rejects the first two, and lists several recommendations for Islamic reform. In this, I think that he may exhibit uncharacteristic optimism, but absent an apocalypse – which is also highly desirable by some Iranian characters – it may be our only approach to problem solving. For this Steyn is to be commended, for most commentators are unable even to admit the problem much less offer solutions.

Mark Steyn has written a most amazing, entertaining, informative, and necessary book. Even before I finished it, I bought copies and sent them to my kids. He will be attacked as arrogant (done, see cover), bigoted, shallow, and tendentious. Steyn’s America Alone is none of these. This is a must-read work that will be germane for decades, or until the last native European turns off the light (or has it turned off for him by a knife-wielding Muslim shrieking Allahu Akbar!).

America Alone is an essential part of every thinking person’s library and must be purchased immediately. On the outside chance that your friends may be snoozing, it is wise to give copies to as many people as you know. It is a wonderful read and an essential component in recognizing the deadly challenges we face as this new century begins to unwind.

Click Here to support

Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu has been an Army Green Beret lieutenant colonel, as well as a writer, popular speaker, business executive and farmer. His most recent book is Separated at Birth, about North and South Korea.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Don Feder: Oh, Those Mischievous Muslims!

Don Feder
October 31, 2006

I should seriously write a book called, The Idiots Guide To Not Thinking Seriously About Islam.
It’s hard to find a subject where mushy thinking is more in vogue – where political correctness conquers reality more thoroughly. People actually are afraid to think seriously on the subject, because the logical conclusions are too frightening for many to contemplate.

And so, there’s no place where comfortable clich├ęs are more readily deployed.

Probably the most glaring illustration of inanity here were recent comments by his Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

On leaving a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the leader of Tibetan Buddhists told reporters that we can’t hold all Muslims responsible for the misdeeds of a few.

The Lama: "Nowadays, I often express that due to a few mischievous Muslims’ acts we should not consider all Muslims as something bad. That is very unfair."

Expanding on this dazzling analysis, the Dalai Lama continued: "A few mischievous people you can find from all religions – among Muslims and Christians and Jews and Buddhists. To generalize is not correct."

O.K., now I know this will get me scratched from the invite list for Richard Gere’s New Year’s Eve party, but I just gotta ask: When was the last time a bald guy in a saffron robe threatened to kill someone he believed had insulted the Buddha?

While we’re at it, when was the last time a gang of Talmudic scholars tried to blow up anything? Did the Vatican put out a fatwah on "DaVinci Code" author Dan Brown? The last holy war committed in the name of Christianity was over 800 years ago. If Hindus behead hostages, I’ve somehow managed to miss it.

"A few mischievous Muslims" makes kidnapping, torture, beheadings, bomb plots, mass murder and death threats sound like schoolboy pranks. It’s September 11, 2001, and some high-spirited Muslim merrymakers just crashed two planes into the World Trade Center, slaughtering 3,000 innocents. What a lark!

Here are some recent examples of Muslim high-jinks:

* In Iraq, Father Paulis Iskander, a Syrian-Orthodox priest, was kidnapped by a few Muslim pranksters. After good-naturedly torturing him, they beheaded the priest. This was in retaliation for Pope Benedict XVI’s quote of a 14th century Byzantine emperor. Jihadists apparently missed the Catholic-Orthodox schism (1054 AD) -- or maybe all Crusaders look the same to them.

* There are 1 million Assyrian Christians in Iraq – but not for long. They’ve been targeted by every side in the civil war. On September 24th, two bombs exploded in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Baghdad. Earlier, a church was bombed in Basra.

* Muslims celebrated their holy month of Ramadan by racking up an impressive body count -- more than 1,600 dead in 280 separate terror attacks in 17 countries. As I recall, for my bar mitzvah, I didn’t kill anyone. But I did hurt someone’s feelings on Passover, once.

* In a recent column, former New York Mayor Ed Koch reports on a meeting he had with Pope John Paul II in the early 1990s. Forthright fellow that he is, Koch asked the Pope why the Vatican didn’t recognize Israel (it did a few years later), Koch says John Paul II replied: "It will happen someday, but it can’t happen now. I have a responsibility to the Catholics who live in Koranic lands and who would be in danger if we recognized Israel." This wasn’t paranoia. John Paul knew exactly what happens when Muslims get testy.

* In Germany, the government is starting to crack down on an estimated 5,000 Islamist websites that are "spreading hatred" and "hawking terror." I see, those few mischievous Muslims must all be web-site designers and computer geeks.

* Then again, perhaps they’re all involved in mass communications. The American-Muslim TV network, broadcasting in six states to a potential audience of two million, says its mission is "to improve the image of Muslims in the United States." Recent programming included the broadcast of an anti-Semitic/anti-Christian sermon, with the supplication: "May God destroy them."

* In Atlanta, Ethiopian immigrant Khalid Adem is on trial for circumcising his then-two-year-old daughter. Female genital mutilation is all the rage among African Muslims.

* Islamic funsters tend to be particularly hard on the ladies. There are as many as 300,000 runaway girls in happenin’ Iran, some as young as 9. It’s estimated that 86% of the runaways were rejected by their families after they were raped. In Prophet-land, rape is shameful – for the victim.

* Islam’s rhetorical war against the hated Zionist entity continues. In Karachi, Pakistan, a few mischievous Muslims – well, 6,000 to be exact – marched through the streets shouting "Death to Israel! Death America." That’s how Muslim merrymakers celebrate Al-Qods Day (or Jerusalem Day).

* His Naziness Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (president of 68 million waggish Iranians) continues to assure us that Israel will be "wiped from the map," the Holocaust is a "myth," and any nation that sides with the Jewish state will face the "boiling wrath" of adherents to the religion of peace.
* On October 24, the Taliban announced it was planning attacks on civilian targets in Europe, in revenge for the invasion of Afghanistan that resulted in toppling its regime. A Taliban commander observed on Sky News television: "It’s acceptable to kill ordinary people in Europe because these are the people who have voted in the government…. We will kill them and laugh over them." Like the Dalai Lama said, these guys have a sense of humor.

* As noted earlier, there is no freedom of conscience in Islam (or freedom of anything else). In Ethiopia, in July, a mischievous Muslim mob attacked a group of Christians in the city of Henno. The victims included two prominent Christians who had converted from Islam. The Muslim scamps used knives, stones and metal bars to reinforce the point that – like the Syndicate – there’s only one way out of this organization.

* The Afghans who kidnapped Italian journalist Gabriele Torsello have offered to exchange him for Abdul Rahman, a Christian convert forced to flee the country. His own family wants Rahman dead. Bring back Rahman so we may instruct him in the finer points of Sharia, the abductors of Torsello plead.

* In Britain, there are veiled threats over the suggestion by Tony Blair and others, that some Muslim chicks stop dressing like they just stepped off a camel caravan (full face veil).
Perhaps the Brits are thinking that if their homegrown Sons and Daughters of Allah were more assimilated, they wouldn’t be subjected to high-spirited pranks like the 2005 London transit bombings (52 commuters dead) or the foiled August plot to blow up 10 U.S.-bound jetliners (with a potential death toll exceeding 9/11)

* Across the Channel, Robert Redeker (a French high-school philosophy teacher) is a marked man, since the publication of his September 19 piece in Le Figaro, wherein he called the Koran "a book of extraordinary violence" (Hello, Dalai!) and observed that Mohammed was "a pitiless warlord, pillager , massacrer of Jews and polygamist" – in other words, a 7th century Arabian rascal. E-mail death threats started pouring in the day the article ran. One naughty website published a map showing the exact location of his home, along with photos of Redeker and his workplace. (An e-mail amusingly informed the teacher: "You will never feel secure on this earth. One billion, three hundred million Muslims are ready to kill you.")

* All it took was one guy named Mohammed to murder Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, for making a movie about the treatment of women in the wacky world of Islam. Van Gogh was shot, stabbed and had his throat slashed. A note by the killer, pinned to his body, read, "I did what I did purely out of my beliefs."

* A spokesman for a French police union says Muslim youths are waging a "civil war" against the gendarmes. The Gallic intifada that started last November never really stopped. At one point last year, disaffected "youth," as the French press discretely calls them, were torching 1,300 cars a night, to cries of "Allahu Akbar." Rioting spread to 300 French cities and spilled over into Belgium and Germany. Now, whenever French cops go to housing projects they are assaulted with everything from stones to guns to Molotov cocktails. Nearly 2,500 officers have been injured this year.

* To return to the Dalai Lama’s daft observation, while it is undoubtedly true that most Muslims don’t want to jihad us – there are enough who do. In a 2005 survey by The Daily Telegraph, one quarter of British Muslims said they had at least some sympathy with their coreligionists who murdered 52 random Brits in the July commuter bombings. One-quarter of a million is more than "a few."

Add to this number the minions of al-Qaeda, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Jihad-this, and Army of God-that, the mobs in Tehran, Karachi and Dar es Saalam etc., the ayatollahs, imams, sheiks, mullahs, their blind followers and rabid supporters – not to mention the Saudis funding radical mosques and madrassahs from Queens to Calcutta and beyond. It all adds up to a whole lot of Muslim mischief-making.

And let’s not forget the millions (tens of millions? hundreds of millions?) of Muslims who aren’t actually killing anyone, or condoning the killing of anyone (except Jews, of course), who nevertheless think it would be swell if the whole world lived under Islamic law – with honor-killings and genital-mutilation for all.

Now, here’s the really scary part: As Mark Steyn points out in his book America Alone: The End of The World As We Know It, between 1970 and 2000, while the share of the world’s population represented by industrialized nations fell from just under 30% to just over 20%, the mischievous nations (whose principal manufactured products are jihad and general theological nuttiness) went from 15% to around 20%.

What nations have the highest fertility rates? So sorry you asked. (and you will be too when you see the answer) -- Niger (7.46 children per woman), Mali (7.42), Somalia (6.76), Afghanistan (6.69) and Yemen (6.58). Says Steyn: "Notice what they have in common? Starts with an I, ends with a slam."

For comparison, the fertility rate in the U.S. is 2.11, about replacement level. That’s high next to Canada (1.5), Germany (1.3), Russia and Italy (1.2) and Spain (1.1). Of the 10 nations with the lowest birthrates, 9 are in Europe.

It gets worse. Consider the percentage of population currently under 15 years of age – a harbinger of future demographic growth – Spain and Germany (14%), the U.K. (18%), the U.S. (21%), Saudi Arabia (39%), Pakistan (40%) and Yemen (47%).

We’re told that Muslims are 10% of the population of France. But of "Frenchmen" under 20, 30% are mischievous. In the U.K. there are more Moslems in mosque each week than Christians attending Church of England services.

Forget suicide bombs; they’re detonating population bombs.

Should we "consider all Muslims as something bad"? Of course not. Should we consider Islam as something bad? That’s an entirely different question – one which politicians, Lamas and the mainstream media studiously avoid – when they’re not babbling about the "religion of peace."

And if Islam itself is "something bad" – if a faith embraced by 1.3 billion people contains within it the seeds of the evil we see all around us (requiring only the right conditions to germinate) – what does that say for the future of a world where Islam is the fastest growing religion?

Some of us live on comfortable estates in India, writing books about inner-peace and harmony, while contemplating the sound of one hand clapping. Others of us live in the real world.

This column originally appeared on

Click Here to support

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website,

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bob Ryan: Red was just full of color

Icon interesting on, off the court
The Boston Globe
October 30, 2006

What most people don't realize is that Red Auerbach married the prettiest girl in town. Even in her 70s, Dorothy (Lewis) Auerbach was an elegant presence in the finest Sophia Loren sense, and one can only imagine what a head-turning traffic-stopper she must have been when young Arnie Auerbach slipped that ring on her finger oh so many years ago.

But should we be surprised? We already knew Red had an eye for talent. Well, yes, there was the problem with his original dismissal of Bob Cousy as merely an overrated favorite of the "local yokels," but in time Red proved he knew how to make better use of The Cooz's singular talents than anyone else ever could have imagined.

The Cousy episode was one of the very few professional misjudgments in the career of the most important non-playing person in the history of professional basketball. That's a non-negotiable premise. Red was coaching the Washington Capitols when the Basketball Association of America (BAA) began play there in 1946 (the BAA merged with the National Basketball League three years later to form the National Basketball Association) and he was still the Celtics' team president almost 60 years to the day from the BAA's first game. No one in NBA history ever has had more influence on the sport.

We also know that no sports person (which would include Connie Mack and George Halas) ever was associated longer with any team. Red Auerbach was the embodiment of the Boston Celtics for nearly 57 years.

The Red Auerbach folklore is extensive: The seven basic plays, plus options. The victory cigar. The Chinese food. The legendarily bad driving. The way he protected the owner du jour's money even better than he did his own. The love of Asian art and furniture. The letter opener collection. The image of him with the rolled-up program battling such referee foils as Sid Borgia and Mendy Rudolph. The love of tennis and racquetball. The chutzpah to draft the NBA's first black player, Chuck Cooper, in 1950; the further chutzpah to start five black players in the 1964-65 season; and even more chutzpah to name Bill Russell his successor when he retired from coaching in 1966.

And more: The fact that during the Bird Era he was not to be disturbed between 4 and 5 in his office because that's when he watched "Hawaii 5-0." The cab driver who may have persuaded him not to leave Boston for the Knicks. The pioneering '50s and '60s State Department trips that spread the basketball gospel to Europe, Asia, and Africa. The ceaseless and touching devotion to George Washington University, his alma mater. The Red Auerbach Basketball Camp at Camp Milbrook, the second week of which officially became the Celtics' Rookie camp, as well. The propagation of the Celtics as Family.

Stories tumble out of all the above, and even if you were to hear 10 tales for each Auerbach idiosyncrasy, foible, or association, you still wouldn't know the half of what he was like. But I'll tell you one thing he was, and that was larger than life.

I'm 24. I have just finished my first year of covering the Celtics and it is Draft Day, 1970. I walk into Red's office, where he would make his selections into a squawk box connected to the league headquarters in New York (it was not quite the extensive production it is today), and as soon as he sees me, he barks, "Ryan, I ought to cut your [very private part] off!"

My crime? I had written that his 1962 choice of John Havlicek, long assumed to have been the product of superior Auerbach prescience, actually had been the result of a strong recommendation from then-team promotion director (and fellow Hall of Famer) Bill Mokray.

Red liked to get to the point. Early in the 1974-75 season, he had to come out of coaching retirement to run the club when Tom Heinsohn had taken sick. Assistant coach John Killilea had just presented an elaborate scouting report on the Portland Trail Blazers, X-ing and O-ing on the blackboard all over the place, as dedicated coaches are wont to do. When Killilea was done, Auerbach addressed the team.

"All that was very nice," he acknowledged. "You want to win this game? Block out on the boards and play defense! Now get outta here!"

You could never underestimate Red's wry humor. He once said to me, "Who's the best sixth man in the history of the NBA?" I guessed, naturally, Havlicek. Red said, "No." I tried Billy Cunningham. Then I guessed Ernie Vandeweghe. Again, "No."

"The answer," Red said, "is Chinky Shapiro."

"Who?" I said. "Chinky Shapiro. He was the timer in Rochester." Red was full of surprises. I used to chat him up on occasion before home games at his midcourt seat at the Old Garden. During one of these sessions, a rather va-va-voomish young lady sauntered up the steps. It was hard not to take notice. Red's expression never changed, but he could see by the look on my face I was wondering if he had paid any attention. "What?" he said. "You think I didn't see that?"

I mean, he did scoop up Dorothy Lewis.

If Dorothy Lewis had been his best draft choice, Bill Russell was surely his second. Five, seven, nine, or 11 championships down the road, the move to make Bill Russell a Celtic in the 1956 draft may have looked like a rather obvious decision, but that was not at all the case. Russell was something new, and many NBA traditionalists didn't really know what to make of him. After all, Red and owner Walter Brown did have to scheme with both St. Louis and Rochester to get Russell's rights. How many times after losing games to the Celtics do you think they'd have liked a do-over?

But Red absolutely, positively knew that Russell was the answer to his prayers. Conversely, Red was the answer to Russell's. The latter has said many times that he never would have been the NBA player he turned out to be had he been playing for any other coach. Red knew who Russell was, both professionally and, more important, personally. He knew how to appeal to Russell's pride to get the necessary work done, and he knew when to back off. Treat Russell the same way he did everyone else? Red knew better.

He always knew. He did not deal with Cousy the way he did with Heinsohn, or with Heinsohn the way he did with Sam Jones, or with Sam the way he did with Satch Sanders, or with Satch the way he did with Frank Ramsey. His basketball mind was great, but his understanding of individual personalities was even better.

Consider some of the advice contained in his splendid and timeless 1952 book, "Basketball For The Player, The Coach and The Fan." Under the heading, ATTITUDE of PLAYER to HIS TEAMMATES, he tells us:

1) You must think of getting along with your teammates, because if you are not well liked, it is easy for them to "freeze you out."

2) Show a desire to block or screen for your teammates so that they will do the same for you.

3) Show your teammates that you will take the good shots. Don't appear too "hungry."

4) Don't hold the ball. Look for men cutting.

5) Dribble with a purpose. Don't just stand there hugging the ball or dribbling aimlessly while your teammates continually cut.

6) Help your teammates on defense. Switch whenever necessary.

7) Don't chide a teammate whose man happens to score. Often, it's the fault of your whole team.

8) Don't be too chummy with one or two players. Avoid obvious cliques.

9) Don't discuss the faults of any teammate with the other members of the team.

10) Don't give the impression that you are always hanging around the coach and discussing your teammates with him, unless, of course, you are the captain and the coach asks your opinion.

11) When scrimmaging, don't loaf or take it easy. This will keep the high respect of your teammates. Remember, "There are no friends on the other team, even in practice."

Red was enormously proud of that book, which had a long run and was translated into a score of languages. So here he is, speaking wisdom from the grave 54 years later. What coach on any team in the world would not be thrilled if his players were to absorb those lessons?

The person Red knew best, of course, was himself. He walked away from coaching at age 48, tired of being the coach (no assistants in those days), general manager, and traveling secretary all by himself. Before the 1965-66 season, he announced to the world that it would have one last shot at him. It took seven tough games against the Lakers, but he went out on top.

He then went on to a second career as the best team executive the NBA ever has known, before settling into the permanent role of playing Red Auerbach, in which he was his alternately irascible and charming self to the end.

There was a time more than a year ago, for example, when he was gravely ill, and it appeared he was on his way out. But he did awake, and a friend, Rob Ades, said to him, "Red, we thought we were going to lose you."

Red looked at him. "I'll decide," he rasped.

God, I miss him already.

Bob Ryan can be reached at