Media Ignores Pro-Israel Rally at the UN

Thousands of people showed up at the United Nations colony in New York to protest uber-fascist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and to support Israel.

Good Lieutenant:
The small 2000-person anti-war anti-Bush morons got the news coverage, but as usual, they're not the story.

Atlas has lots more, with pictures.
Tens of thousands of freedom loving people showed up from all over the country.

It was gorgeous. They came in droves to protest holocaust denier, nuked up Ahmadinejad's outrageous appearance at the UN.

They're saying 35,000 to 40,000 people were there.

Jewish groups and others came out en masse Wednesday to protest against Ahmadinejad in a rally organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and other groups.

Some 35,000 people rallied across from the United Nations to protest Ahmadinejad’s presence at the world body. The crowd also wanted to show solidarity for Israel and implore the United Nations to enforce Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended Israel’s war this summer with Hezbollah and calls for the release of three Israeli soldiers taken hostage by Hamas and Hezbollah.

Abizaid on PBS

Via CENTCOM, General John Abizaid is interviewed by Jim Lehrer on PBS:
JIM LEHRER: And now to our interview with Army General John Abizaid, commander of the Central Command, which includes all U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. I talked with him earlier today.

General, welcome. U.N. Secretary-General Annan said the other day that, if current trends continue, Iraq could break down into a full-scale civil war. Is he right?

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, Top U.S. Commander in the Middle East: I think current trends today look certainly better than when I testified back in August. The situation is improving somewhat.

Certainly, there's a lot of sectarian violence. I believe that we've got the military capacity and the Iraqis have the political will to get things under control. And I think it will start moving towards stability slowly but surely.

JIM LEHRER: Why can't the sectarian violence be stopped?

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: The sectarian violence is very, very difficult to control, because it involves very small, cellular groups of death squads that move about the city, that move into pre-designated targets that they've already selected, that has already been surveilled, that have certainly been well-known to various people that are plotting to get these particular people.

And they go in and get them. And then, when they can't get their designated targets, they go after completely random targets, so it's a very, very difficult military security problem that's tough to defend against.

JIM LEHRER: And you're saying that's getting better? It seems, in the last several weeks, at least on our program every day, we've been reporting more and more bodies found, people being tortured. There seems to be on the increase, but you're saying it's getting better?

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: It's certainly better in the areas where we've applied military forces. ...

Read it all at the link.

More Blogger Downtime

Blogger status:
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Blogger will be down for maintenance tomorrow (Sep 21) for 45 minutes starting at 4pm (Pacific Time).

As always, you can read Dreams Into Lightning on TypePad when Dreams Into Lightning on Blogger is down - and vice versa.

Women Today

No dating, please, we're Muslim. Himadree at The Muslim Woman reports:
You and me will definitely tag it as ‘speed dating‘ when a boy and girl meet up for a seven minute chit-chat, but for the growing American Muslim community, they prefer to label it in a more respectable term called ‘Matrimonial Banquet‘.

This particular term came up at the recently organized Muslim conference in North America. With the offshoot of an emerging trend among the Muslim community in America, more and more boys and girls are getting to know each other through a short session meeting called as the speed dating. However, the elders give it a more dignified term. ...

Yemen: Women as voters, but not candidates. Jessica at Feministing:
Women are not too pleased about the lack of lady candidates--some even protested in a recent march, demanding a 15 percent quota in local elections.

Huriyah Mashhoor of the Women's National Committee says that "men in Yemen want women as voters only, rather than strong challengers."

Full post, and article, at the link.

Study: Women face discrimination in science and technology. Feminist Majority Foundation:
Women face discrimination from academic institutions in science and technology fields, according to a new report released Monday from the National Academy of Sciences. The report, “Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering,” finds that women’s lack of participation within science and technology fields in academia can be attributed to gender bias and barriers within hiring and promotion practices in research institutions. Emphasized in the report is the important role that women scientists play in keeping the US competitive in science and engineering fields.

“Women are capable of contributing more to the nation’s science and engineering research enterprise, but bias and outmoded practices governing academic success impede their progress almost every step of the way,” said Donna Shalala, chair of the committee that wrote the report and current president of University of Miami, in a National Academies release accompanying the report. ...

Jen is trying to feel empowered. Oddly, though, she feels condescended to. Jen at Feministing:
Last Tuesday was primary day in Washington. There's a polling place right next to my office, so I ended up walking through a gauntlet of signs and supporters of various candidates. I was talking to one of my coworkers about two of the mayoral candidates. When we passed one volunteer, I mentioned that she was "also good." The volunteer overheard and said "she's the best." We kept walking. Then he (middle aged white man) raises his voice and starts telling me (young black woman), in a remarkably condescending tone, "I'm trying to empower black women." Seriously, that's what he said. I said something smart-assy about being plenty empowered to vote for another candidate, and kept going.

Read the rest at the link. And a big welcome to Jen.

Honor killings up in Afghanistan. Feminist Majority Foundation:
There has been a significant increase in so-called honor killings of women in Afghanistan from last year, announced the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Friday. The AIHRC believes that the increase is due to discrimination against women, the lack of enforcement of laws protecting women, and a weak judiciary, according to IRIN News, a United Nations humanitarian news and information service. So far this year, 185 women and girls have been killed by family members, though many cases go unreported, IRIN reports.

While the Afghan Constitution protects women’s rights, long-term changes in men’s attitudes towards women are necessary to end the practice of honor killings, said Dad Mohammad Rasa, an interior ministry spokesperson, reports IRIN. The number of killings is worse in the south, where there has been a resurgence of the Taliban. ...

Link: FMF campaign for women and girls in Afghanistan.

How to resist rape: Be ladylike. Jessica at Feministing:
From macho-man Harvey Mansfield's book, "Manliness." (I can't believe I didn't catch this until now.)

“To resist rape a woman needs more than martial arts and more than the police; she needs a certain ladylike modesty enabling her to take offense at unwanted encroachment.”

Yeah, right.

Go read Cobb.

Just do it. I'm too tired and preoccupied with petty worries to write anything tonight, so I'll just direct your attention to this fiercely intelligent and underappreciated blogger. Here's a post on the Pope's speech, explaining that to act against reason is to act against the nature of G-d. (I dealt with a similar theme recently, but Cobb's summary of Pope Benedict and Father John Neuhaus puts it in the perspective both of Christianity and of current events.) And there's his post on the history of marching, and of the black church in America - its achievements and its limitations. And as much as he admires the Pope, he's not keen on the idea that it's America's job to defend everything the Pope says.

Don't forget to bookmark Cobb on your browser.


Blogger: Scheduled outage, 4pm Pacific.

Blogger reports:
Monday, September 18, 2006
Blogger will be down for maintenance tomorrow [September 19] for 15 minutes starting at 4pm (Pacific Time).
Posted by Prashant at 16:41 PDT

Please visit Dreams Into Lightning on TypePad for updates during Blogger outages.


Dreams Into Lightning began publishing on Blogger in April 2004 and on TypePad in April 2006.

On September 11, 2006, a reader in Los Angeles, running Firefox on a Linux system and apparently looking for an e-book download of "Redemption Ark" by Alastair Reynolds, became the 50,000th visitor to DiL on Blogger according to SiteMeter.

Also on September 11, a reader in Tucson, running Internet Explorer on Windows XP and looking for information on Ghazal Omid, became visitor number 6,000 to DiL on TypePad and spent almost 12 minutes perusing the site.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to visit.


Adnan Shukrijumah, Nuclear Terrorist

Lifeboat Foundation:

We would like the nuclear terrorist Adnan G. El Shukrijumah to be captured. There is a $5 million reward for assisting in his capture.


Date of Birth Used: August 4, 1975
Hair: Black
Place of Birth: Saudi Arabia
Eyes: Black
Height: 5'3" to 5'6"
Sex: Male
Weight: 132 pounds
Complexion: Dark, Mediterranean
Build: Average
Remarks: El Shukrijumah occasionally wears a beard. He has a pronounced nose and is asthmatic. El Shukrijumah speaks English and carries a Guyanese passport, but may attempt to enter the United States with a Saudi, Canadian, or Trinidadian passport.
Aliases: Adnan G. El Shukri Jumah, Abu Arif, Ja'far Al-Tayar, Jaffar Al-Tayyar, Jafar Tayar, Jaafar Al-Tayyar.

Dubai, 12 Sept. (AKI) - Osama bin Laden is planning to carry out new, more destructive attacks inside the United States, and there is someone working on this terror plot currently in the US, according to Hamid Mir, the famed Pakistani journalist who obtained the only post-9/11 interviews with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. In an interview quoted on the website of the al-Arabiya television network, Mir spoke about his last trip to Afghanistan and his meeting with al-Qaeda members and Taliban leaders.

In his interview with Al.Arabiya.net, Mir said that the al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters referred to attacks targeting the US-led coalition forces during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which begins on 24 September, and that the al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden was in "good" health during a meeting he had recently with the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Mir also said that bin Laden has assigned a man named Adnan Al-Shukri Juma to carry out a new attack within the US which is intended to be larger than the 11 September, 2001 attacks. According to Mir, Adnan Jumaa has smuggled explosives and nuclear materials into the US through the Mexican border over the last two years and is hiding somewhere in America where the FBI has not been able to locate him.

The Pakistani journalist also gave a brief background on Adnan Jumaa. Born in Saudi Arabia, he moved to the US where he met a group of a Al-Qaeda members in the Al-Farouq mosque in New York in 2000. He then traveled to an Arab state and from there to Pakistan then Afghanistan. He left there two years ago and since then has smuggled nuclear material from Mexico to the US. Jumaa has earned the nickname "Al-Qaeda nuclear whizz" and is tagged to play the same role in a future attack as Mohammed Atta did in the 9/11 attacks. ...

Canada Free Press:
Urgent news from Abu Dawood, the newly appointed commander of the al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan:

Final preparations have been made for the American Hiroshima, a major attack on the U. S.

Muslims living in the United States should leave the country without further warning.

The attack will be commandeered by Adnan el Shukrijumah ("Jaffer Tayyer" or "Jafer the Pilot"), a naturalized American citizen, who was raised in Brooklyn and educated in southern Florida.

The al Qaeda operatives who will launch this attack are awaiting final orders. They remain in place in cities throughout the country. Many are masquerading as Christians and have adopted Christian names.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban will also launch a major strike (known as the "Badar offensive" against the coalition forces in Afghanistan during the holy month of Ramadan.

The American people will be treated to a final audio message from Osama bin Laden which will be aired within the next two weeks. ...

Ace of Spades: Ace of Spades Reader Spotted Wanted Terrorist?
Aliases: Adnan G. El Shukri Jumah, Abu Arif, Ja'far Al-Tayar, Jaffar Al-Tayyar, Jafar Tayar, Jaafar Al-Tayyar

More at:
Gateway Pundit - Terrorist Shukri-Jumaa may have been spotted in Texas.
Jawa Report - Al Qaeda dirty bomber spotted in Austin, Texas?
Beth at My VRWC - Adnan el-Shukrijumah update.
Gateway Pundit - Video of "nuclear terrorist" Adnan Shukrijumah found.

One note: From what I have been able to read so far, it is not entirely clear to me whether the planned act of terrorism would be committed with a nuclear fission device or with a radiological device.

UPDATE. Stratfor (subscription) reports: 'According to the FBI, El Shukrijumah is especially dangerous because of his intelligence and because his appearance, which enables him to pass as a Latino or Indian, allows him to blend in with non-Muslims. Also, having spent a considerable amount of time in the United States, he speaks English well and is familiar with U.S. culture. The State Department, through its Rewards for Justice Program, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to El Shukrijumah's arrest. There also is speculation outside of the government that he is well-versed in nuclear technology and is an accomplished pilot, but these claims are not supported by the FBI's investigation. His technical background, however, suggests he would be able to construct a dirty bomb. Operationally, an "American Hiroshima" plot would be difficult to successfully carry out. ... ' Full report is avialable to subscribers.


Rosh ha-Shanah comes this weekend, and although we won't be reading the creation story in Genesis (parashath Bereshith) until next month, it's not too early to start pondering the meaning of Creation and the role of G-d in the universe. After all, Rosh ha-Shanah is "the birthday of the world".

About a month ago, Richard Fernandez posted his essay A Reason to Believe at Pajamas Media. As anyone who reads this site knows, I'm a big admirer of Fernandez and a daily reader of The Belmont Club, but I found myself shaking my head when Fernandez cited Ann Coulter:
Ann Coulter claimed that “if a Martian landed in America and set out to determine the nation’s official state religion, he would have to conclude it is liberalism, while Christianity and Judaism are prohibited by law.” Liberalism, Coulter argues, is a religion in all but name with its own sacraments (abortion), holy writ (Roe v. Wade), martyrs (from Soviet spy Alger Hiss to cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal), clergy (public school teachers), churches (government schools,) and creation myth: Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Fernandez adds somewhat lamely that "Coulter’s comparison is provocative, but fails in one essential respect: unlike “early revolutionary Communism”, liberalism is neither visionary enough nor sufficiently disciplined to qualify as a fighting faith."

A couple of thoughts.

First: If Ann Coulter is the only thing standing between us and islamist fascism, then G-d help us all.

Second: Note that Coulter's statement is not an argument - that is, a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition - and Fernandez doesn't try to claim that it is. It is simply rhetoric, and I think it fails on a lot more than "one essential aspect".

I don't intend to expend a lot of energy arguing with Ann Coulter, but I do want to zero in on the implicit assumption that there's a fundamental dichotomy between "religion" (which, under this assumption, strictly implies a literalist, six-day scriptural belief in creation) and "secular science" (which dogmatically rejects any role of the Divine in the evolution of the universe and the Earth).

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook was one of the great religious leaders of the 19th and 20th centuries; he was Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and of what was then "British Palestine", and a founder of what we now know as religious Zionism. His life was spent walking the highwire between intellect and spirituality, the religious and the secular, Israel and the nations. He is one of my personal heroes.

I am by no means qualified to interpret Rav Kook's teachings, but let me share this with you, from no less a source than Arutz Sheva:
The Torah does not come to negate scientific knowledge or theory. In fact, science can often expand our understanding of Torah ideas. Nonetheless, it must be noted that unlike religious truths, scientific knowledge is constantly being challenged and changed.

Rabbi Kook, in a series of letters that address the thrust of your question, gives us an encompassing approach to this issue.

Concerning the story of the world’s creation, Rabbi Kook writes:

“The Torah certainly obscures the meaning of the act of Creation and speaks in allegories and parables, for indeed everyone knows that the stories of Genesis are part of the Kabbalah. If all these narratives were taken literally, what secrets would there be? The Midrash states, ‘To reveal the power of the act of Creation to mankind is impossible, and therefore the text, In the beginning, is worded vaguely.' What is important about the act of Creation is what we learn in regard to the knowledge of G-d and the truly moral life.”[citation in original post]

The Zohar underscores the importance of this deeper understanding:

“Rabbi Shimon said, Alas for a man who regards the Torah as a book of mere tales and everyday matters…. The stories of the Torah are only the outer garments, and whoever looks upon those garments as the Torah itself, woe to that man for he will have no portion in the World To Come….Wine cannot be kept save in a jar – so too the Torah needs an outer garment. These are the stories and narratives, but it behooves us to penetrate beneath them.”[citation in original post]

Rabbi Kook continues:

“There is no contradiction whatsoever between the Torah and any of the world’s scientific knowledge. We do not have to accept theories as certainties, no matter how widely accepted, for they are like blossoms that fade. Very soon, scientific technology will be further developed, and all of today’s new theories will be derided and scorned, and the respected wisdom of our day will seem small-minded - but the word of G-d will remain forever.”[citation in original post]

Go to the link for the rest. For further reading, here's a discussion of the issue at an Orthodox Jewish site, Hirhurim:
R. Avraham Yitzhak Kook also wrote of the possibility of accepting the theory of evolution. In two letters published in Oros Ha-Kodesh (pp. 559, 565) and translated into English in Challenge, R. Kook discusses the matter:

The evolutionary way of thinking... has caused considerable upheaval among many people whose thought had been wont to run in certain regular, well-defined paths. Not so, however, for the select, hard-thinking few who have always seen a gradual, evolutionary development in the world's most intimate spiritual essence. For them it is not difficult to apply, by analogy, the same principle to the physical development of the visible world.

R. Kook goes on to say that those who are reluctant to accept evolution as a possibility have hesitations but "[t]hese hesitations have nothing to do with any difficulty in reconciling the verses of the Torah or other traditional texts with an evolutionary standpoint. Nothing is easier than this. Everyone knows that here, if anywhere, is the realm of parable, allegory and allusion."

There's much more at the link, and it's a fascinating and illuminating read.

I do not think the present conflict requires us to choose between one fundamentalism and another. Nor do I believe that we must choose between faith and reason. I would wholeheartedly agree with Richard Fernandez' main point, that we must find within us the strength and the wisdom to counter the terrorist enemy with something deeper and nobler. I would submit that the belief in an all-present Divinity, working eternally and unseen according to an unknowable plan, is a part of that something. So, too, is the belief that humankind are called to be co-creators with G-d - a belief that is deeply rooted in the Jewish tradition.

Alabama Democrats Dump Larry Darby

Alabama's Democratic Party has declared Larry Darby persona non grata after the Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic atheist brought unwelcome attention with his run for attorney general. (Previous Dreams Into Lightning post here.) Integrating the Derivative reports:
Kudos to the Alabama Democratic Party for throwing out Larry Darby from any of their future primaries.

Agreed. Here's the AP story at SFGate:
Democratic Party leaders want a former candidate for attorney general who denies the Holocaust occurred to stay out of their future primaries.

The party's executive committee passed a resolution Saturday informing Larry Darby that "he is not welcome in the Alabama Democratic Party."

Darby, the founder of the Atheist Law Center, responded by saying the vote shows that the state party's leadership is "intellectually and morally bankrupt."

"This is the typical heavy-handed behavior of the Alabama Democratic Party for the last 30 years," Darby said. "They're censoring me for having the wrong views."

Darby lost to Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson Jr. in the June 6 primary race. He received 43 percent of the vote.

Darby, for his part, took revenge on his fellow atheists:
Darby said he changed his views on atheism "based on experiences or understanding of the world around me." He didn't respond directly when asked if he was renouncing atheism to position himself better politically.

"I agree with moral precepts put forth by Jesus of Nazareth and I am Christian in a sense that Jesus of Nazareth would approve," Darby wrote.


Islam is not the enemy ...

... Islamic fascism is. Ralph Peters has a column on "Islam-Haters: An Enemy Within":
Islamist fanatics attacked us and yearn to destroy us. The Muslim civilization of the Middle East has failed comprehensively and will continue to generate violence. The only way to deal with faith-poisoned terrorists is to kill them.

And the world's only hope for long-term peace is for moderate Muslims - by far the majority around the globe - to recapture their own faith.

But a rotten core of American extremists is out to make it harder for them.

The most repugnant trend in the American shouting match that passes for a debate on the struggle with Islamist terrorism isn't the irresponsible nonsense on the left - destructive though that is. The really ugly "domestic insurgency" is among right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism. ...

Tom the Redhunter:
I agree with Peters that this sort of thing is wrong, and here's why.

Let me say right now that I am not talking about things like stopping or reducing Muslim immigration. I think that the Europeans should slow down or stop immigration into their countries by Muslims, and need to work hard to assimilate those that have. Nor, heaven knows, am I saying that the way Islam is practiced by many is not evil. Further, I am disgusted at how moderate Muslims (and yes they exist) have not done more to confront and counter the radicals. Many Mosques in Western countries are infiltrated by radicals and the Muslim community is not doing nearly enough to root them out.

But none of this the same as saying that Islam is evil. I am a Christian, and as such believe that Islam is a false religion. But it is not evil.

Tammy Bruce:
We do not need to think about wiping out Islam to defeat the enemy--we do need to democratize the Middle East, giving the people control, which should isolate and marginalize fascists. Once people get freedom, they like it. Fascists, of course, by their very definition, require totalitarian control.

For those who say I'm wrong, and it's Islam that needs to be wiped away and how all this is folly, I'll use WWII as an example. We did not need to "wipe away" all Germans or Japanese to win that war. Yes, we needed to defeat them completely, but we also forced democracy on them and forced the Japanese to westernize. But there is also one other thing we did to both countries that today's bending to political correctness precludes--banning state religion.

With the Japanese, we banned Shinto, and the with Germans we banned Nazism (which, of course, was the worship of Hitler and so-called Aryanism). When it comes to the Middle East, the equivalent for Afghanistan and Iraq would not to ban Islam, but to require a secular government, secular constitutions, and to ban the Wahabbist (the modern Shinto/Nazi problem) sect/interpretation/practice of Islam.

The Redhunter adds another post:
I've [seen] several right-wing (I won't call them conservative) sites in which the authors and commenters are convinced that Islam is a religion of hate, violence, it is evil, unreformable, the whole bit. Anyone who dares to disagree is a dhimmi. Once I see where the comments are going I usually don't chime in, as there's no point.

Anyone who's read more than this post knows that I believe that Islam as it is currently practiced [emphasis in original - aa] by all too many Muslims has a problem with violence. Far too many Muslims are completely hypocritical on the issue of military force, unable or unwilling to understand the difference between direct attacks on civilians and attacks on military targets where civilians are killed as an unfortunate byproduct (hmm, many Western liberals are confused there too). They excuse terrorism with weasel words. Abuse of women and total lack of civil rights are the hallmarks of most Islamic societies. I could go on but you get the point.

And he names names. Go to the link to read the rest, and to find out where he (slightly) disagrees with Ralph Peters.


Hekmatyar Arrested

Previous Dreams Into Lightning report here.

The Fourth Rail:
The commander of Hezb-i-Islami and al-Qaeda ally detained during a raid in eastern Afghanistan

On the day of the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attack, Coalition forces score a high value target in Afghanistan. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the commander of Hezb-i-Islami and ally of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, has been captured during a joint U.S. and Afghan Army raid in “eastern Afghanistan.” Hekmatyar, contrary to his rhetoric gave up to the Coalition forces without a fight. Hekmatyar's arrest is said to be part of an 'ongoing operation.'

Winds of Change: 'Hekmatyar has been a problem for a long time as the commander of Hezb-i-Islami and ally of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In fact, I've disliked him for longer than that, and with reason.' Follow Joe Katzman's link to Hekmatyar's profile.

Via LGF, here's (again) M&C:
Kabul - In an operation launched by Afghan coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan, a known al-Qaeda facilitator and six other suspected al-Qaeda associates were detained, coalition forces said.

The commander of the Hizb-i-Islami militia in Hafezan in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, was arrested after credible intelligence led Afghan and coalition forces to his compound, the statement said.

No shots were fired and there were no injuries reported.

Hikmatyar, the former prime minister of Afghanistan, announced jihad or holy war against what he called the US invasion of Afghanistan four and half years ago and the joint opposition of the Afghan government by Taliban and al-Qaeda in the fight against coalition forces.

Two other al-Qaeda suspects were arrested last week in the south- eastern province of Khost.

Finally, Judith at Kesher Talk remembers Sheikh Massoud:
On September 9, 2001, two days before planes flew into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the last remaining anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan was assassinated by two suicide bombers pretending to be journalists. The bomb was hidden in their camera. A documentary filmmaker and newspaper editor, Faheem Dashty, was almost killed in the blast. The assassins were sent by Osama bin Laden, in concert with the Taliban, who wanted to eliminate Massoud before turning their attention to the US.

Go read it all.