Here in the Bay Area, November’s election brought two Asian mayors to major cities. The voters picked Jean Quan to be Oakland’s leader, and the election of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to be Lieutenant Governor left unexpired time on his term. Ed Lee was chosen by the Board of Supervisors to become the interim mayor.
So the local Chinese et al are thrilled, right? Not exactly. They partied hearty at Lee’s inauguration, but recent analysis from Asian pundits was more carping than celebration, at least in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle. The paper often showcases differing views on a topic, but in this case two Asian writers groused in unison that the ascension of two Asian mayors was too little, too late because of xenophobia and racism.
Helen Zia concentrated on complaints from more than a century ago:
It’s not only about time, it’s way past time to have Asian American mayors in San Francisco and Oakland, considering how long these cities have boasted substantial Asian American populations. What took Asian Americans so long to get this far?
The answer lies in the darker side of California’s history. On the streets of San Francisco, Oakland and throughout California, vigilante lynch mobs stoked a xenophobic movement in the late 1800s with the stated goal of driving every “Asiatic” out of America. Federal laws turned all Asians into “persons ineligible for citizenship.” The disenfranchisement was so comprehensive that Asian Americans who were naturalized had their citizenships revoked; white American women who married Asian men were stripped of their citizenships; U.S.-born citizens of Asian descent were assumed to be illegal if they left the country and were subject to detention, interrogation and deportation upon returning. Immigration from Asia was limited to a trickle.
Such racist laws were slowly peeled back in the mid-1900s, but the damage was done: For generations, there were no voters leagues, no candidates forums, no election pipelines or other signs of electoral involvement among people forbidden to become citizens. Since those not-so-distant days, it’s been a marathon to catch up, and it’s no accident that both Ed Lee and Jean Quan have been part of the long effort to empower these communities.
Asian Americans might be singing “At Last!” but these mayoralties are only the beginning of what these dynamic peoples can bring to our democracy.
There’s much to celebrate about Ed Lee and Jean Quan, the Bay Area’s new power couple, the first Asian Americans to become the mayors of San Francisco and Oakland. They’ve cracked through a political glass ceiling that has bedeviled Asian American communities for decades. In the Year of the Rabbit, this is big news.
It’s not just because they are Chinese. Lee earned his street cred three decades ago at the Asian Law Caucus, defending poor immigrants. The street-smart Quan learned the power of grassroots organizing through her community work and campaigns for the Oakland school board and City Council.
Yet I fear this might not be enough to completely shatter the glass ceiling. Why? Because that would require the unequivocal support of people outside the Asian American communities – the voters, power brokers, corporate titans and social elites who have yet to embrace the need to share power at all levels. They will view Lee as a “caretaker mayor” and beneficiary of a backroom deal. They will view Quan as a winner by a technicality, courtesy of the ranked-choice voting system.
Full acceptance for Asian Americans and other groups will require continuing social and political reform.
Yes, great strides have been made, but it’s taken an astonishingly long time. San Francisco and Oakland were incorporated during the Gold Rush, when the first Chinese journeyed here in search of the American dream, only to face persecution and lynchings. To close the last mile, we will need to see more Lees and Quans capturing these top posts with outright election victories, broadly won, unmarred by ifs, ands or buts.
There’s nothing like success to send professional race hucksters into a tizzy: they are terrified that the public will no longer accept their race- and victimhood-obsessed view of reality. A post-racial society is the last thing they want.
So we read emotional grievances that the tribe in question is still being kept down, which is quite a trick considering Asians’ successes, e.g. the highest household income in the US and the highest level of education (49% have at least a BA degree).
The employment outlook for most Americans looks pretty bad, but for those over 50 it is downright grim. Businesses just don’t like to hire older workers, even though they are just as capable as anyone else, and often more so.
The one thing about Obamacare (with the eventual endgame of single-payer) that I thought might be beneficial was removing healthcare costs from the employer. That would disincentivize laying off older workers who cost more for health coverage and might make them more employable.
Anyway, it’s clear that age discrimination laws don’t work, because employers can always make up some excuse. As long as a business doesn’t fire everyone over 50 on the same day, there’s no case to be made. There is not much that can be done, except the overall reduction of excess workers: the best way to improve the prospects of older workers would be for Washington to shut down the firehose of legal immigration (1.5 million workers annually) and apply enforcement to illegal immigration.
Before mass immigration, American workers could easily pick up a part-time blue-collar job during hard times and get by until the economy improved. But both the percentage and absolute numbers of foreign workers has been going up since 1970, as shown in the chart below. There is a glut of potential employees generally, and one of the groups most affected by a flooded labor market has been older workers.
Sadly, there’s not much attention given at all to the bleak job prospects older workers face, much less the immigration connection.
Kathleen Harwell can’t imagine what life on the streets would be like for a 59-year-old woman with diabetes and high blood pressure, but she’s afraid she’ll soon find out.
After nearly two years without work and no luck finding a new job, the Laurel resident is on the brink of homelessness. She has run out of savings and unemployment benefits. She’s too young for Social Security. And she’s not the only one in this frightening fix.
A burgeoning group of older, jobless people — here and nationwide — have found everything they worked for over the decades snatched away by the sharp downturn and slow recovery. Laid-off workers in their 50s, 60s and older are facing grim prospects of finding a new job, the worst for any age group in at least five recessions, at a time when hardly anyone is finding re-employment easy or quick.
That has left these residents in a precarious state.
Baltimore’s homeless-services agencies saw a 15 percent jump last year in the number of clients ages 50 and up. Calls for help to the United Way of Central Maryland’s 211 line rose almost 9 percent among those older than 45 last year, compared with a 1 percent increase among all ages. And food pantries served by the Maryland Food Bank have noticed an influx of baby boomers, including some who were donors before job loss struck. Continue reading this article
Once again, Arizona is the spearpoint of defending the country against the onslaught of illegal aliens, this time challenging the misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, by which the children of illegal aliens born on American soil are awarded citizenship. While some in the dinosaur media characterize the legislation as off the reservation, Arizona has already ticked off the more straight-forward items on the to-do list of enforcement.
In one example, while Washington is still jawboning about increased workplace enforcement, Arizona passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007, which required employers to use E-verify on all new hires. The law was legally challenged by the usual suspects and is now in the hands of the Supremes, with the Obama administration siding against employer sanctions, even though candidate Obama favored a crackdown on businesses that hired illegals.
Lawmakers in Arizona are proposing a bill that challenges automatic U.S. citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, their latest foray into the national debate over illegal immigration.
Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, who filed the Arizona plan Thursday, said the goal isn’t to get every state in the nation to enact such a law, but rather to bring the dispute to the courts in hopes of reducing the costs associated with granting automatic citizenship.
“The result of that is they immediately acquire the right to full benefits, everything from welfare to cheese, which increases the costs to the states,” Kavanagh said. “And beyond that, it’s irresponsible and foolish to bestow citizenship based upon one’s GPS location at birth.”
In the video below (4 minutes in), Raza mouthpiece Brent Wilkes says, “There’s no evidence whatsoever that perhaps the ability to have a child here that’s going to be a citizen influences immigration to the United States at all.”
Au contraire. Alien moms aren’t shy about admitting they come to plop out a meal-ticket jackpot baby. Just ask them:
Furthermore, the generosity (or stupidity) of America on this issue does not generate gratitude from the illegals, but instead grows a gigantic sense of entitlement. A pregnant illegal recently appeared on Arizona TV and declared her right to the freebie: Illegal Mother: My Unborn Child Deserves Citizenship, Fox Phoenix.
Persons concerned about the survival of Western Civilization watch Europe’s degradation with alarm, as hostile Muslims use intimidation and violence to destroy freedom of speech, individual rights and women’s equality.
As terror analyst Walid Phares noted last fall, “According to open-source reports, between 2001 and 2008, U.S. agencies stopped one or two terror attempts a year. However, from 2009 until today, the government has been uncovering one or two cases a month, a troubling growth in jihadi activities.”
The prudent thing for Washington to do would be to stop Muslim immigration entirely, since there is no right to immigrate, and national security is endangered by the historically adversarial group.
We should have ZERO Muslim immigration, not a continued open door to potential enemies.
The number of Muslims in the 51 countries in the Americas is projected to more than double in the next 20 years, from 5.3 million in 2010 to 10.9 million in 2030. Nevertheless, Muslims will remain a small minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 1.0% of the population in 2030, compared with 0.6% in 2010. Muslims in the Americas also will continue to represent a small share of the global Muslim population. The percentage of the world’s Muslims living in the Americas is expected to remain roughly the same (0.5% in 2030, compared with 0.3% in 2010).
Most of the projected growth in the region’s Muslim population will take place in North America, particularly in the U.S. and Canada. If current trends continue, the Muslim population in the United States is projected to more than double in the next 20 years, from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030.40 Canada’s Muslim population is expected to nearly triple, climbing from 940,000 in 2010 to 2.7 million in 2030. [. . .]
Muslim Immigration to the United States Muslim immigration to the United States has been steadily increasing since the 1990s, except for a slight dip following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City in 2001. In 1992, nearly 50,000 Muslim immigrants were granted permanent residency status in the United States. By 2009, the annual number had increased to more than 115,000. If current trends continue, about 130,000 Muslims are expected to be granted permanent residency in the United States annually by 2030.
This report’s projections for Muslim immigrants to the U.S. are based partly on data from the 2003 New Immigrant Survey. Pew Forum staff used these data to calculate the proportion of all immigrants who are Muslim for each country from which large numbers of Muslims recently have come to the U.S. (This proportion does not necessarily match the religious composition of the country of origin. For instance, while Pakistan is 96.4% Muslim today, 89.5% of immigrants from Pakistan are estimated to be Muslim.) The proportion of immigrants who are Muslim for each country was then applied to the actual number of immigrants receiving permanent residency from that country, as reported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 1992 to 2009.
These calculations show that Muslim immigrants have been rising both in absolute numbers and as a share of all immigrants receiving permanent U.S. residency. As previously mentioned, the number of Muslims receiving permanent residency grew from just under 50,000 in 1992 to about 115,000 in 2009, while the share that Muslims represent of all new permanent residents rose from about 5.1% in 1992 to about 10.2% in 2009. At the same time, the total number of immigrants receiving permanent residency status has fluctuated from year to year but has increased, on average, by about 2% annually from 1992 to 2009.
As far as I can tell thus far, only the home-town paper of Rep. Elton Gallegly (pictured) reported directly about his first hearing as Chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee. However, scheduling the panel for the day following the President’s State of the Union speech may have consigned the hearing to minimal news coverage, given how the annual ritual of the SOTU arouses very intense pundit behavior in the media that lasts for days.
More attention paid to the hearing would have been welcome, since it included focus on how immigration policy normally ignores how it worsens unemployment among citizens.
It’s a shame the committees don’t go digital and record all their hearings for Youtube. It wouldn’t be that hard to do and would be a valuable resource for politics and policy. We certainly can’t depend on the MSM for accurate immigration information.
WASHINGTON — With the light tap of a gavel, Rep. Elton Gallegly began his reign as chairman of a congressional immigration panel on Wednesday and immediately attacked the Obama administration’s efforts at cracking down on undocumented immigrants in the workplace.
Gallegly and other Republicans on the panel charged that, under President Barack Obama, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has relaxed the get-tough approach it had taken under former President George W. Bush in dealing with illegal workers.
The result, GOP lawmakers said, is illegal immigrants are taking jobs from American workers.
“The Obama administration’s strategy clearly does a grave disservice to American workers,” said Gallegly, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.
Worksite enforcement must ensure “those jobs that are available go to Americans and legal immigrants,” he said.
Gallegly, a Simi Valley Republican, has made the fight against illegal immigration the signature issue of his two-decade-long congressional career. But he has promised “fair and responsible oversight” of immigration policy as the new subcommittee chairman.
Wednesday’s hearing, the first under Gallegly’s leadership, focused on whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement is doing enough to keep illegal immigrants out of the workplace. The title of the hearing: “ICE Worksite Enforcement: Up to the Job?”
The answer, at least for Republicans on the panel, appeared to be “no.”
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas and the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, charged that worksite enforcement has plummeted under the Obama administration, with administrative arrests of undocumented workers falling by 77 percent and criminal arrests falling by 60 percent over the past two years.
Criminal indictments have fallen 57 percent and criminal convictions have dropped 66 percent during the same period, Smith said.
The unemployment rate last month was 9.4 percent, meaning that 14.5 million Americans were looking for work. The U6 unemployment rate, which includes underemployed and discouraged workers, stood at a whopping 16.7 percent (representing nearly 26 million Americans), with even higher rates for young workers and minorities.
And yet immigration policymaking takes no note of these facts. Over the past decade, 13.1 million immigrants (legal and illegal) arrived in the United States, but there was a net decline of one million jobs over the same period. The disconnect between immigration and employment was even more stark over the past two years; according to a report last week from Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, U.S. household employment declined by 6.26 million, but 1.1 million new immigrants nonetheless got jobs.
The President was doing reasonably well in his State of the Union address, speaking positively about traditional values like hard work and education. But he couldn’t leave well enough alone; he had to inject his comprehensive amnesty scheme to reward foreign lawbreakers whom he imagines will be future Democrats.
He spoke like it’s a little thing to amnesty millions, shred the principle of national sovereignty and add $2.6 trillion to the national debt from the increased welfare costs.
One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.
Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.
Obama now pretends to have moved to the center, but diversity against American values is still job #1 for him.
It’s true: two honor killing trials are going on at the same time. What a triumph for Islamic diversity in America. Muslims must be proud that their misogynist culture has been implanted so thoroughly in a society that thought it was doing well on gender equality. The wonders of multicultural immigration, that enriches us all here in backward America!
In Phoenix, the trial of Faleh Almaleki started on Monday, for the murder of his daughter Noor for becoming too westernized — i.e. independent and unwilling to be the slave of Allah and her father (pictured). The prosecution’s attempt to negotiate a plea deal fell through, so now the perp is left with lame excuses, like “accident.” Ri-i-i-ght!
PHOENIX — An attorney for an Iraqi immigrant accused of killing his daughter because he believed she was too Westernized said the death was an accident caused when he tried to spit on a woman who had helped his daughter.
But a prosecutor said during opening statements Monday in the case of Faleh Almaleki that he intentionally slammed his Jeep into his 20-year-old daughter, Noor Almaleki, and her boyfriend’s mother.
For honor crime #2 we turn to Buffalo, where the trial of Muzzammil Hassan enters the second week. He admits murdering his wife and then beheading her. The crime qualifies as an honor killing because he killed her when she filed for divorce to pursue her own life as an independent individual. Muslim wives are not supposed to divorce their husbands, although the reverse is quite acceptable.
Last week was pretty dramatic, with Muzzammil’s son by a previous marriage testifying against him. Outside the courtroom, a family therapist Nancy Kells said in an interview that Muzzammil was the only person she ever feared in 20 years of practice:
Today’s big news is that the judge relented to Muzzammil’s demands that he be allowed to represent himself in court.
A former New York TV executive accused in the gruesome beheading his estranged wife has been granted permission to act as his own defense lawyer for the rest of his murder trial.
In a reversal Monday, a judge allowed Muzzammil Hassan to take over as lead counsel from attorney Jeremy Schwartz. The two have been at odds over Hassan’s defense since the trial began in Buffalo last week. Schwartz will stay on to help.
Judge Thomas Franczyk initially denied Hassan’s request, but relented when Schwartz brought up their differences again Monday.
Hassan is accused of killing his 37-year-old wife Aasiya Hassan inside the offices of Bridges TV, the Muslim-oriented television station the couple founded to counter negative images of Muslims after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“She was very much aware of the potential ramification her filing for divorce might have,” said attorney Elizabeth DiPirro, whose law firm, Hogan Willig, represented Aasiya Hassan in divorce proceedings. “But she wanted to proceed despite the potential for it to erupt.”
DiPirro said the couple had “physical confrontations off and on” for their entire eight-year marriage that had escalated to death threats. The grounds for divorce were “cruel and inhuman treatment,” DiPirro said, referring to multiple prior incidents of abuse.
“We were worried about the situation becoming volatile,” DiPirro said.
Shame on the Washington Post for whipping up fear among Muslims who reside in America. It has a front-page shriek-fest today, aimed at blaming Americans. The layout portrays Muslims as poor little victims, suffering from the cruelty of meanie citizens — which is a Big Lie.
Why continue to welcome Muslims as immigrants? Is Islamic diversity worth a nuked American city sometime in the future?
Anyway, the Post is now vying with the New York Times for position as top dhimmi publication, fawning in weakness toward hostile Islam. What do Muslims fear? So-called hate crimes against Muslims are a tiny fraction of those committed, according to the most recent FBI report. McClatchy’s headline was Hate crimes against Muslims rare, FBI data shows, indicating the whole Islamophobia hysteria is nonexistent, a media creation of CAIR and other fifth-column friends of jihad.
And if there were a genuine “panic” among Muslims residing in the United States concerning “Islamophobia,” they would be packing up to leave for the welcoming ummah lands. Wouldn’t they?
WESTBURY, N.Y. – They called it a summit to teach Muslims how to fight prejudice and fear. But all day long, fear was inescapable in the fluorescent-lit meeting hall of the Long Island mosque.
The top issue on everyone’s mind this month at the Islamic Center of Long Island was this: What could be done to stop planned congressional hearings on alleged hidden radicalism among American Muslims and mosques?
The House hearings, scheduled to begin next month, have touched off a wave of panic throughout the U.S. Muslim community, which has spent much of the past year battling what it sees as a rising tide of Islamophobia. Conference calls, strategy sessions and letter-writing campaigns have been launched. Angry op-eds have compared the congressional inquiry to McCarthyism and the World War II persecution of Japanese Americans.
The American people do not believe the myth of “Islamophobia” in the face of overwhelming evidence of Islamic plots against us. It’s not a phobia when they really are trying to kill citizens.
But for those who gathered at the Long Island mosque, the coming hearings represented not just a political issue, but a personal one. For the man organizing the hearings was the very lawmaker who was supposed to represent them in Washington – Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.). Long before he had become their enemy, he had been one of their community’s closest friends.
“He used to come to our weddings. He ate dinner in our homes,” said the mosque’s chairman, Habeeb Ahmed, a short medical technologist with graying hair sitting near the front. “Everything just changed suddenly after 9/11, and now he’s holding hearings to say that people like us are radical extremists. I don’t understand it.”
At the meeting that day, Ahmed, a 55-year-old immigrant from India, was surrounded by more than a hundred Muslim leaders from New York and beyond.
There were Sunnis and Shiites. There were doctors, engineers and pharmacists who had left Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh to remake their lives in the United States. There were African Americans who had embraced Islam decades ago and new converts who were learning what it meant to be Muslim in America. Continue reading this article
The rejection of reason also tells a lot about why Islamic societies are so deeply dysfunctional, because their religion rejects natural law (e.g. gravity, basic physics, etc. which Reilly calls “God’s customs” as viewed by Islam).
How do you negotiate with a culture whose foundational assumptions are so deeply alien to our science- and reason-based society? With great difficulty, because Islam believes force is the proper adjudicator: as Reilly observed, “Why does Islam use violence to affirm its theology? Because it is the theology of power.”
Here’s an interview with author Reilly from a few months ago, where he remarked, “That’s what you get in a theology of pure will and power, that terrorism is an obligation.”
JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer interviewed Reilly recently about his book. It gets a little Islo-wonky at times, but the author’s analysis explains the historical hostility of Islam in a reasonable way.
In your fascinating new book The Closing of the Muslim Mind, you expand in important ways on the insight Pope Benedict XVI expressed in his famous Regensburg address–that Islam, as it currently exists in all “orthodox” forms, is fundamentally at odds with reason. Surely, you don’t mean that Muslims don’t employ reason in their daily lives or even their political conduct. So what do you mean?
I mean what the Pope meant when he spoke of the dehellenization of Islam – its loss of philosophy and reason. I mean that the premise from which many Muslims start is unreasonable in the sense that it is not subject to critical examination. It is not subject to critical examination because the principal theological school of Sunni Islam discredited reason.
In other words, a paranoid person behaves reasonably once you accept the paranoid delusion upon which he is acting. But it is his delusion that is unreasonable, not his behavior. The problem is getting him to see that his delusion does not comport with reality. In the majority of Sunni Islam today, access to realty is blocked because of the abandonment of reason. The premise on which reason was discredited is the delusion from which they are suffering. It is very hard to get them to realize this because the premise is a theological one – that God is pure will and power, not reason.
In your book, you identify several turning points in the intellectual development of Islamic thought. I would like you to expand on them:
1) The rejection of free will on the part of Islamic exegetes, and their embrace of predestination–their assertion that man’s actions are not in fact free, but are infallibly dictated by the divine will. How and why did this counter-intuitive position win out over the theory that man acts freely? Are the Islamic texts more weighted in favor of absolute divine sovereignty?
You refer to the oldest argument within Islam, which was about predestination and free will. The advocates of free will were called Qadarites, or Qadariyya, after the Arabic word qadar, which can mean divine decree or predestination, or power. They stood for the opposite to predestination: man’s free will and consequent responsibility for his actions. Man has power (qadar) over his own actions. If men were not able to control their behaviour, said the Qadarites, the moral obligation to do good and avoid evil, enjoined by the Qur’an, would be meaningless.
Contrary to this view, the Jabariyya (determinists; from jabr – blind compulsion) embraced the doctrine that divine omnipotence requires the absolute determination of man’s actions by God. One of the names of God in the Qur’an is Al-Jabbar, the Compeller (59:23), whose power cannot be resisted. God alone authors man’s every movement. To say otherwise ties God’s hands and limits his absolute freedom. One of the exponents of this view, Jahm b. Safwan (d. 745), argued that man’s actions are imputed to him only in the same way as one imputes “the bearing of fruit to the tree, flowing to the stream, motion to the stone, rising or setting to the sun – blooming and vegetating to the earth.” As twentieth century Muslim thinker Fazlur Rahman summed up the dispute, “In the eyes of the orthodox, this freedom for man was bondage for God.” Their theology made free will anathema. Reality was distorted to fit a deformed theology. Thus we have statements such as this from Ibn Taymiyya, the medieval thinker so in favor with Islamists today: “Creatures have no impact on God since it is God Himself who creates their acts.” So freedom for God ended up meaning bondage for man.
The Qur’an offers support for both positions. It is the Hadith that weigh decisively in favor of the predestination position but, as you know, the Hadith were not codified until around the ninth century and after. The struggle between these two views was particularly intense at that time.
2) The abandonment of reason as a tool for understanding the divine nature–and indeed, the insistence that it was blasphemous to assert that Allah had any consistent, knowable “nature” at all, that might constrain his absolute, arbitrary freedom of action. What Qur’anic texts were adduced to support this radical voluntarism? What effect did this have on the development of an Islamic theology?
It had a very dramatic effect on Islamic theology. It ended it. How can theology explore a God who acts for no reasons? By definition, He becomes incomprehensible. “Allah does what he wills.” – Qur’an 14:27 “Dost thou not know that God has the power to will anything?” – Qur’an 2:106 This aspect of Allah was also remarked upon by the Islamist radical Sayyid Qutb in The Shadow of the Qur’an: “Every time the Qur’an states a definite promise or constant law, it follows it with a statement implying that the Divine will is free of all limitations and restrictions, even those based on a promise from Allah or a law of His. For His will is absolute beyond any promise of law.” You may also recall the famous remark by Ibn Hazm that the Pope used in the Regensburg Lecture that “God is not bound even by his own word.”
Also, God is unknowable in Sunni Islam because of God’s utter transcendence. This is the doctrine of tanzih. There is nothing comparable to Him. God does not reveal Himself to man; He reveals his rules, and that is all. This is another reason why Islam reduced itself to jurisprudential matters only. The only thing that matters is knowing the law.
3) Western multiculturalists eager to praise Islamic achievements frequently cite Averroes and Avicenna as pioneering philosophers who recovered the insights of Aristotle–and served as the transmitters of the defunct Aristotelian tradition to the West. What was the fate of these philosophers within their own cultural sphere? Why were they rejected? Was “philosophy” as a discipline itself dismissed in orthodox Islamic circles?
I just returned from Cordoba, Spain, where Averroes lived and worked. It was a thrill to walk the same streets as he and Maimonides had. Avicenna and Averroes represent the highest attempt to assimilate Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy into Islam – to reconcile reason and revelation in the Muslim world. Averroes did have a huge impact, but it was mostly on Europe, not Islam. If you want a date on which the Muslim mind closed, 1195 A.D. might serve as the marker. It was then that Averroes’s books were burned in the city square, that he was sent into exile, and that the teaching of philosophy was banned. His works in Arabic today have been back translated from either Latin or Hebrew, the languages in which most of his books were preserved.
Reason was rejected because it is too corrupted by self-interest. But the real, deeper reason is because there is nothing for it to know. Reality is composed of a series of instantaneous miracles directly caused by God’s will. Everything is directly done by God, who acts for no reasons. The catastrophic result of this view was the denial of the relationship between cause and effect in the natural world. Therefore, what may seem to be “natural laws,” such as the laws of physics, gravity, etc., are really nothing more than God’s customs, which He is at complete liberty to break or change at any moment. The consequences of this view were momentous. If creation exists simply as a succession of miraculous moments, it cannot be apprehended by reason. As a result, reality becomes incomprehensible. If unlimited will is the exclusive constituent of reality, there is really nothing left to reason about. In The Incoherence of the Philosophers, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111), perhaps the single most influential Muslim thinker after Mohammed, vehemently rejected Greek thought: “The source of their infidelity was their hearing terrible names such as Socrates and Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle.” Al-Ghazali insisted that God is not bound by any order and that there is, therefore, no “natural” sequence of cause and effect, as in fire burning cotton or, more colorfully, as in “the purging of the bowels and the using of a purgative.” Things do not act according to their own natures – they have no natures – but only according to God’s will at the moment.
What was the fate of the great philosophical legacy in Islam from Averroes, Avicenna, Al-Razi, Al-Kindi, etc.? Here is a stark assessment by reformist thinker Ibrahim Al-Buleihi, a current member of the Saudi Shura Council: “What I wanted to clarify is that these [achievements] are not of our own making, and those exceptional individuals were not the product of Arab culture, but rather Greek culture. They are outside our cultural mainstream and we treated them as though they were foreign elements. Therefore we don’t deserve to take pride in them since we rejected them and fought their ideas. Conversely, when Europe learned from them it benefited from a body of knowledge which was originally its own because they were an extension of Greek culture, which is the source of the whole of Western civilization.”
In fact, the rejection continues to this day. Muslim scholar Bassam Tibi states that “because rational disciplines had not been institutionalized in classical Islam, the adoption of the Greek legacy had no lasting effect on Islamic civilization . . .” Indeed, “contemporary Islamic fundamentalists denounce not only cultural modernity, but even the Islamic rationalism of Averroes and Avicenna, scholars who had defined the heights of Islamic civilization.” Continue reading this article
Thilo Sarrazin is the former German Bundesbank official who wrote a book that outraged the liberal establishment by noting the refusal of Muslim immigrants to assimilate to German society. His book, Deutschland Shafft Sich Ab (Germany Does Away with Itself), has been a phenomenal best seller (1.2 million copies sold) and launched a national dialogue about repressed ideas which many Germans have about immigration.
On January 18, he appeared on a BBC talk program, Have Your Say, to answer questions and discuss his ideas in English [LISTEN].
Sarrazin fears a future Islamic Germany, filled with Muslims who despise Western values. He has no objection to successfully assimilated ethnic groups like Vietnamese and Indians who have jobs and speak German.
Der Spiegel thinks that expecting immigrants to assimilate is too outrageous, calling Sarrazin an “integration provocateur.” The Spiegel scribbler also opined that the banker’s ideas sounded “even crasser in English.”
The idea of social cohesion through similarity is not some new right-wing plot against diversity but has ancient roots and is based in human nature. Our psychology means we are more comfortable among those who share our language and values. “Diversity decreases trust” as sociologist Robert Putnam has observed.
The liberals’ war against human nature is doomed to failure, but they keep plugging away nevertheless. Perhaps they hope for an eventual pill to solve the undiverse aspects of personhood that even years of propaganda (aka school) can’t erase.
Former German central banker Thilo Sarrazin has been touting his controversial book on integration for months. This week, he went on BBC — and managed to sound even more outrageous in English than he does in German. His advice? If you are discriminated against for wearing a headscarf, leave the country.
It was left up to Thilo Sarrazin to introduce himself at the beginning. “Hello, this is Thilo Sarrazin. I am glad to speak to you on BBC ‘Have Your Say.’ … I am the author of a book which can be named in English ‘Germany Is Doing Itself Away.’”
It is a book which has dominated Germany’s integration debate for months, and one which has generated a passionate response — both acceptance and rejection — from people across the country. The book claims, among other assertions, that Turkish immigrants in the country have detracted, rather than contributed to, the country’s prosperity. He also claims, as he said early on in the BBC program broadcast on Tuesday, that “the brightest people get the fewest babies.” Or, as the idea is formulated in his book, immigrants, because of their lower levels of education and what he claims are higher birth rates, are making Germany dumber on average.
It was a tantalizing start to the latest edition of what has become a well-known debate in Germany and abroad. For 50 minutes, Sarrazin — whose book has been at the top of Germany’s bestseller lists for weeks — held forth on his opinions about Muslims. He discussed his book with callers from Great Britain, Germany, the United States and elsewhere in the world — and didn’t seem concerned that his ideas sound even crasser in English than they do in German. The program can be found here.
‘Care and Deliberation’
Most of the callers were much more comfortable speaking English than Sarrazin. But he didn’t let it bother him. On the BBC, he demonstrated the practiced comfort he has won from the dozens of presentations, readings and book discussions he has held across Germany since his book hit the shelves in August. He warned that political correctness is a danger to democracy and rejected accusations that he was fomenting divisions in his home country. Continue reading this article
I suppose it was something of a victory for sanity and justice that a Somali immigrant was convicted of a hate crime against a white teenager, particularly since the victim was initially doubted by locals. After all, 16-year-old Shane McClellan (pictured) said he had been tortured for hours by two men who had shouted, “The white man has kept us down,” and “This is for enslaving our people.”
A crime like that runs counter to the liberal narrative. Immigrants are highly regarded as a victim group, incapable of racist hate, goes the stereotype.
Ahmed Mohamed, who was sentenced Friday to nearly six years in prison for the attack last year on a West Seattle teen, claimed the caffeine-infused energy beer he drank for the first time the night of the assault was partially to blame.
“He is extremely sorry he committed this act,” his attorney, Kevin McCabe, said in King County Superior Court. “It was Mr. Mohamed’s first experience with alcohol and an extremely unfortunate type of alcohol to have for your first run-in.”
KIRO Radio emphasized the apology of Ahmed Mohamed (pictured), but also included disturbing details about the crime:
The attack was savage. Two people set upon Shane McClellan in the early morning hours one day last May as the 16-year-old was walking home from a friend’s house.
“They burned him with lit cigarettes, they urinated on him, they beat him, his teeth were chipped, his face was swollen almost beyond recognition when the police arrived several hours later,” deputy prosecutor Erin Becker told a judge Friday.
Police say the men beat and tortured McClellan for as long as four hours, at one point saying “how do you like it, white boy?”
One of the two attackers pleaded guilty, and faced sentencing in King County Superior Court on Friday. Somali immigrant Ahmed Mohamed says the attack was fueled by alcohol and that he doesn’t remember much about what happened. He told the judge he drank because of peer pressure although he conceded it’s not an excuse.
“I’m real sorry to Shane and his father for everything that I put him through,” said Mohamed.
Mohamed’s mother, using an interpreter, also apologized in court for her son’s actions and asked for sympathy for him.
A judge sentenced Mohamed to 69 months in prison, almost six years, for robbery and malicious harassment with a firearm enhancement. She called the crime hateful, humiliating and senseless.
McClellan turned 17-years-old today but his father says he decided to stay away from court. Jim McClellan says the attack continues to trouble his family.
“The length and duration of the beating is something I just can’t imagine,” Jim told the judge.
A second man, 21-year-old Jonathan Baquiring is set for trial next month.
Good job from the prosecutors for getting a strong statement from Mohamed that left no question about his racial motivation:
In the plea deal, Mohamed wrote, “Specifically, I along with Jonathan Baquiring robbed Shane McClellan by stealing items from his pockets while threatening to cap him, whipping him with his belt and burning him with cigarettes. We also displayed a knife with a several inch blade, held it to his neck and threatened to cut his throat. We targeted McClellan because he was a different race than we are.”
Mohamed continued, “… I inflicted bodily injury on Shane McClellan and … I was armed with a deadly weapon, specifically a knife and maliciously and intentionally because of my perception of his race, caused physical injury to Shane McClellan and placed Shane McClellan in reasonable fear of harm to his person and to his property.”
Los Angeles County is the example from hell of what happens when illegal immigration is allowed to run amok. Most of the elected officials there are useless at best or more Raza than American, like LA Mayor Villaraigosa who was president of the UCLA chapter of the anti-American MEChA group.
Welfare benefits for the children of illegal immigrants cost America’s largest county more than $600 million last year, according to a local official keeping tabs on the cost.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich released new statistics this week showing social spending for those families in his county rose to $53 million in November, putting the county government on track to spend more than $600 million on related costs for the year — up from $570 million in 2009.
Antonovich arrived at the estimate by factoring in the cost of food stamps and welfare-style benefits through a state program known as CalWORKS. Combined with public safety costs and health care costs, the official claimed the “total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers” was more than $1.6 billion in 2010.
“Not including the hundreds of millions of dollars for education,” he said in a statement.
Antonovich’s figures, though, center on costs generated by American-born children of illegal immigrants. Isabel Alegria, communications director at the California Immigrant Policy Center, said it’s “unfair” to roll together costs associated with both illegal immigrants and U.S.-born citizens.
“Those children are U.S. citizens, children eligible for those programs,” Alegria said.
She also questioned the authenticity of Antonovich’s numbers regarding health care and public safety — though for the welfare program statistics, Antonovich cited numbers from the county’s Department of Public Social Services.
Antonovich acknowledges that the children whose benefits he’s focusing on are U.S.-born. But he argues that the money is collected by the illegal immigrant parents, putting a painful burden on taxpayers, including those who are legal immigrants.
“The problem is illegal immigration. … Their parents evidently immigrated here in order to get on social services,” Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell said. “We can no longer afford to be HMO to the world.”
He said the state should cut back on these social benefits. According to the November statistics, that cost accounted for 22 percent of all food stamp and CalWORKS spending in the county.
Over the summer, the Federation for American Immigration Reform also looked at these kinds of costs nationwide to get an idea of the burden to local governments at a time when many are grappling with budget deficits.
The organization reported that the cost of illegal immigration stands at about $113 billion a year. Nearly half of that amount went toward education costs, according to the study. Costs were naturally higher in states with large illegal immigrant populations — in California, the total annual cost was pegged at $21.8 billion.
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