Entries from August 2008 ↓

SBS: Embedded with Sheik Hilaly

The Herald Sun is reporting today on a new documentary featuring the former “mufti” of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, Sheikh Taj ad-Deen al-Hilali.  It’s called Embedded with Sheikh Hilaly (the image above is taken from the SBS website).

SHEIK Taj Hilaly, the former Mufti of Australia who compared scantily clad women to “uncovered meat” in 2006, is making a comeback in a SBS documentary.

According to the SBS website, it will be a three part documentary, following Dave, a “white guy from Brisbane”, who moves in with the former mufti to supposedly “understand” what it means to be a Muslim.

In the opening scene he declares, “I’m the man of ladies in Australia” and pretends to strike women with a stick.

SBS’s Arabic language radio program discuss the program here [mp3].

Open Australia

OpenAustralia.org is an Australian implementation of the popular UK They Work For You website and software. Like TWFY, the site aims to improve visibility over the actions of our elected rulers. It has some interesting features, particularly the search, which allows you to see, for example, who has used the word ‘muslim‘ most frequently in parliament (it’s Andrew Bartlett, apparently). Jihadist? Well, that’s our former Prime Minister John Howard. Former foreign minister Alexander Downer beats him when it comes to mention of the word ‘Islamist‘ though. Being able to subscribe to RSS alerts when politicians mention particular words is also quite useful.

Barriers to Economic Integration in the Arab World

From Marcus Noland and Howard Pack, The Arab Economies in a Changing World, (Washington DC: Peterson Institute, 2007):

Across the region there is a tendency to rely on centralized regulatory intervention to facilitate the creation of economic rents and their channeling to politically preferred groups. By implication, cross-border economic integration, whether globally or regionally, is discouraged: Opening up would imply a loss of control and the concomitant ability to rig the local market to the benefit of regime supporters. All of this militates against a vibrant private sector that could promote increased productivity, employment, and growth. This combination of political illegitimacy and policy intervention makes it difficult for these economies to liberalize: Reform and the erosion of rents could undermine the very basis for political loyalty.

(via Leo Americanus)

Assassination Techniques

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on the ongoing trial of Bilal Khazal and provides a disturbing insight into the assassination techniques of Western intelligence agencies:

A former Qantas baggage handler who compiled a book outlining “short and wise” rules for fighting jihad on his computer in suburban Lakemba dedicated it to the “martyrs of Islam”.

Yesterday the bizarre and often violent text was handed over to Sydney Central Local Court, where its 35-year-old editor, Bilal Khazal, faced a charge of making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts.

Among the assassination techniques used by Western intelligence, the book says, are letter bombs, snipers, car bombs and “cake throwing“, which it adds, “is well known in the West”.

Jihadists are warned to be alert to couples pretending to be joking before attacking the target with cakes. “This could lead to his eyes, nose and mouth being plugged and [he] loses the ability to breathe. Few would suspect the fatal consequences.”

Michael Scheuer: Ten Foreign Policy Questions for the Next President

Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, discusses the American presidential elections and raises ten foreign policy questions for the next president of the United States.

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The Fake Olympics

First, we had the fake Mickey Mouse. Then we had fake lip-synching kid at the opening ceremony. The organisers had made a decision to use a Milli Vanilli-style replacement for the real child who, with a chubby face and apparently crooked teeth, was deemed by Communist party officials to be insufficiently pretty to be the face of Communist China. And quite a few other things were apparently fake too.

On this subject AC Grayling wrote in The Guardian:

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School Choice

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Via The Club for Growth

Marching Toward Hell?

I’m reading Michael Scheuer’s Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq at the moment; an interesting book by the author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America and former chief of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit. As an aside, his books have also been recommended [pdf] by Osama Bin Laden (“If you want to understand what’s going on and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer.”).

In one of the chapters in the book, Scheuer discusses the future of Europe, arguing that a “shrinking and aging native population” will require an “ever increasing flow of immigrants to maintain a workforce to keep its social welfare system from bankruptcy for a bit longer.”

But who will these immigrants be? To quote Mark Steyn, “[a] talented ambitious Chinese or Indian has zero reason to immigrate to France, unless he is consumed by a perverse fantasy of living in a segregated society that artificially constrains his economic opportunities yet imposes confiscatory taxation on him in order to support an ancient regime of indolent geriatrics.”

The answer, therefore, is for this demand for workers to be met by the already sizable Muslim population in these countries, their children, and the Muslim immigrants who continue to be drawn to the region.

As a result, Scheuer argues, these European societies are likely to undergo several changes as their dependence on Muslim taxpayers grows and as those Muslims start exerting more influence on the society and its politics. He writes, “as things stand, Europe seems destined to leave its decaying and bankrupt hulk in the hands of a vibrantly religious, semi-martial, youthful and hardworking Muslim population.”

Although Europe may be becoming, to use the author’s colourful description, a “passive, homogeneous, self-centered, non-competitive, bureaucrat-ruled, militantly secular, and anti-military society”, it’s possible that the future may be somewhat unpleasant. He continues:

The end of French Enlightenment thought, the end of all efforts to produce the perfect European man, has been massive human destruction. From the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars through the eras of fascism, Communism, and Nazism, totalitarianism and mass murder have been the end-state of political systems aimed at perfecting humanity. Total warfare and genocide, moreover, are European inventions and thus reside in the history locker that contemporary Europeans have kept double-padlocked and tried to ignore. Who is to say that Europe, in extremis, will not try to save itself by taking recourse to that at which it has traditionally excelled: chauvinistic nationalism, government-sponsored persecution of minorities, and unlimited warfare? And because history suppressed has a way of roaring back to life, might not a last-ditch European survival effort wage its battles under the banner of a revived Christianity? EC leaders already have fully absorbed the attitude Walter Bagehot attributed to the French philosophes –”everything for the people, nothing by them … they wished to do everything by fiat of the sovereign” — and might well turn into supernationalists order to save their own skins.