Maroni Hits Back

Roberto Maroni is back in the Italian press again today, and with another interview. This interview is in ilResto del Carlino. (Interestingly enough they are running an online poll, and the result was running at 51.7% euro to 48.3% lira). Unfortunately the interview is in Italian. I have translated a few extracts under the fold. The big issue that he draws attention to (and I was flagging this in an earlier post) is the apparent desire of Berlusconi not to commit himself if he can help it.
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Daniel Pipes on Tariq Ramadan: Why French literacy still matters

Readers of my previous comment on Tariq Ramadan will no doubt have come away with the impression that I don’t much like Daniel Pipes. This is not an entirely accurate assessment of my opinon of him. I think Pipes is an unreconstructed bigot and xenophobic fanatic whose academic work fails to meet even the lowest standards of scholarship, whose career has been built on politically driven attacks, and who has set up with his “Campus Watch” as a terrorist front designed to intimidate academics and ensure that there is as little debate, discussion or rational thought on Israel, US foreign policy or Islam as possible. His reseach and scholarship are not intended to better inform action but to support specific agendas, usually revolving around hating some foreign force or people. Instead of fostering debate, his work is intended to intimidate. Pipes advocates religiously targetted surveillance, he supports making federal university funding conditional on ideology, and he has helped to terrorise professors who are named on his website. In short, I think Pipes is swine.

He is a second generation right-wing tool, the son of one of the men most responsible for America’s “Team B”, which grossly overblew the Soviet menace in the 70s and 80s – causing massive US defense spending and resulting deficits – and complained that anyone with a better sense of reality was soft on communism. Normally, Pipes’ parentage would constitute poor grounds for condeming him as having a pathological relationship to facts. But keep this in mind, since it constitutes one of his arguments against Ramadan.

All you need is Google to find out why I think these things about Daniel Pipes. It’s not a lot of work. His own website provides ample examples.

But, today, I will be targeting something a little more specific. Pipes has put up on his website his comment on Tariq Ramadan’s visa denial, originally published in the New York Post on Friday. In it, he makes specific points against Tariq Ramadan, linking, in some cases, to articles on the web in support. These articles are primarily in French. As a service to our non-francophone readers, we will be translating the relevant sections, since they lead one to the conclusion that Pipes assumes his readers will just take his word on their contents.

We report, you decide.
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The Country That Has it All

Posting under the header: ‘More Signs That We Are In the Twentieth Century After All’ my young Argentinian co-blogger notes crypically “I don’t know what a XIXth (or XXth) century englishman would say, if we told him that English unions would one day protest against losing skilled jobs to India”……… adding…………”and, in the heels of our previous post about Sekhar Kapur interview, today the blogsphere is buzzing with news of the P2P network Kazaa’s agreement to distribute (in a pay-per-view fashion) the indian film Supari. If this works out economically, the sidelining of traditional distribution channels might very well enhance the global reach of Bollywood productions, specially among the growing Asian diaspora in the developed world. We are truly living in interesting times”. (BTW: I owe the post on Kapur to Marcelo: completely. If it wasn’t for Argentina, what would I know about India!).

In the comments I respond “Absolutely, there is another big push going on, Google’s innovative share offer is another example, maybe blog portals will be another. Something is really happening out there”. So it’s wakey wakey time. For the first time since the mid-ninetees the thing is really humming. First-movers, creative destruction, defining moments: get tighly back in your seats. Hold on for the bumpy ride.

And meantime, exceptionally, and on a boring grey Saturday morning: news from the country that has it all: problems, problems, problems.
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Sheiken, Not Stirred

The Washington Post reports on:

Spreading Saudi Fundamentalism in U.S.
Network of Wahhabi Mosques, Schools, Web Sites Probed by FBI

“On Aug. 20, 2001, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, a man who would soon be named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques, arrived in the United States to meet with some of this country’s most influential fundamentalist Sunni Muslim leaders.

“His journey here was to include meetings and contacts with officials of several Saudi-sponsored charities that have since been accused of links to terrorist groups, including the Illinois-based Global Relief Foundation, which was shut down by U.S. authorities last year.

“He met with the creators of Islamic Web sites that U.S. authorities contend promote the views of radical Saudi clerics tied to Osama bin Laden.” …

“Backed by money from Saudi Arabia, Wahhabis have built or taken over hundreds of mosques in North America and opened branches of Saudi universities here for the training of imams as part of the effort to spread their beliefs, which are intolerant of Christianity, Judaism and even other strains of Islam.” …

“The Saudi government, through its embassy here, declined to discuss any aspect of the probe. Embassy officials agreed in August to forward a request for an interview to Hussayen, but provided no response.” …

“The most intriguing aspect of Hussayen’s journey may be entirely coincidental: his brief proximity in a hotel near Dulles International Airport to three of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers the night before they crashed Flight 77 into the Pentagon. On the night of Sept. 10, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi checked into the same hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn.

“The FBI has examined hotel videotapes and interviewed employees, but has found no indication that Hussayen and the hijackers interacted, law enforcement sources said. After the attack, an FBI agent interviewed hotel guests, including Hussayen and his wife, but did not get very far.

“According to court testimony from FBI agent Gneckow earlier this year, the interview was cut short when Hussayen ‘feigned a seizure, prompting the agents to take him to a hospital, where the attending physicians found nothing wrong with him.’

“The agent recommended that Hussayen “should not be allowed to leave until a follow-up interview could occur,” Gneckow told the court. But ‘her recommendation, for whatever reason, was not complied with,’ he said.

“On Sept. 19, the day air travel resumed, Hussayen and his wife took off for Saudi Arabia.”

Is anyone in the European press doing this kind of investigative reporting on the Islamist networks that are still active in Europe? I haven’t seen anything in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, but there’s obviously lots of the German press that I don’t get to. France? UK? Nordics?