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Monday, September 25, 2006

The Days Of Awe

We are now in the Days of Awe, the 10 day period in the Jewish calendar which ends in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A simplified version of Jewish teaching is that one must repent to G_d and atone to man. Somehow this seems fitting under the circumstances of an incredible series of openings; it is as if the world has suddenly reached a crossroads and must make a decision as to which road to take.

Opening 1. Assad of Syria announces that he wants peace with Israel:
Syrian President Bashar Assad said in comments released Sunday that his nation wants "peace with Israel" and welcomed U.S. intervention in the region. ...

At the same time, in an interview with Monday's edition of Der Spiegel weekly magazine, Assad blamed U.S. policies in the region for "contributing to hopelessness in our country, and to silencing the dialogue between cultures."
Assad compared Washington's approach to the war on terrorism to "a doctor constantly banging away at a tumor instead of removing it surgically."
A bad metaphor there, because in fact Syria has been explicitly mentioned as being part of the tumor, and Assad appears to be trying to avoid becoming part of a post-surgical pathological examination. Assad also said that he wasn't necessarily on board with Iran's Edgy Adji, despite their close ties. One suspects that this has something to do with the Turks; Gul was recently talking with the Americans. I think that Edgy Adji has reached his peak and now will fall with the price of oil.

Opening 2. Jordan is almost finished with a package of Saudi-like laws to enforce state control over teachings in mosques. This probably stems from the rage over the bombing of a hotel last year by Islamic militants:
Jordan's parliament moved Sunday to tighten state control over mosque preachers, amending legislation that aims to prevent the kingdom's mosques from being used to propagate extremist ideas.

Jordanian lawmakers have approved several pieces of legislation in recent weeks that aim to weaken extremists and prevent terror attacks.
Opening 3. In Lebanon, several non-Shia leaders have begun pressing the cause of disarming Hizbullah again:
An anti-Syrian Christian leader dismissed Hezbollah's claims of victory in its war with Israel as tens of thousands of his supporters rallied Sunday in a show of strength that highlighted Lebanon's sharp divisions.
Addressing his supporters after a mass to commemorate Christian militiamen killed in the civil war, Geagea rejected Nasrallah's vow to keep his weapons, saying the guerrilla group was blocking the establishment of "a strong and capable (Lebanese) state" for which Nasrallah was calling.
"How can a state be established while there is a mini-state (within its borders)? How can this state be established while every day arms and ammunitions are smuggled (to Hezbollah) under its (the state's) nose?" he said.
Aoun has also distanced himself from Nasrallah, which represents a change from his recent behavior. See Ouwet.com and Mustapha for more background.

Opening 4. As Islam Online reports, Barroso and Aznar have suddenly grown some cohones and called for the west to support the Pope's right to speak his mind:
In a related development, Barroso strongly defended Pope Benedict XVI in a newspaper interview Sunday, saying Muslim criticism was "unacceptable" and asking why Europe was so silent.

"Attacking the pope because he refers in a discourse to a historical document is completely unacceptable," he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

"The problem is not the comments of the pope but the reactions of the extremists... We must defend our values."
Barroso's comments came a day after media quoted former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar as saying Benedict had no need to apologize.

Aznar, instead, asked Muslims to apologize for the conquest of much of the Iberian Peninsula, which lasted from the eighth to the 15th century.
Opening 5. Despite the abysmal reporting of the media in the west, many Muslims aren't that hostile to the appeal to reason contained in the Pope's speech. After all, it is Muslims who are being attacked the most by Islamic extremists. See, for example, Iraq The Model's post:
Iraq's speaker of parliament opened Tuesday's session (Arabic) by complaining about "the pope's excuses are not enough, he must make a clear apology…."
The Islamist speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said it without shame or hesitation, just like all other leaders who owe us a thousand apologies a day for their ignorance and incompetence.

What can I say? We got used to this kind of behavior. When someone is full of mistakes he finds no shelter except in accusing others of being wrong.
In fact the continuous pathetic attempts to blame the west and Israel for everything shows clearly that the motives of such demonstrations are political not religious.
See also Big Pharoah on the topic.

I remain amazed at the results of the Pope's speech. They range from the very personal to the global. There is probably more hostility to the speech in the west than there is in the ME as a whole; after all, it is only the slice of the west represented by the NY Times which seems to believe that Muslims are not capable of human reason and rational self-government.

Superb post. This one is a keeper.
Really, good 'connect the dots.'
I feel a little wrath at the "progressives" who seem to believe that being Muslim makes you subhuman.
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