For something a little different, I thought I'd try my hand at one of these Open TrackBack posts. Welcome to Open Tar Pit TrackBack #1!
Today it's anything goes, though I'm thinking that down the road I might try to do posts that are more thematic.
I've installed the Open TrackBack Provider Blogroll in my right sidebar, and used my own graphic header for it, to keep conisistent with the look of The Tar Pit. The Blogroll is otherwise the same, so hopefully there won't be any objections.
Taking a look around at Open TrackBacks this morning:
Dick Morris makes some decidedly unserious recommendations to President Bush in Get serious about immigration reform. In addition to the President (finally) ramping up and enforcing our immigration laws, Morris says that...
Bush, searching for a way to recapture the national agenda, needs to seize this issue and make it his own. A full and reasoned program will galvanize national support and unite the nation behind tough measures to enforce our laws and maximize opportunities for those who already live here legally.
Establish a legal guest-worker program. Nobody can deny the manifest need of Americans - both individuals and businesses - for the work that currently illegal immigrants provide. They would not be coming if they did not have access to jobs, and there would be no work if there were no demand.
Bush's current program for legal guest workers is a good one and should be adopted in the context of broader immigration reform. But the plan should include a track to citizenship for these workers, providing certain criteria - such as English fluency, English literacy and no arrest record - to let them earn the right to become American citizens.
A guest-worker program will end the leper colony within our borders of disenfranchised, invisible illegals who have no rights and no responsibilities.
Morris can't be serious. The President's current proposal would legalize illegals if, in addition to being an illegal, they could show that they illegally took employment here. Most Americans know that legalizing illegals is amnesty, as much as Beltway-types might imagine otherwise. There are two reasons the President has been unable to make the immigration issue his own: America doesn't want another amnesty for illegals, and the President has been less than diligent in seeking the resources necessary to enforce the immigration laws that are currently on the books.
There is a fundamental immorality to guest worker amnesties: they reward illegals at the expense of potential guest workers who haven't broken our laws. Illegals would be legalized because they've cheated to get jobs for which non-illegals would never be able to compete.
Morris obviously hasn't read the Bush Amnesty, because it already has provisions for illegals to become American citizens:
Some temporary workers will make the decision to pursue American citizenship. Those who make this choice will be allowed to apply in the normal way.They will not be given unfair advantage over people who have followed legal procedures from the start. I oppose amnesty, placing undocumented workers on the automatic path to citizenship. Granting amnesty encourages the violation of our laws, and perpetuates illegal immigration. America is a welcoming country, but citizenship must not be the automatic reward for violating the laws of America. (Applause.)
About the only honest thing the President said here is that his plan would allow legalized illegals to apply for citizenship down the road. Amnesty isn't defined by an "automatic path to citizenship;" the Reagan Amnesty had no "automatic path" either.
The President's plan would clearly reward illegals at the expense of those who haven't broken our laws. Compounding this injustice, giving them amnesty in a guest worker program carries over to the citizenship, because they'll already be in line before those who haven't cheated are legally admitted.
To legalize illegals is to tell hard-working, family-centered applicants who play by the rules that they are chumps. Rewarding illegals doesn't honor hard work or family values, it honors cheating.
The Egyptian government has released an assassin of Anwar Sadat and several Luxor terrorists for renouncing Islamic violence; while at the same time holding blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman for denouncing Islamic violence.
Reminds me of the Talmudic line: "he who is merciful to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful."
"The leaders and the members were freed last week ... On the second of November," one of the officials said.
One of the freed leaders, Fouad el-Dowaliby, was jailed for life for his involvement in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981, the officials said.
The three other leaders, Nageh Ibrahim, Safwat Abdel Ghani and Hassan el-Gharabawy, were all jailed for life for their links to another Islamist extremist group, Islamic Jihad, that fought the government at around the same time.
That takes care of the "mercy to the cruel" department for the Egyptian government.
At 3 a.m. on October 26, plainclothes security agents arrested Abdolkarim Suleiman from his home in the Muharram Bek district of Alexandria, which had been the site of deadly sectarian clashes over the two previous weeks. The security agents, who produced no warrant, searched Suleiman's house and confiscated printed copies of his online writings. Suleiman, who studies Islamic jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, has published blog posts and articles against honor crimes, the imposition of the niqab (full veil), female genital mutilation, and against the Egyptian government. He became active in the Kifayah movement in August 2005. On October 22, when rioters in Suleiman's neighborhood clashed with police, Suleiman posted an account of the riots, criticizing the rioters and Islam. Days later, his family says, Abd al-Karim was attacked and beaten up by young neighborhood men. Suleiman's brother, Abd al-Hady, believes Alexandria Security was operating on a tip from neighborhood youths.
Repeated attempts by family members and Alexandrian human rights lawyer Mohammed Khaled Al-Tunsi to get more information on Suleiman's case from Alexandria Security have met with no success. On Nov. 6, security agents returned to Suleiman's house and told his family that he was being held in an unspecified detention center for political prisoners. They did not specify on what charges he was being held. On Nov. 8, Al-Tunsi again telephoned contacts in Alexandria Security to inquire about the case. His contacts said they would get back to him, but as of 11 p.m. on Nov. 8, they had not.
Alexandria Security now has two options: They can either detain Suleiman under the provisions of the Emergency Law that allow detention without charge of individuals deemed to be a threat to public order, or they can charge him with defaming religion or exciting sectarian strife under the terms of Article 98F of the Penal Code (Law no. 29 of 1982 allows for sentences of between six months and five years or fines of between LE500 and LE1000 for “exploiting and using religion in advocating and propagating by talk or in writing, or by any other method, extremist thoughts with the aim of instigating sedition and division or holding in contempt or disdain any of the ‘heavenly religions’ [i.e. Islam, Christianity, or Judaism] or the sects belonging thereto, or prejudicing national unity or social peace”). Suleiman’s defenders grant that his October 22 post held Islam in contempt and, given the background of sectarian strife in Alexandria, could be read as “prejudicing national unity and social strife.”
The latter option would play better in Egypt, where the Emergency Law is unpopular and Islam is popular, but would risk turning him into a cause celebre abroad, particularly among religious conservatives in the United States. Detaining Abd al-Karim under the terms of the Emergency Law carries its own risks: In his campaign for reelection this summer, President Hosni Mubarak promised to suspend the Emergency Law in favor of a counterterrorism law and to pass legislation reinforcing citizens’ right to a fair and speedy trail. Invoking the Emergency Law, particularly in such a high-profile case so soon after the election, would give lie to these promises of reform and would also surely raise eyebrows abroad.
Nowhere did Suleiman call for violence against Muslims. Nor did any such violence follow his post. There is little to suggest that his blog was widely read in Muharram Bek, a working-class neighborhood where economic constraints make Internet use rare. Suleiman himself does not own a computer and maintained his blog from a local Internet cafe. Suleiman was not responsible for the violence in his neighborhood, nor will his detention solve the problems that led to it.
Abdolkarim is a Muslim who defended the Copts. Egypt has freed assassins and terrorists. The Talmud rests its case.
El Destoor, a popular opposition weekly newspaper in Egypt, reported the news of Abdolkarim's arrest. As typical of Egyptian/Arab media, there was a twist in the story. The paper, which is staunchly anti-Mubarak, said that the blogger was arrested because the government didn't like how he reported the events of Alexandria (the riots over the church play) and that it considers some of his writings to be "off the script". The paper didn't mention that Abdolkarim's posts against religion might be a reason for his arrest.
I am sure the paper didn't mention the above fact because it knows many people won't have any sympathy for Abdolkarim. Unfortunately, years of dictatorship and the current wave of foul religiosity have made many in our society immune to one of the basic elements of liberal democracy: freedom of speech.
On other hand, it was so encouraging to notice that many of those in the blogosphere who support Abdokarim's release do not agree with his views. There is hope I guess.
The regime of Egypt is again not surprising us with another ugly act by detaining Egyptian blogger/writer Nabeel Abdul Kareem (Abdolkarim) (21 years old)who has a blog under "Kareem Amer" in Arabic.
The Egyptian Copts in the US have protested in front of the UN headquarters calling for the release of the Egyptian blogger. Egyptian bloggers of different backgrounds who are agreeing and disagreeing with Abdolkarim launched a campaign to defend freedom of expression.
I have read Abdolkarim's last blog on the Alexandria sectarian violence. Kareem has been a witness to this violence. He wrote his testimony on those black days in Egypt. Detaining him is considered an intimidation or assault on a witness.
In his article, he called for the rejection of hatred in Islam to non-Muslims, hinting to the position of the Egyptian Copts. He witnessed himself the sectarian violence in Moharm Bik district in his home city of Alexandria. He gave in his blog an example how some Islamist thugs burned a liquor store owned by an Egyptian Copt while at the same time allowing a Muslim man to sell alcohol.
Kareem believes in subjecting Islam to reason, which I believe is normal. His sin is that he touched upon a big taboo which is regarded as such by many extremists. Many Westerners find that calling for the detention of Muslim thinkers or reformers for believing in subjecting Islam to reason is a strange concept, because Judaism and Christianity were subjected to reason thinking at some point in their history. Many of us remember how little comprise Christianity had when we remember Jeanne D'Arc but we forgot to remember that Christianity went through different phases to evolve into its present form. However, "true" Muslims believe that Islam is so perfect that cannot be questioned or subjected to reasoning. I am still wondering. What is the definition of such an elastic word like "true"? (However this is not the issue here) The divergence on subjecting Islam to reason will remain a conflict among Muslims, because many Muslims believe like Abdolkarim however, with different levels. Their problem lies in that their Muslim societies do not allow them to question Islam, because, they will be discriminated against as a result. They do not follow the culture of the herd. And in case, they dared to talk, their destiny will be like Abdolkarim or any other fashions of oppressions.
Fox News is reporting that three hotels in Amman Jordan were attacked by homicide bombers.
AMMAN, Jordan - Three explosions hit hotels in Jordan's capital Wednesday night, killing at least 18 people and wounding 120 others in an apparent coordinated terrorist attack, police said.
Citing a security source, Reuters reported that at least 23 people were killed.
Jordanian police say the three hotel blasts in Amman were believed to be carried out by homicide bombers, according to the Associated Press. The explosions indicated the involvement of Al Qaeda, which has launched coordinated attacks on high-profile, Western targets in the past, a police official said
Reporters considered that Amman is the "last bastion of safety" when traveling throughout the region. The Hyatt in particular, a glass and marble base of beauty and safety has not needed heavy security thus far. This attack took everyone by surprise.
The bombs did go off at the same time and according to witnesses in the Radisson, the one set off there was set off in a "false ceiling"
Who would do something like this? Militant Quakers? Nope. Michelle Malkin and Jeff Goldberg both think that it's Zarqawi's al Qaeda minions. Not a big stretch there. I think they're correct. This multiple bombing in Zarqawi's backyard has al Qaeda's bloody fingerprints all over it.
Meanwhile, our alleged representatives in Congress bicker over partisan differences while the mainstream media struggle to find new euphemisms and synonymns to conceal the fact that the French riots are an Islamic terrorist insurrection - and make sure that no words are written or spoken in English about the Islamic riots in Denmark.
Not to make too obvious a connection, but Zarqawi is, of course, Jordanian. And the simultaneous nature of the blasts suggests Al Qaeda involvement.
On a related note, these hotels are all popular with both foreign journalists, security professionals, wealthy Jordanian businessmen, and Israelis. Not that any of that matters to Al Qaeda. They'll slaughter anyone.
A meeting billed as "Temp Workers Speak Out" is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at the Southeast Library, 6242 Swope Parkway.
The event will be a forum to discuss Hurricane Katrina reconstruction jobs, Mexican day labor, "permatemp" jobs in the information technology sector, and other temporary-job issues.
Tonight would be a great opportunity to see if Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's tough talk against illegal aliens and the problems they create during wartime is more than talk, or even a little tough.
Here's a transcription of an event flyer (from a pdf):
Got the Termp-Work Blues? Temp Workers Speak out
Wednesday November 9 at 7:00 P.M. Southeast Library 6242 Swope Parkway
*Katrina reconstruction temps from KC *Mexican day laborer *Misclassified (1099-contract) workers *IT Temp *Your stories
Are we all in the same boat adrift in the globalized economy?
What solutions are there for all of us?
Sponsored by The Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity, The Institute for Labor Studies and Interfaith Worker Justice.
Hamas supporter Mahdi Bray, once a membermember of the Students for a Democratic Society, is now a defender of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali (accused of plotting to assassinate President Bush), saying "Nothing short of his release and return to his family is acceptable to us."
Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), and U.S. Copts Association President Michael Meunier will be holding a joint press conference to address anti-Coptic violence in Egypt. I've been in contact with the offices of all three gentleman to provide information about Mr. Seliman and inquire as to whether his case would be raised in the press conference tomorrow. The assistants with whom I spoke were definitely interested, but uncertain about whether the Seliman case would be addressed. I left what information I could for them to investigate further, and pointed out the safety and free speech concerns of Egyptian bloggers observing the situation. If Egypt is to achieve internal reform, then the internal voices of reform require protection.
Washington, D.C. (11/2/05)- At the behest of the U.S. Copts Association, Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Sam Brownback will hold a joint press conference expressing the senator's and other U.S. officials' concern over the recent anti-Coptic violence in Alexandria, Egypt. The press conference, to be held Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Room 430 of the Dirksen Senate building at the U.S. Capitol, will include addresses by Sen. Sam Brownback, (Judiciary-Constitution subcommittee chair, Appropriations Committee member), Rep. Frank Wolf (co-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and chair of the Appropriations-Justice and Commerce Subcommittee) and U.S. Copts Association President Michael Meunier.
The U.S. Copts Association will also at the press conference release a comprehensive report detailing the recent escalations in anti-Coptic violence in Alexandria, Egypt. The report, compiled from prominent international news sources, U.S. Copts correspondents in Egypt, and actual victims of the Alexandria attacks, will be the first comprehensive and authoritative account of recent anti-Coptic hate crimes including a 10,000 person siege against a Coptic church and the stabbing of a Coptic nun.
The press conference will express the Helsinki Commission's and U.S. lawmakers' concern over the recent escalations in anti-Coptic violence. Although Copts--Egypt's indigenous, pre-Arab Christians have long been targeted by militant Islamists, several extremist newspapers have incited weeks of mob violence against Coptic houses of worship, businesses, and homes. News of the violent attacks has alarmed members of Congress, Senate, and other advocates of human rights and religious freedom in the Middle East.
"The violence to which Copts in Egypt have been subjected is nothing but state-sanctioned terrorism against the Coptic minority," said Michael Meunier. "U.S. Copts is pleased to collaborate with Senator Brownback, Congressman Frank Wolf and other lawmakers to combat international terrorism wherever it may be."
"The violence facing Egypt's Coptic community is no different from other terrorist acts," Meunier added. "The prevalence in the Middle East of extremist media and government officials indifferent to human rights is indeed a matter of utmost importance to U.S. lawmakers and international observers. We hope U.S. Copts' and the Commission's combined efforts will spur Egypt toward much-needed media and human rights reforms."
Senator Brownback can be e-mailed here, but writes:
In order to serve you better, my office recently went through a communications systems upgrade. Your views and concerns are important to me, so I ask for your patience as I and my staff continue to transition to a new system which will make communications with me by e-mail or mail faster and more effective.
As the transition continues, it may take up to four weeks before you receive a response to your question or concern. If you need immediate assistance with an urgent matter, please call my office at (202) 224-6521 to be directed to the appropriate party who can assist you. Again, I thank you for your patience, and I look forward to hearing from you about the issues that matter to you!
Please, please, please sign the petition to free Egyptian blogger, Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman.
I personally don't agree with much of what he wrote in his blog. But, I believe in free speech. I'm also certain the Egyptian authorities are using him to make an example of him to silence most of the Egyptian blogosphere that has become very popular internationally in a very short time.
Three arrests for incentive to the émeute on "blog"
PARIS (Reuters) - A minor and two young major suspected ones to have launched on internet of the calls to the émeute and to the aggression against policemen were stopped Monday to Aix-in-Provence and in parisian region, learns one of judicial source.
The three "blogs" used, sites internets personal, were accommodated on the site of the radio Skyrock, that deactivated them during during the weekend.
"The sites incited to participate in the general movements of urban violences and to attack policemen and commissionerships", declared to Reuters a magistrate of the Paris floor.
The floor had to decide in the day of the eventual opening of a judicial inquiry, an investigation being judged necessary to determine the eventual ones attach politics of the suspicious ones and know if their gait proceeds or no of an organized business.
The suspicious ones will incur until five years of prison if the sensed qualification for the facts, "incentive to commit aggressions against persons", is kept.
Was just looking about to see to see if anyone'd created a petition for Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman, and noticed a few things.
*Google searching "Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman" returns 0 on the main page, and 2 on google news.
*Searching "Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman" with bloggers blog search tool returns 17 results.
*Searching "Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman" with technorati returns 22 results. All blogs.
Thankfully two semi-mainstream sites picked up on it, otherwise the detention of Egyptian blogger Abdolkarim (Kareem Amer) would be entirely invisible to english readers on the number one world's most used search engine. I dislike google's segregation of blogs for this reason alone. If google wants to create filters, an improvement might be a "blog" option on the main google search page next to the "images" "groups" and "news" options.
By the time you click on these links the disparity will be even greater. What's the real point of seperating the blogosphere from Google News, if not to protect the mainstream media from the inconvenience of competition?
emigre's ideas are worth considering. Perhaps rather than setting up an exclusive blogosphere search engine, Google ought to combine its blog and news search features into a single engine that can be segregated internally with a user's Google preferences, if they choose, or fully integrated for those who require more sources of information than the oldstream media can provide.
I am down to earth Law student; I look forward to help humanity against all form of discriminations. I am currently studying Law in Al Azhar University. I am looking forward to open up my own human rights activists Law firm, which will include other lawyers who share the same views. Our main goal is to defend the rights of Muslim and Arabic women against all form of discrimination and to stop violent crimes committed on a daily basis in these countries.
Can't imagine why the Egyptian government would want to suppress a human rights law firm before it takes root in Egypt. Not a clue. It's a complete mystery, an utter bafflement.
Manalaa directs us to more of Seliman's writings at Civic Dialogue and what looks like another Kareem Amer (a pseudonym) blog. Seliman had another website here. It's a little difficult to sort through some of this without being able read Arabic, and I haven't found any English translations of Seliman's writings thus far.
There is an Arabic post by Seliman here about recent Muslim violence and murder against Egypt's Christian Copts, about which Freedom for Egyptians writes:
I have read Abdolkarim's last blog on the Alexandria sectarian violence. Kareem has been a witness to this violence. He wrote his testimony on those black days in Egypt. Detaining him is considered an intimidation or assault on a witness.
In his article, he called for the rejection of hatred in Islam to non-Muslims, hinting to the position of the Egyptian Copts. He witnessed himself in Moharm Bik district in his home city of Alexandria. He gave in his blog an example how some Islamist thugs burned a liquor store owned by an Egyptian Copt while at the same time allowing a Muslim man to sell alcohol.
The Egyptian government made continuous attempts to suppress any media coverage or voices which highlight the tension between Egyptian Muslims and Copts. Abdolkarim's blog refers to how the majority of Muslims regards Copts as second rate citizens and therefore deprive them of influential positions. That was said in other places and we all know about it. Many believe that Copts are infidels and followers of the US. Part of the hatred to the US is projected on the fact that the US protects Copts. That's how some tend to think and that was reflected in the comments I read on the blogs written about Abdolkarim.
The Seliman case is a study in the possibilities for Islamic Reformation. Rosetta Stone writes in the November 6 post "Why bloggers should support Karim's release" (sorry, the site doesn't seem to have permalinks):
Reagarding the anger of some of the fellow Muslim bloggers, faith is a personal thing and thus part of our identity, therefore insulting someone religion is like directly insulting him. Bottom-line, this guy disrespects Muslims by generalizing them in this way. He cussed Islam and the Prophet and he also described us as "cattle". Thus Muslims have every right to feel angry and despised. But there are civilized ways to turn our anger into, like... through refuting his posts or by civil suits and for the religious ones by privately praying for either his "salvation" or his burning in hell. BUT no one deserves what happened to this guy, although we are not sure what really happened to him but anything that involves amn el-dawla is far away from good. And you can trust me on that, judging from my own personal experience with these thugs at a very young age. They are merciless even with kids.
So, leaving our emotions behind, let me sum up to you why we should support Karim in his ordeal, in the following points:-
* Freedom of Speech right is non-compromiseable... it's all or nothing but all. * Only civic ways should be used to hold him liable to his words, if it was categorized as a hate speech. * Also if he really pissed you off by his words, you have the choice to tell him that through comments and emails or simply click the X in the top right corner of your browser like I did! * Nation Security methods of arresting and interrogations are barbaric. Karim next 15 days (the interrogation detention period which is renewable) are going to be intolerable to any human. * This angry guy is only 21 years old. * Don't create an anti-Islamic martyr out of him, just like our stupid government did. The Islamophobes just love this kind of stuff and they are just waiting for such an opportunity.
Before anyone think this blogger wants to whitewash anti-Coptic violence, read this from the "Stupid Muslim Men" post of October 20, 2005, about the same events that Seliman was jailed for criticizing:
For many years the rights of Egyptian Christians are being violated constantly by our government and its thugs. These violations led many Coptic groups to express their views harshly and sometimes it might be interpreted as anti-Islam feelings, but it is not "anti-Islamic" it's more of an angry cry due to years of systematic oppression. The last example of this was a play shown 2 years and published on DVD and it was accredited to the St. Mar Gerges Church in Alexandria as it was claimed by tabloid papers. The brotherhood and other Islamists decided to take the words of these reporters to be true and took about the 3000 angry Muslim mob to siege the church... demanding explanantion, apology, repention etc. These acts lead an unemployed thug to attack a "nun" and a lawyer in front of the Church! (imagine attacking a nun!!!). Yesterday, they wanted to have another siege and it sparked a confrontation with the ruthless riot police which resulted in 2 deaths and 80 injuiries... so WHY??? Even if the play was truly anti-Islamic, they should just forget about it and let them have it as this not a reflection of all Christians!
Rosetta's posts are important, not only for those of us who are skeptical about Islam's prospects for real reform, but especially for those who insist on its inevitability. There is a struggle in Islam that pits good-hearted Muslims against the jihadists and their sympathizers. The violence against the Egyptian Copts and the jailing of Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman for blog posts critical of Muslim thuggery reemphasize the difficulty faced by reformers. We skeptics have a moral duty to give the Islamic reformers the opportunity to prove us wrong. That said, the reformers' advocates among Western politicians, such as President Bush, need to offer something more than "Islam means peace" platitudes if they really believe what they're saying. If Seliman is still imprisoned when Egypt holds its elections this week, his name had better be mentioned when the President calls Hosni Mubarak from the White House to congratulate him on Egypt's democratic progress.
What is wrong with the Egyptian government? They arrest a liberal like Abdel and, on the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood are free to do what they want. This is a slap on the face to however much freedom there is in this country.
This arrest no doubt comes in the context of the recent sectarian riots between Copts and Muslims in Alexandria. This blogger is Muslim and a student at Al Azhar. In recent weeks his blog has been devoted to events in Alexandria and has included several rather scathing attacks on those Muslims who had rallied against the controversial play.
State Security likely arrested him as a precautionary move. Someone like Kareem Amer does not fit the mold, and this always makes state security nervous. Amer wasn't arrested because of what he was writing. He was arrested because of who he is. Had he been a Copt railing against Muslim extremism it would never have caught state security's attention. But because he's Muslim and an Azhari, he is more dangerous. Amer was arrested because state security doesn't want to have to deal with the fall out if some radical decides to stab him for his inflammatory writings.
A similar case would be the case of Metwallif Ibrahim Saleh, a bearded Salafi who has been in prison for nearly three years, because of his reformist writings on Islam. Saleh had written that it is okay for Muslim women to marry non-Muslims and that the Koran does not sanction death for Muslims who convert to other religions.
Let's see, three years and counting for reformist writings, or three years for conspiring to assassinate a President who made peace with Israel? Quite a revealing moral equivocation, that.
At the Arabist Network link there is this comment by a former Egyptian state security chief about Saleh:
State security has nothing against moderate, tolerant Islam, explained former head Fouad Allam. "Their logic is that writings like this, about Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, and about changing religions, is very dangerous because of the huge impact of Islamic extremist ideologies," he said. "It could produce a problem and impact the security situation."
So, the Egyptian government considers potential victims to be a greater potential threat than the potential threats. Makes perfect sense.
There is less consensus on what should be done about illegals currently in the United States. In his 2000 campaign, George W. Bush called for a guest- worker program, allowing illegals to legalize their status. Many other Republicans, the loudest of them Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, have said that this amounts to amnesty and would reward those who broke the law.
OK, smart guy, which is it? Is legalizing illegals amnesty, or not?
Here it comes:
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is busy ending our "catch and release" program. But Bush and Congress have not done much on new immigration legislation until this year. The guest-worker issue splits Republicans, and Democrats are not unified on it, either.
Wrong. First Barone raised the idea that the definition of amnesty was in serious question, made no effort at analysis, then smuggled the premise that guest worker plans to legalize illegals aren't amnesty by suggesting that guest workers were the dividing line amongst Republicans.
Meanwhile, the disingenuously pro-Amnesty minority of the GOP, led by President Bush, is forever trying to redefine amnesty so as not to admit it's what they support. The President's only chance is to confuse the issue, but legalizing illegals is amnesty.
The Reagan Amnesty wasn't a blanket amnesty and didn't give automatic green cards or automatic paths to citizenship, but it did reward illegals by giving them legal status that was unavailable to millions of willing immigrants who didn't break our laws.
Funny, the Bush guest worker amnesty would reward illegals in much the same way. For admission to any guest worker program, a "willing worker" must match up with a "willing employer" for a job that no American would want. The jobs that willing illegal alien workers have taken illegally, very often using document fraud and perjurious IRS forms, already have their "willing employer." An illegal would be legalized as a guest worker by virtue of having broken at least two or more laws to have a job for which a law-abiding guest worker applicant was never able to compete. Illegals are line jumpers and under any guest worker plan that doesn't require them to return home and compete on a level playing field, they would be rewarded with legal status while millions of foreign nationals who respect our laws would be sorry out of luck.
Barone managed to address none of this, but at least he concluded with a truly sublime civics lesson:
If the Senate passes a bill -- a big if -- the issue would go to conference committee. Republican leaders in Congress and the administration hope that a conference committee version with both border security and guest worker provisions can be jammed through the House, which will take some Democratic as well as Republican votes.
Passage in the Senate should be easier. But there's still a lot of hard work to be done before an immigration bill gets to Bush's desk.
Maybe Barone thinks that if we can forget how the Reagan Amnesty worked, we might have forgotten Schoolhouse Rock too.
America's still a great country though; Barone got paid for that column.
Updates, contacts and roundups on Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman of Alexandria, the Egyptian blogger arrested and missing following posts he'd written that were critical of aspects of Islam. The Committee to Protect Bloggers reports some good news, that Seliman's whereabouts are now somewhat known, though his prospects otherwise are not good:
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights has spoken to Abdolkarim's aunt. She said Abdelhadi Seliman, Karim's brother, was told at the Bab Sharqi police station that his brother is, in fact, currently being detained. There are two detention centres in the vicinity of Alexandria, but it is not clear yet which one he is in.
Human rights activists in Egypt think that by detaining Abdolkarim, State Security is protecting itself from the results of whatever trouble he may find himself in by clashing with the Islamist Fundamentalists in his neighborhood. They also said the best chance for Abdolkarim is to get him out of "emergency-law" detention and into a court to be tried for "religious contempt," for which he may receive a sentence of between six months and five years. The activists are hopeful that his young age and the recent sectarian strife events in his neighborhood would result in a short sentence. Abdolkarim, they say, is not coming out this year
You have taken into custody Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman, a blogger who was frequently critical of Islam and the state of Egypt. We are writing to ask you to immediately free this young man. His detention is bad for Egypt.
Egypt has a long, honorable tradition of critical thought that goes back to the famous library at Alexandria (where Abdolkarim is from) and beyond. Please continue that tradition of free thought in the service of an informed populace by freeing Abdolkarim.
Many who are signing this petition are critical of his criticisms, but believe it is healthier for the state for people to air those feelings rather than to let them fester. After all, both Egypt and Islam are larger than the thoughts of one man.
There has never been a blogger arrested in Egypt before. Respectfully, we believe that this is a step in the wrong direction, a step unworthy of Egypt.
Nice bit of understatement. What are the Egyptian authorities thinking? Iraq Blog Count asks:
Does Egyptian PR realise, I wonder, that they are creating a blog hero and martyr by detaining a critic at this time of month and year. The blogsphere, for all it's vibrant diversity, is filled with willfull obstinance. Some find solace in intractable pessimism, others like mules insist on green pasture. All take pride in their falls. An arrest for a blogger is nothing short of sainthood.
Exactly right. Egypt is smoking cigarettes at a gas station with the arrest of Seliman during Ramadan. How does an arrest like this help sell the case that the Islamic world will ever be capable of ruling without oppression? By appeasing its resident Islamofascists?
There are lists of Egyptian embassies around the world here and here.
Jim Davila over at PaleoJudaica has posted his own e-mail to the Egyptian Embassy, with good thoughts on how to approach Egyptian authorities:
Please do be polite (abusive letters are counterproductive) but also firm. The main points are that Mr. Seliman's right to free speech (whatever one thinks of his views), including the right to criticize his government and religious views with which he disagrees, should be respected and he should be released without charge immediately. My understanding is that there is not a right to free speech in Egypt, so this should be presented as a universal human right. You may want to point out also the very negative international publicity that is arising from reports of this incident.
An Egyptian blogger insidiously unmindful of Salafist propriety was captured by Egytian police. The blogger had posted a report on police clashes with Muslims bravely defending the one true faith from blasphemous infidel Christian thespians by surrounding a church and stabbing a nun.
"He is stubborn, he has ideas that contradict the true religion and he posts that on the Internet, serving no one but himself" said the mother of the delinquent young man.