What Did You Say About Muhammad?!

As Muslims fume over Western cartoons of Muhammad, check out the disturbing things non-Westerners publicly say — and get away with — about the prophet. (And don’t miss Zombie: “Fatwa Headbutt: Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks attacked.”)

by Raymond Ibrahim

Which is more likely to elicit an irate Muslim response: 1) public cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, or 2) public proclamations that Muhammad was a bisexual, sometime transvestite and necrophile, who enjoyed sucking on the tongues of children, commanded a woman to “breastfeed” an adult man, and advised believers to drink his urine for salutary health?

Based on the recent South Park fiasco — where an animated episode depicting Muhammad in a bear suit sparked outrage among various Muslim groups, culminating with the usual death threats — the answer is clear: cartoons, once again, have proven to be the Muslim world’s premiere provocateur. Indeed, just yesterday, during a university lecture, Swedish artist Lars Vilks, whose life is in jeopardy due to his depiction of Muhammad as a dog, was violently assaulted to undulations of “Allahu Akbar!” (Islam’s primordial war cry).

Yet how can cartoons rouse Muslim ire more than public assertions that Muhammad was a bisexual, a transvestite, a necrofile, et al? First, context:

The evangelical Arabic satellite station, al-Haya (Life TV), regularly takes the Muslim prophet to task, especially on two weekly programs: Hiwar al-Haq (Truth Talk), hosted by Coptic priest Fr. Zakaria Botros, and Su’al Jari’ (Daring Question), hosted by ex-Muslim Rashid. Both shows revolve around asking uncomfortable questions about Islam and its founder in an effort to prompt Muslims to reconsider the legitimacy of their faith. (It is on these shows that the aforementioned, unflattering assertions of Muhammad originate; see here and here for English summaries.)

These broadcasts are viewed by millions of Arabic-speaking Muslims around the world. That the satellite station strikes a Muslim nerve is evinced by the fact that it is formally banned in several Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, and is regularly condemned by Islam’s demagogues on mainstream Arabic media, including al Jazeera.

When the programs first began airing, they certainly caused uproar in the Muslim world. Then, Muslims regularly called in cursing the hosts, promising them death and destruction (both here and in the hereafter). Al-Qaeda reportedly put a $60 million bounty on Fr. Zakaria’s head; and the priest is on CAIR’s radar. (See the father explain his mission in this rare English interview.)

Far from being cowed by the daily death threats, however, Life TV and its unrepentant hosts have responded by upping the ante and providing even more anecdotes discrediting Muhammad. Rashid recently examined the theological implications of Muhammad’s hatred for the gecko lizard, which the prophet accused of being “an infidel and enemy of the believers.” Muslims who kill it in the first strike receive 100 “heavenly-points,” whereas those who kill it in two strikes receive only 70. More graphically, Fr. Zakaria recently examined canonical hadiths (authenticated Muslim accounts) that record Islam’s first believers eating Muhammad’s feces, marinating food in his sweat, drinking the water he gargled and spit out, and smearing his phlegm all over their faces — all to his approval.

Needless to say, Life TV’s hosts — especially the flamboyant Fr. Zakaria — are hated by Muslims around the world. But to the careful observer, the outrage appears to be subsiding, ostensibly replaced by apathy — that is, the default strategy when threats and displays of indignation fail. Most callers are now Muslim converts to Christianity, who encourage and thank Fr. Zakaria and Rashid (often in tears). Conversely, the diminishing angry callers usually spew a barrage of insults, culminating with a “may-you-burn-in-hell,” and quickly — almost as if ashamed of their childish behavior — hang up.

Now, back to our original observation: how can Life TV get away with outlandish weekly disparagements concerning Muhammad, whereas Western cartoons spark widespread outrage? Considering that millions of more Muslims watch Life TV than have ever heard of South Park makes the question doubly puzzling.

The answer is simple: the South Park incident is less a reflection of Muslim anger and more of Western appeasement. By constantly buckling in to the slightest Muslim displeasure — whether by altering films, removing museum art, or canceling book launches — the West has perpetuated a vicious cycle wherein Muslim sensitivities are ever heightened and outraged at the slightest slight, and Western freedoms of expression are correspondingly diminished and trampled upon. What’s worse, such self-imposed censorship falls right into the hands of homegrown Islamists actively working to subvert Western civilization from within.

Conversely, by holding fast to onetime Western principles of free speech and open dialogue, Life TV has conditioned its Muslim viewers to accept that exposure and criticism of their prophet is here to stay. As Fr. Zakaria often points out, every religious figure is open to criticism: so why should Muhammad be sacrosanct? (Indeed, Comedy Central, which was quick to acquiesce to Muslim demands to censor South Park, is “brave” enough to run an entire cartoon series mocking Jesus.)

Of course, one need not agree with Life TV’s tactics or evangelical mission to appreciate the lesson it imparts: Muslim outrage — as with all human outrage — is predicated on how well it is tolerated. Continuously appeased, it becomes engorged and insistent on more concessions; ignored, it deflates and, ashamed of itself, withers away. Put differently, if you voluntarily act like a dhimmi — a subjugated non-Muslim who must live in debased humility — you will be treated like a dhimmi (including by being killed for the slightest offense); conversely, if you assert yourself like a freeman, you will be perceived as a freeman — even as you are hated.

To be fair, there is one caveat: whereas Muslims have no choice but to interpret South Park’s and Lars Vilk’s caricatures of Muhammad as egregiously offensive — no known Muslim records depict Muhammad as a bear or dog — the much more disturbing Life TV anecdotes all originate in Islam’s most authoritative sources (Koran, hadiths, tafsirs, fatwas, etc). In other words, perhaps the anger toward Life TV is subsiding as Muslims become reconciled to the fact that, no matter how abominable, what is being said about their prophet is, in fact, grounded in Muslim sources, and thus must be true.

Yet if that is the case, seems like silly cartoons of Muhammad are the least of Muslims’ problems.

Raymond Ibrahim is the associate director of the Middle East Forum, the author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and a guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College.

Cato Scholar to Tea Party, Beware of the GOP

by Mytheos Holt

Given the strong prospects for GOP resurgence in the upcoming elections, and the intimate connection which said resurgence is sure to have with the fortunes of the Tea Party Movement, it is no surprise that advice is presently being offered to that movement from all sides. The most recent instance of that advice comes from Cato Institute scholar John Samples, who has released a video under the aegis of the Institute entitled “Advice to Tea Partiers.”

Samples is also the author of the book The Struggle to Limit Government, a political history book which convincingly makes the case for a libertarian resurgence within the GOP grounded on Reaganite principles. The video, which in some ways is a much simplified version of the book, offers five points of advice, many of which are well-taken, but some of which are grounded more in wishful thinking than in actual political savvy.

On that note, the video begins with the dubious statement that because of the “spending” and “expansion of government” that was present during the Bush years, “the Republican Party is part of the problem.” This is a lead-in to point 1, entitled “Republicans Aren’t Always Your Friends.” Samples points out, correctly, that when Reagan’s budget director David Stockman tried to get much-needed budget cuts through the White House, all the various department heads opposed these cuts even as they worked under one of the most spending-averse Presidents since Calvin Coolidge. He takes this as evidence that the culture of entrenched programs in Washington can corrupt everyone, Republicans included.

On this much he is right. However, it’s worth noting that part of the issue with Reagan’s cabinet was also that it had to be selected in order to pass a Democrat-controlled Senate confirmation process, and thus was probably more moderate than anything Reagan envisioned. Thus, the conclusion that can be drawn from Samples’s video is not that mistrust of Republicans is the right option, but rather that mistrust of Democratic legislatures is the right option, for even under Republican presidents, such legislatures can wreak havoc on the agenda of limited government.

But more fundamentally still, Samples mistrusts the Tea Party movement itself, as shown by his second point, “Some Tea Partiers Like Big Government.” He points out, for instance, that some Tea Partiers like Social Security and Medicare, and consider them “worth the cost.” This could be problematic in the long term, and Samples is right to observe as much. However, it is not an argument for mistrust of the movement in the here and now, when everyone agrees that the newest entitlement, Obamacare, is sure to be a disaster. As such, it might be best to hold off the debates on Social Security/Medicare until such a time as Obamacare is itself repealed, and these older programs are more closely situated to the fiscal chopping block.

Something which, I might add, will never happen if Tea Partiers listen to Samples’ third point: “Democrats aren’t always your enemies.” From the Tea Party perspective, yes, yes they are. Samples makes a salient point that Democrats have historically supported tax reform, which he interprets as a sign that they oppose using tax incentives to “control” the economy. Actually, the reason Democrats support tax reform is because they can’t abide people not being taxed, and the only reason Reagan was able to ally with them on tax reform in 1986 was because he’d already gotten tax cuts through, and held all the political cards due to his overwhelming popularity. In other words, the only reason the Democrats were incentivized to work with Reagan at all was because he had crushed, demoralized and utterly derailed their liberal agenda. That agenda, at least for the present, isn’t going anywhere, and there’s no room to accommodate it if the Tea Partiers truly want to see limited government.

Samples’s fourth point, that “Smaller Government demands restraint abroad,” is persuasive within limits, but in defending it, he runs into a few classic libertarian fallacies regarding the Bush years. For one thing, in arguing for cutting defense spending, he seems to believe that “small government” is synonymous with “weak government” or that a warfare state is necessarily as controling of peoples’ lives as a welfare state. Naturally, neither assumption is true. Also, while it is true that cutting Defense spending is not mutually exclusive with increasing military efficiency, this shouldn’t be taken as carte blanche to cut it, nor should the notion of cutting defense spending be embraced as a positive good under all circumstances. It would be nice to be able to cut back on United States intervention abroad, but in order for that sort of cutting to happen, first the United States’ enemies have to be put in sufficient fear of their lives, and the United States’ position as a dominant power at the international stage has to be maintained. To support anything else but American dominance would make the Tea Party movement as complicit in the management of American decline as Obama himself.

Finally, Samples makes the oft-cited libertarian point that “Social Issues should be left to the States.” Samples points to Reagan and the 1994 Republican Freshman class as examples of successful conservative victories which were won without fighting over social issues, and to some extent, he’s right about both. However, Reagan’s recalcitrance on social issues actually lost him trust among the New Right movement, which was to the late 70’s what the Tea Party Movement is today. Had Reagan not made a few concessions – such as saying “I endorse you” to the Association of Religious Broadcasters – he might have run into more trouble. It is also worth noting that the 1994 freshman class, while they didn’t mention massive/religiously grounded social issues like gay marriage or abortion in the “Contract with America,” they did mention lesser types of social issues, such as crime prevention. To try to run away from these facts would be pure wishful thinking, and indeed, the fight over many of these “social issues” is being waged precisely because the combatants on the socially conservative side want to leave them to the States. To lay blame at the feet of the GOP for bringing the subject up, therefore, is highly mistaken, since these issues would not exist if not for the Federally grounded interference of liberals.

Still, the video contains a great deal of interesting ideas, some valuable facts and enough general merit that Tea Partiers everywhere should watch it and make up their minds. Ultimately, however, there is little doubt that trying to offer advice to the movement is unlikely to achieve terribly significant results. The Tea Party movement is, perhaps uniquely, more a spontaneous order than a top-down movement, and will adapt itself to the circumstances insofar as that adaptation is necessary. This is its great strength, and the reason why it stands as the most effective counterpoint to Big Government in the modern day.

U.S. posts 19th straight monthly budget deficit/More Debt by the Day

(Reuters) – The United States posted an $82.69 billion deficit in April, nearly four times the $20.91 billion shortfall registered in April 2009 and the largest on record for that month, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

It was more than twice the $40-billion deficit that Wall Street economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast and was striking since April marks the filing deadline for individual income taxes that are the main source of government revenue.

Department officials said that in prior years, there was a surplus during April in 43 out of the past 56 years.

The government has now posted 19 consecutive monthly budget deficits, the longest string of shortfalls on record.

For the first seven months of fiscal 2010, which ends September 30, the cumulative budget deficit totals $799.68 billion, down slightly from $802.3 billion in the comparable period of fiscal 2009.

Outlays during April rose to $327.96 billion from $218.75 billion in March and were up from $287.11 billion in April 2009. It was a record level of outlays for an April.

Department officials noted there were five Fridays in April this year, which helped account for higher outlays since most tax refunds are issued on that day.

But for the first seven months of the fiscal year, outlays fell to $1.99 trillion from $2.06 trillion in the comparable period of fiscal 2009, partly because of repayments by banks of bailout funds they received during the financial crisis.

Receipts in April — mostly from income taxes — were $245.27 billion, up from $153.36 billion in March but lower than the $266.21 billion taken in during April 2009.

Receipts from individuals, who faced an April 15 filing deadline for paying 2009 taxes, fell to $107.31 billion from $137.67 billion in April 2009.

The U.S. full-year deficit this year is projected at $1.5 trillion on top of a $1.4 trillion shortfall last year.

White House budget director Peter Orszag told Reuters Insider in an interview on Wednesday that the United States must tackle its deficits quickly to avoid the kind of debt crisis that hit Greece.

(Reporting by Glenn Somerville, Editing by Diane Craft)

Illinois School Nixes Basketball Team’s Trip to Arizona Over Immigration Law

Highland Park High School Girls' Varsity Basketball Team

FOXNews.com

An Illinois high school says it’s denying its girls’ basketball team the opportunity to play in an Arizona basketball tournament over the Grand Canyon State’s new immigration law.

Parents in Illinois are outraged over a move by a local high school to scrap its girls basketball team’s trip to Arizona over the Grand Canyon State’s new immigration law.

The Highland Park High School varsity basketball team has been selling cookies for months to raise money for a tournament in Arizona.

Now, after winning their first conference title in 26 years, the girls are being denied the opportunity to play in the tournament because their school had some safety concerns — and determined the trip “would not be aligned” with its “beliefs and values,” Assistant Superintendent Suzan Hebson told the Chicago Tribune.

Parents said there was no vote or consultation regarding the decision, which they called confusing, especially since they say no players on the team are illegal immigrants.

The father of one of the players also expressed confusion over the school’s approval of a student trip to China.

“The beliefs and values of China are apparently aligned since they approved that trip. … I mean, I don’t understand that reasoning. I really don’t,” Michael Evans told Fox News.

One player who said she is against the Arizona law told Fox News she didn’t see how the tournament was related.

“It’s ultimately the state’s decision, no matter what I think. Not playing basketball in Arizona is not going to change anything,” she said.

For now, Hebson says, Arizona is off-limits, due to uncertainty over how the state’s new law, which makes it a crime to be in the country illegally, will be enforced.

“We would want to ensure that all of our students had the opportunity to be included and be safe and be able to enjoy the experience,” Hebson told the Tribune about the tournament, scheduled for December. “We wouldn’t necessarily be able to guarantee that.”

Incompetence Or Intent

Written by Steven Rosenblum

Three major events have occurred over the past few weeks that call into question the competence and motives of the Obama Administration.

The first was the explosion and subsequent oil spill on the British Petroleum offshore oilrig, Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico. The second was the failed terrorist car bombing in New York City’s Times Square, and the third was the massive and devastating flooding in Tennessee.

President Obama and his administration’s officials have been claiming that they were on top of the oil spill from “Day One”. However, the facts would seem to refute those claims, as most news reports indicate it took several days for the administration to become engaged in the crisis. I’m not one who subscribes to conspiracy theories, but I’ve found it very convenient that after decades of safe oilrig operation this disaster has occurred so soon after Obama upset his base by appearing to open up new areas off the Atlantic Coast to new oil exploration.

Many Democrats, and even some Republicans, have seized upon this oil spill as an excuse to end any talk of new exploration off America’s shores. It should be noted that Russia, China and several other nations are already planning to drill for oil in the international waters off our coasts. If we don’t go after those reserves, they will. It’s safe to say that none of those nations will be as concerned about drilling in an environmentally responsible fashion as we would be. It’s also worth noting the presence of oil rigs in much more hostile parts of the world than the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Coast of the United States, such as the North Sea. In fact, there are more than 5,000 offshore oil platforms worldwide – and all have been operating safely for decades.

Before we jump to any conclusions or react impulsively, we must determine what really happened on the Deepwater Horizon. As retired fire-rescue captain Matt Bruce reports, there are many questions about this disaster and its causes.

Then there’s the attempted terrorist attack in Times Square by Faisal Shahzad, which some have characterized as “amateurish”. CBS News has reported that Shahzad had been on the Department of Homeland Security’s watch list between 1999 and 2008 because he entered the country with approximately $80,000 and made no less than eight trips to and from Pakistan in the past several years.

However, Shahzad was removed from the list shortly after Obama began shutting down Bush-era terrorist investigations in 2009. We were lucky his IED fizzled instead of detonating in Times Square, since the systems that should have prevented this man from becoming a naturalized citizen and getting the chance to perpetrate this attempted attack failed spectacularly. Only the quick thinking of a New York City street vendor — who noticed smoke coming from Shahzad’s SUV — the NYPD, and the NY Fire Department averted disaster.

Despite the existence of video surveillance of the suspect and the fact that the FBI was initially tracking him, Shahzad had no difficulty boarding an Emirates Airlines flight. If not for the keen eye of an immigration officer, who prevented him from successfully fleeing the country, he would’ve eluded capture. Apparently at some point during their surveillance, the FBI lost track of him.

Most remarkably, the Obama Administration — which only reluctantly acknowledges terrorism — has been touting its success in this affair. It’s also worth mentioning that the media and NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg have been contorting themselves ever since, consciously trying not to call Shahzad a Muslim terrorist, while simultaneously worrying not only about his motives, but also about “backlash” against Muslims and Pakistani-Americans.

In fact, Bloomberg initially posited the ludicrous theory that the bomber might be some “deranged person” or someone who’s unhappy with the healthcare bill. He even went so far as to use the incident to push for closing the so-called “gun show loophole”, one of this anti-Second Amendment advocate’s favorite causes.

The third and final event has gotten very little press, even though it involved the greatest loss of life and property. The floods in Tennessee have killed 23 Americans and devastated a huge swath of the “Volunteer State”. Yet we’ve heard almost nothing from President Obama on this disaster. Thousands of Americans lost their homes and suffered the worst devastation imaginable, yet the President has for the most part ignored this catastrophe and the human suffering it inflicted.

If President George W. Bush were still in office and had reacted so slowly and incompetently to these three equally newsworthy situations, the lamestream media would be savaging him relentlessly. But as per usual, they’ve given the Community Organizer-in-Chief a pass.

So what are we to conclude about Obama’s motives in the aftermath of his mishandling of these three events? Should we assume that in the case of the BP oil spill that Obama actually wanted it to become an environmental disaster, the better for him and his allies to use as an excuse to end all further talk of future offshore oil drilling? After all, if there’s one thing we do know about this administration, it’s that they never let a good crisis go to waste.

In the case of the Times Square terror attack, should we assume that the President simply doesn’t understand the threat? Or should we instead assume that he and the team he’s assembled are incompetent and incapable of fulfilling their primary responsibility of protecting the people of the United States?

As for the floods in Tennessee, should we accuse Obama of the very thing so many on the left erroneously and venomously did of President Bush after Hurricane Katrina — that he’s a reverse racist? The population of middle Tennessee is mostly white, so using the left’s logic it only stands to reason the president doesn’t care about white people.

I’ll leave the answers to these questions up to everyday Americans, but will add that giving Obama a pass on his responses to any or all of these events is simply unacceptable. Our country is at war and facing economic and military threats on a global scale; our government must respond in an appropriate matter to every catastrophe, or the consequences will be devastating and far-reaching.

The riots that have plagued Greece in the wake of its financial collapse could soon be replicated in other European nations. Subsequent bailouts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have forced the Greek government to make cuts in services and entitlements, inciting the entitlement population to violence. Judging by the past sixteen or so months, what we’ve witnessed in Greece could be a disturbing glimpse of our nation’s future. Yet Obama and the Congress seem hell bent on traveling this road to disaster.

There are dangerous days ahead for the United States and our allies. There are credible reports that Iran and Syria have provided Hezbollah with SCUD missiles and are planning preemptive attacks on Israel this summer; there are also reports that the Iranians have plans in place that could even lead to an attack on the United States itself. Terrorist groups are targeting us here at home, even as our troops face them overseas. There are potential threats from North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and China, just to name a few. We cannot have an administration that either is too incompetent to recognize the dangers we face, or perhaps worse, willfully negligent in its failure to protect American citizens from those it does recognize, simply for political advantage.

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’… Anything about Shariah Law

By Alan Foster

Elena Kagan, current Solicitor General of The United States and former Dean of the Harvard Law School, exemplifies selective outrage. She knows a lot about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” when it comes to ROTC on the Harvard Campus, but wears official blinders when it comes to Islamic treatment of homosexuals.

When Professor Kagan ascended to the position of Dean of the Law School, Harvard was in a quandary over military recruitment. Long opposed to the military’s policy towards openly gay men and women but ever solicitous of the greenbacks offered by the federal government, the school tried to hedge its bets on the Solomon Amendment, passed in 1994, which required the Secretary of Defense to deny federal grants to institutions of higher learning that prohibited or prevented ROTC or military recruitment on campus. And who better to circumvent the law’s intent than the serried ranks of lawyers in Cambridge, Massachusetts? They argued that Washington money should still flow because even though the college placement office was barred to recruiters, ROTC courses could be offered by the Harvard Law School Veterans’ Association.

Training on campus was still verboten for Harvard ROTC candidates, and they were forced to travel down the road to MIT to fulfill their training obligations. Too clever by half? Some congressmen thought so, and they responded by fortifying the act in 2001 by passing an amendment that denied all funding — not just to law schools, but to the entire institution that prohibited or prevented recruiting. Although Dean Kagan did not sign a petition along with many of Harvard’s Law School faculty opposing the Solomon Amendment, she did join two amicus briefs in that regard, one submitted to the Supreme Court.

In 2006, The Supreme Court upheld the law, and only two schools refused to comply, thus forfeiting federal largesse. Now, these facts are widely known to the legal community and to many in the country at large. What is not so well-known is Dean Kagan’s contemporaneous approval of and promotion of a little-known but richly endowed Harvard Law School program called The Islamic Legal Studies Program. What does all this have to do with Elena Kagan and her principled stand on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?” It has a lot to do with honesty, integrity, and Harvard’s vaunted advocacy for human rights.

The Harvard Islamic Legal Studies Program was made part of Harvard Law School in 1991 with significant funding from distinctly undemocratic sources, mainly from the Gulf States. The program purports to be a research program “that seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of Islamic law.” The program works closely with the Harvard Islamic Finance Project, which became an official part of the Law School in 2003, the same year Professor Kagan was awarded the title of Dean.

But is it strictly a “research program”? A few times a year, the directors of the Finance Program take groups of promising Law School and Harvard Business School students to the Middle East on junkets to learn the intricate and arcane practices of Sharia Compliant Finance. Many of these promising students go on to work for such banks and investment firms as the Kuwait Finance House, HSBC Amanah Bank, and the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. The intertwined programs, it would seem, go far beyond mere “research” projects. Shariah Finance, it should be noted, is the Islamic approach to investing, mortgage lending, and a host of other money-related practices. Along with its prohibitions on interest accrual and trading in commodities such as pork, alcohol, and gambling is an overarching negative view of homosexuality. Negative, that is, to the point of advocating violence against gays.

Whatever dim views one may hold on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the U.S. Military, the policy pales in comparison to the outright calls to violence enunciated by some of the Islamic world’s most prestigious and powerful Shariah advisors.

Case in point: Meet Sheikh Muhammed Taqi Usmani, former appellate court judge in Pakistan, a Deobandi (one of the most extreme Pakistani schools of Islam, associated with the Pakistani Taliban)-trained jurist and chief Shariah advisor to the HSBC Amanah Bank, one of the world’s largest and richest banks and one of the sponsors of Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project. Among other delightful quotes from Sheikh Usmani:

For a non-Muslim state to have more pomp and glory than a Muslim state itself is an obstacle, therefore to shatter this grandeur is among the greater objectives of jihad (from Islam and Modernism)

Also from Usmani’s book: “Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay jizyah (subjugation tax) after they are humbled or overpowered.”

Apparently, these kinds of medieval barbarities did not rise to the level of immorality embodied in the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. At any rate, Dean Kagan never objected to the underlying principles of the program at her law school. Perhaps topics from the program like “Recent Trends and Innovations in Islamic Debt Securities” distracted her from the fundamental discriminatory underpinnings of Sharia Law.

The idea that Harvard Law School would abide such opinions emanating from less well-heeled spokesmen is not even worthy of consideration. Imagine the nation’s preeminent law school hosting a program on “white supremacist law and finance.” It’s all about the money, of course. In addition to the funding of the Islamic Legal Studies Program, other Muslim plutocrats like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who dropped twenty million dollars into Harvard’s coffers a few years ago, have had a tremendous influence on the university and its culture.

If Sheikh Usmani’s views on jihad were not repellent enough, keep in mind that homosexuality has been a crime under Shariah Law in his native Pakistan since 1860. According to that country’s penal code, enforced by Judge Usmani, Article 377 states:

Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years nor more than ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.

And here, the chief Shariah Adviser to the sponsors of Harvard’s program writes:

It is the same modernity that has engulfed the whole world in the tornado of nudity and obscenity, and has provided an excuse for fornication, and moreso it has led under thunderclaps to the passage of a bill in the British House of Commons to legalize homosexuality (Islam and Modernism).

Suddenly “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” seems pretty benign.

Not only does the Harvard program feature homophobic and “homicidal” clerics, but even the Harvard Muslim Student Chaplain, Taha Abdul-Basser, who has lectured regularly at the Islamic Finance Project, declared apostasy from Islam a capital (not the finance kind) offense:

Abdul-Basser wrote that there was “great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment [for apostates]) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand (The Harvard Crimson April 14, 2009).

Dean Kagan’s reticence about these programs at her own law school should raise serious questions of integrity, sincerity, forthrightness, and ultimately, honesty.

Alan Foster is a pseudonym.

More Disgrace From Cap And Trade

by Christopher C. Horner

This week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will host a press conference announcing the fifth reinvention of “cap-and-trade” global warming legislation since 2003, the “American Power Act”. Call it the American Power Grab Act, instead, for reasons that will become obvious momentarily.

The orchestrated spectacle, with a cast expected to be in the dozens and which all involved appear convinced will persuade you of the justness of their cause, is in fact a manifestation of all that is wrong with Washington and what Americans have become increasingly enraged by.

At this press conference, Sens. Kerry and Lieberman have both already indicated, they will insist that their scheme isn’t “cap-and-trade” because they aren’t going to use that term this time around. Kerry has even said that “this is not an environment bill.” It seems that the public aren’t buying that argument, either, so it’s really about whatever appeals to you. Just not what it was about the previous four times they’ve tried to slip this Power Grab past you. Except I’ve seen a copy of the bill. Yes it is cap-and-trade. And worse.

For this latest effort to hide an enormous tax and wealth transfer — a unilateral move that guarantees jobs will be shipped to China, India, Philippines, Mexico and elsewhere — – these lawmakers will be surrounded by numerous representatives of Big Green. That includes not just the wealthy pressure group industry but many among “Big Business”, numerous of whom are the benefactors enabling those pressure group chiefs’ huge salaries and vast PR budgets to scare you into accepting an agenda that uses the state to, oddly enough, enrich these same companies. Huh.

Sen. Lieberman has repeatedly teased the breadth of the organized scrum as proof that the scheme is now a good idea. Absent from his cheerleading is the fact that you are not represented at the table when your wealth and future prospects were being divvied up.

The reason for so many businesses leaping onto the stage today is also the dog that surely will not bark when the media report on industry’s touting of an enormous energy tax and wealth transfer from individuals: why do they support this?

The answer is because they have been promised a slice of the spoils taken from the average taxpayer and ratepayer. I detail who these companies are and how they hope to cash in on this scheme in my new book “Power Grab“. For example, consider Exelon. This Chicago-based utility, which today is expected to be represented both individually by its CEO and by its trade association the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), expects more than one billion dollars in increased profits for no additional capital investment if the scheme announced today passes. Their only cost would have been the lobbyists.

That’s just one company. But the windfall, arranged by politicians, comes from average American families. The company even admits the whole sordid mess in a Forbes article from earlier this year:

“Exelon needs that legislation to happen sooner rather than later. Without a carbon price of some sort, Exelon’s fortunes aren’t so bright…. ‘The conundrums are real,’ [Exelon CEO John] Rowe acknowledges. ‘There’s nothing that’s going to drive Exelon’s profit in the next couple of years wildly. It just isn’t going to happen.’

Except, of course, carbon legislation. And because of that, the company views spending on lobbying for legislation almost like a capital expense….

Exelon has very deep ties to the Obama Administration. Frank M. Clark, who runs ComEd, helped advise Obama before he ran for President and is one of Obama’s largest fundraisers. Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, worked as a consultant to Exelon. Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, helped create Exelon. Emanuel was hired by Rowe to help broker the $8.2 billion deal between Unicom and Peco when Emanuel was at the investment bank Wasserstein Perella (now Dresdner Kleinwort). In his two-year career there Emanuel earned $16.2 million, according to congressional disclosures. His biggest deal was the Exelon merger.”

The article details how Exelon wrote the provisions allocating the energy use “allowances”, or ration coupons. Others, including (according to Sen. Kerry) BP, wrote the provisions applying to oil companies, to ensure costs are passed straight through to you.

I lay the particularly odious example of Exelon — and those of others on the dais, ranging from Duke Energy to GE to “Chicago Climate Exchange” members — bare in “Power Grab“. Before your elected representatives impose this on you later this year, as soon as by the July 4 congressional recess, educate yourself on the rhetoric and ruses employed to part you from your money and, if history is any guide, threaten your family’s lives and indeed your livelihood altogether.