March 2006

It’s Pi day (not the apple, the infinite).

Sing a song and play a game of pi..


From Drawn! The Illustration Blog

A ninth grade art teacher in Middleton, NY, has been suspended and may be fired after suggesting his students take life drawing courses.
n his discussions with students Mr. Panse mentioned several options for advancing their figure drawing skills; the local community college, a nearby frame shop that sponsors art classes, and the prestigious New York Academy of Art. He also described pre-college figure drawing programs at several other New York City art schools, and a highly successful art college prep program called the Mill Street Loft.

Panse was suspended from his teaching job pending hearings. Depending on the outcome of these hearings, he may be permanently fired, ending a 25-year teaching career. Panse is a National Board Certified Teacher (in Adolescent and Young Adult Art), the highest level of certification that a teacher can achieve in America. He is also one of only two National Board Certified Teachers in his New York District, and “is a trained Facilitator for helping teachers explore and pursue the requirements needed to achieve National Board Certification.

I guess trips to naughty Italian churches, museums and supermarkets are right out too…

[Link thanks to James Hudnall]


The Sudan Freedom Walk Campaign was initiated by Simon Deng, a Sudanese man captured into slavery as a child in Sudan. He later escaped bondage and now resides in New York City, but travels often to spread awareness about modern slavery and the atrocities facing the people of Sudan.

Deng describes his mission here:

My name is Simon Aban Deng. I am from Sudan. I am a Shiluk by tribe. I am a Christian by religion. I belong to a people who have been subjected to mass murder, slavery, systematic rape, religious persecution, enforced starvation, dislocation, exile. We are the victims of genocide, both physical and cultural. We have been targeted for annihilation as human beings and as members of a culture. These miseries did not fall upon us from the sky; we have been and remain the victims of the radical jihadist regime in Khartoum.

Via the Christian Post:

NEW YORK – A former Sudanese slave is building up support for an over 200-mile walk from New York to Washington, D.C. – a walk of freedom for the millions facing atrocities in Sudan.

Kidnapped and forced into slavery during his childhood, Simon Deng suffered abuse and exhaustion for over three years as a Christian. His village and people were ransacked and burned alive by Arab marauders. He slept in a stable with the animals and was forced to do the job of a donkey, carrying jars of water for long distances. Although he was told the harsh treatment would end if he converted to Islam, he remained steadfast to his faith.

Now a New York resident and a lifeguard at Coney Island, Deng has emerged as a national leader among 250,000 Sudanese refugees in the United States, spreading word about the continuing plague of slavery in his native land.

“I was constantly under terror. I would cry for mercy, but always that mercy is not here,” said Deng at Elim Christian Assembly in Staten Island Sunday, according to the New York Sun.

The WorldPress describes Why the Darfur Tragedy Will Likely Occur Again

Updates on the situation at the Darfur Daily News

More here..

Joe Katzman of Winds of Change was there. He says:

Pretty good rally. Probably about 70-100, not bad given the low level publicity announcing it. Over at The Sprit of Man, “Winston” has some pictures. And here’s a few more, including one of me with my “Canadian flag in distress” (our media cut and run when it came to showing the cartoons, bowing before Shari’a theocracy, alas).

Met some folks there… quite a few were actually leftist devotees of Harry’s Place. And good people, to boot. We’ll disagree on some things very strongly, but at their core they are promoters of Western values and real human progress. This is, sadly, a small sliver of the global left these days – though we are proud to count several as our friends. But history rolls on, and even a small remnant may yet prove a saving one.

Canada .com covered the story.

Kesher Talk has more..

Also see more photos of speakers at the rally, including members of the Worker-communist Party of Iran, the Cuban Canadian Foundation and the Hindu Conference of Canada – at Nav Purewal’s site.

[cross posted at Dean's World]

Dean and Neo comment on nudity on the newstands, in this month’s Vanity Fair.

vanity fair

As a photographer, when I first saw the Vanity Fair photo, I wished I had the skills to do that. The composition was good, stark and eye-catching; nice use of contrasting darks and lights, no misplaced shadows.

It takes a lot of work to get the skin tones to look that way – creamy, matte, no shine. People sweat under hot studio lights, especially when they have to hold that kind of pose (don’t move or you’ll show naughty bits!)

I don’t think you can get that kind of effect with airbrush and a few color adjustments, even with the magic of Photoshop. They probably doused those actresses with powder; then they had to sit frozen in place, trying to look sexy without sneezing, under the hot lights with itchy skin. If you can go through that kind of aggravation and still look sexy, you deserve to be admired.

About the nudity – as far as I know, men tend to find women more appealing when they’re nude, but women find men more appealing when they’re in a suit, tux or uniform (ready to protect us and/or take us out for a nice dinner). Like Déjeuner sur l’herbe, the combination of clothed men/nude women is likely to be appealing to both sexes. Nudes, even not-conventionally attractive nudes, are always interesting subjects, in photography and in art. People like to look at other people.


“Sammenhold” is Danish for solidarity. Cinnamon Stillwell, who was at the Pro-Free-Speech rally in San Francisco yesterday, links to these reports (with photos)

Michelle Malkin

Kesher Talk

The Only Republican in San Francisco

The Gentle Cricket

In New York, our ‘Liberal Hawks’ group participated in the Sammenhold rally. In San Francisco, the ‘9/11 neocons’ were there. Doing our part to add a little purple to the bluest spots in the USA.

LOS ANGELES, March 10 — Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.

Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.

Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.

In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private..

..”I have no fear,” she said. “I believe in my message. It is like a million-mile journey, and I believe I have walked the first and hardest 10 miles.”

I doubt that the majority of the writers for the New York Times will ever understand what Sultan’s last sentence meant, but otherwise, it’s a decent article.

[Welcome, Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish readers]

In an article written for the London Telegraph, Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo says:

“You have to distinguish between ordinary Muslims and their self-appointed leaders,” explains Dr Sookhdeo. “I agree that the best hope for our collective future is that the majority of Muslims who have grown up here have accepted the secular nature of the British state and society, the division between religion and politics, and the importance of allowing people to choose freely how they will live.”

According to the Telegraph, Dr. Sookhdeo is a secular Briton. According to Islamophobia Watch, Dr. Sookhdeo is a Nazi and an Islamaphobe.

Islamophobia Watch also labels Hirsi Ali as a right-wing “provocateur”

The Telegraph believed that an article about Dr. Sookhdeo’s criticism of some Muslim leaders and their efforts to bring Sharia to the UK, titled ‘The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state’ should be published.

Someone with influence disagreed. The article has now been pulled from the Telegraph’s website, for “legal reasons”

It was also removed from Google’s cache. It is, however, still in Yahoo’s cache. It’s also reprinted in parts here, here here and here:

The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state’
By Alasdair Palmer
(Filed: 19/02/2006)

For the past two weeks, Patrick Sookhdeo has been canvassing the opinions of Muslim clerics in Britain on the row over the cartoons featuring images of Mohammed that were first published in Denmark and then reprinted in several other European countries.

“They think they have won the debate,” he says with a sigh. “They believe that the British Government has capitulated to them, because it feared the consequences if it did not.

“The cartoons, you see, have not been published in this country, and the Government has been very critical of those countries in which they were published. To many of the Islamic clerics, that’s a clear victory.

“It’s confirmation of what they believe to be a familiar pattern: if spokesmen for British Muslims threaten what they call ‘adverse consequences’ – violence to the rest of us – then the British Government will cave in. I think it is a very dangerous precedent.”

Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that “in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law.

“It is already starting to happen – and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue.”

For someone with such strong and uncompromising views, Dr Sookhdeo is a surprisingly gentle and easy-going man. He speaks with authority on Islam, as it was his first faith: he was brought up as a Muslim in Guyana, the only English colony in South America, and attended a madrassa there.

“But Islamic instruction was very different in the 1950s, when I was at school,” he says. “There was no talk of suicide bombing or indeed of violence of any kind. Islam was very peaceful.”…

…Several years ago, Dr Sookhdeo insisted that the next wave of radical Islam in Britain would involve suicide bombings in this country. His prediction was depressingly confirmed on 7/7 last year.

So his claim that, in the next decade, the Muslim community in Britain will not be integrated into mainstream British society, but will isolate itself to a much greater extent, carries weight behind it. Dr Sookhdeo has proved his prescience….

…”The whole approach towards Muslim militants was based on appeasement. 7/7 proved that that approach does not work – yet it is still being followed. For example, there is a book, The Noble Koran: a New Rendering of its Meaning in English, which is openly available in Muslim bookshops.

“It calls for the killing of Jews and Christians, and it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them. The Government has done nothing whatever to interfere with the sale of that book.

“Why not? Government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred, to criminalise the glorification of terrorism, yet they do nothing about this book, which blatantly does both.”

Perhaps the explanation is just that they do not take it seriously. “I fear that is exactly the problem,” says Dr Sookhdeo. “The trouble is that Tony Blair and other ministers see Islam through the prism of their own secular outlook.

They simply do not realise how seriously Muslims take their religion. Islamic clerics regard themselves as locked in mortal combat with secularism...

… concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on.”

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. “That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities – which will be backed up by the claim that it is “racist” or “Islamophobic” or “violating the rights of Muslims” to deny them sharia law.

“There’s already a Sharia Law Council for the UK. The Government has already started making concessions: it has changed the law so that there are sharia-compliant mortgages and sharia pensions.

“Some Muslims are now pressing to be allowed four wives: they say it is part of their religion. They claim that not being allowed four wives is a denial of their religious liberty. There are Muslim men in Britain who marry and divorce three women, then marry a fourth time – and stay married, in sharia law, to all four.

“The more fundamentalist clerics think that it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of sharia law. Given the Government’s record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that.”

Dr Sookhdeo’s vision of a relentless battle between secular and Islamic Britain seems hard to reconcile with the co-operation that seems to mark the vast majority of the interactions between the two communities.

“Well, it isn’t me who says Islam is at war with secularisation,” he says. “That’s how Islamic clerics describe the situation.”…

…”Take, for example, Tariq Ramadan, whom the Government has appointed as an adviser because ministers think he is a ‘community leader’. Ramadan sounds, in public, very moderate. But in reality, he has some very extreme views. He attacks liberal Muslims as ‘Muslims without Islam’. He is affiliated to the violent and uncompromising Muslim Brotherhood.

“He calls the education in the state schools of the West ‘aggression against the Islamic personality of the child’. He has said that ‘the Muslim respects the laws of the country only if they do not contradict any Islamic principle’. He has added that ‘compromising on principles is a sign of fear and weakness’.”

So what’s the answer? What should the Government be doing? “First, it should try to engage with the real Muslim majority, not with the self-appointed ‘community leaders’ who don’t actually represent anyone: they have not been elected, and the vast majority of ordinary Muslims have nothing to do with them.

“Second, the Government should say no to faith-based schools, because they are a block to integration. There should be no compromise over education, or over English as the language of education. The policy of political multiculturalism should be reversed.

“The hope was that it would to ensure separate communities would soften at the edges and integrate. But the opposite has in fact happened: Islamic communities have hardened. There is much less integration than there was for the generation that arrived when I did. There will be much less in the future if the present trend continues.

“Finally, the Government should make it absolutely clear: we welcome diversity, we welcome different religions – but all of them have to accept the secular basis of British law and society. That is a non-negotiable condition of being here.

“If the Government does not do all of those things then I fear for the future, because Islamic communities within Britain will form a state within a state. Religion will occupy an ever-larger place in our collective political life. And, speaking as a religious man myself, I fear that outcome.

I don’t agree with Sookhdeo’s ideas about getting rid of faith-based education, but I don’t see anything libelous or illegal in this article.

Do you?

The war isn’t Islam vs. Christianity. It’s not even anti-terror vs. terror. It’s human rights vs. sharia.

[links thanks to Charles and commenters at LGF]

Some New Yorkers know how to give Prince Alwaleed the respect he deserves. From Allah at Alarming News

Saudis launch “moderate” Islamic satellite network [posted by Allah]

I can’t wait.

Note who the man in charge is: Prince Alwaleed, the very same pantsload who said the U.S. had it coming on 9/11, then tried to buy off Rudy Giuliani with a $10 million check. Which Rudy kindly deposited in his asshole.

Of course it is. There is no reason why Muslims, or the religion Islam, can’t live with democracy. There’s no reason why their personal and cultural beliefs can’t coexist with democracy.

However, when the state is ruled by Islamic Sharia laws, as Iran is, that state becomes incompatible with democracy because Sharia laws are apartheid laws. Under these laws, non-Muslims have fewer rights than Muslims. Women have fewer rights than men. The purpose of establishing a legal system based on Sharia is to create an apartheid state. That’s why the use of Sharia laws as a foundation for Islamic states is Osama bin Laden’s goal.

Ann Althouse attended a lecture given by her colleague, Asifa Quraishi, a law professor specializing in Islamic law. It was titled “A Reconsideration of Presumptions: Is Islam Compatible with Democracy?”

Apparently she believes that Islam is compatable with Democracy, but her version would have a greater resemblance to this ‘democracy’ than to Western Democracy:

What I was tackling in my presentation was the roadblock in this issue that I think is presented by the western tendency to think that the sovereign state should be the location of all law for all of society. Once we are able to re-think the location of legal authority in a society, that some can exist as valid and authoritative, yet outside the realm of public lawmaking mechanisms, then I think that we will have gotten much further to coming up with a system of government and lawmaking and adjudication for Muslim societies that can be (but doesn’t have to be, frankly I don’t care what it looks like, that’s up to them) “democratic” but in a very different model than western nation-state democracies.

Compared to, say, Ahmadinejad, Asifa Quraishi can appear to be fairly liberal. She has addressed women’s issues in the past, but has she discussed the persecution of non-Muslims under Sharia? Has she discussed the sharia-based slavery in Africa, or the sharia-based genocide in the Sudan? Has she discussed the sharia-based persecution of Kurds in Saddam’s Iraq, and his Anfal Campaign? (“Anfal” is a principle from the Koran and it allows the looting of a non-Muslim population when Muslims conquer them.)?

Slavery and genocide are just not compatible with democracy.

There are some religion-based groups whose religion-based laws can coexist with a Democracy, like the Amish in America, but membership within these groups is purely voluntary. In Islamic states ruled by Sharia, the penalty for conversion, or apostasy, is death.

Apartheid, fundamentalist Sharia law is comparable to the ‘laws’ that govern the one currently existing “Christian” group. Like the fundamentalists who claim to base their laws on the Koran, the Lord’s Resistance Army claims to base their laws on the Bible. They’ve used the Bible to justify their campaign of slaughter, rape and slavery in the local area, just as the fundamentalists and Arabists have used Islamic law to justify their campaign of ethnic cleansing in Africa and the Middle East.

If the Lord’s Resistance Army was sitting on many billions of dollars worth of oil, we’d probably be debating whether a legal system that murders, enslaves and padlocks people’s mouths shut through holes cut in their lips in the name of the Bible was compatible with democracy.

As Amir Taheri said in his remarks in a debate about Islam and Democracy:

Muslims should not be duped into believing that they can have their cake and eat it. Muslims can build democratic society provided they treat Islam as a matter of personal, private belief and not as a political ideology that seeks to monopolise the public space and regulate every aspect of individual and community life.

Simply put, your own personal Islam YES – political Sharia NO.

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