Archive for January 17th, 2007

Quran For Courtroom Oaths Gets Green Light

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

A ruling from a state appeals court has reopened a case prompted because a Muslim woman wanted to use a Quran – a book that an expert on Islam says allows Muslims to lie under compulsion – on which to swear her oath of honesty in a court hearing.

The lawsuit was filed by Sydiah Mateen with help from the American Civil Liberties Union in 2005 after she was denied permission to use a Quran to take the courtroom oath in a case in North Carolina.

Requirements vary from state to state, but North Carolina requires an oath either with a hand on the “Holy Scriptures” or by swearing by God they are telling the truth.

But the lawsuit seeks to expand the state’s existing definition of “Holy Scripture,” which was changed from “Gospels” about 20 years ago, to include the Islamic writings.

Without taking a position on the merits of the case, the state Court of Appeals said the dispute should be resolved in the courtroom.

Superior Court Judge Donald L. Smith had dismissed the claim a few months after its filing, saying there was no dispute to resolve because the testimony from Mateen was finished.

But Jennifer Rudinger, who heads the ACLU state chapter, said the government is required to allow individuals to be sworn in “on the holy text that is in accordance with their faith.” It was the ACLU that brought the issue to the appeals court.

After Mateen’s experience in the courtroom, officials with the Al-Ummil Ummat Islamic Center attempted to donate copies of the Quran, but the judges declined to accept them, saying state law does not consider an oath on the Quran as legal.

The JihadWatch.org website, however, asked: “How can we be sure he will be telling the truth if he swears on the Quran? The Quran tells Muslims that they may utter unbelief if ‘under compulsion.'”

The website cited the Quran, verse 16:106: “Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief – except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.”

The option to not use the Bible should be sufficient, a spokesman for a Christian group said.

“Given the fact that it’s a Judeo-Christian nation, when we say Holy Scriptures we mean the Bible,” said Steve Noble, of Called2Action.

It’s just the latest confrontation in a growing movement to expand the use of the Quran in a number of ways in the United States. Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota recently used a copy of Thomas Jefferson’s Quran for the ceremonial swearing-in to Congress.

In an interview with USINFO, Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert said the choice of Jefferson’s Quran was significant because it “dates religious tolerance back to the time of our founding fathers.”

“Jefferson was … one of the more profound thinkers of the time, who recognized even then that there was nothing to fear, and in fact there was strength in recognizing religious tolerance,” he said.

But a Special Forces veteran and commentator said Jefferson likely used his Quran to know his enemies, since he was the one who pursued warfare against the Muslim Barbary pirates along the coast of Africa from 1801-1804.

Ted Sampley, the publisher of U.S. Veteran Dispatch, said the U.S. paid “tribute” and “ransom” to the pirates over the years, but Jefferson was in favor of settling the dispute “through the medium of war.”

As WND also has reported Ellison has allowed his supporters to shout, “Allahu Akbar!,” the same phrase allegedly used by the 9/11 suicide pilots, and he has confirmed that “in terms of political agenda items, my faith informs these things.”

Ellison’s campaign also was backed by the Washington-based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR held fundraisers for Ellison, a civil-rights lawyer and one-time acolyte of Louis Farrakhan who admits to making anti-Semitic remarks in the past (under various alias including Keith Hakim, Keith Ellison-Muhammad and Keith X Ellison).

CAIR’s founder has argued the Quran should replace the Constitution as the highest authority in the land. The group’s director of communications, moreover, has expressed his desire to see the U.S. become an Islamic state.

The Quran also has been taught in various U.S. public schools through various programs that include courses on the “Five Pillars of Islam” and other subjects.

Original Link.

Former President Carter Does it Again…And Again

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

The former president continues to make a fool out of himself by doing the unthinkable. Aside from the anti-semitic remarks he’s made in the past, here are two of his latest blunders.

Jimmy Carter Interceded on Behalf of Nazi SS Guard

Neil Sher, a veteran of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigation, described a letter he received from Carter in 1987 in an interview with Israel National Radio’s Tovia Singer. The letter, written and signed by Carter, asked that Sher show “special consideration” for a man proven to have murdered Jews in the Mauthausen death camp in Austria.

“In 1987, Carter had been out of office for seven years or so,” Sher recalled. “It was a very active period for my office. We had just barred Kurt Waldheim – he was then president of Austria and former head of the United Nations – from entering the U.S. because of his Nazi past and his involvement in the persecution of civilians during the war. We had just deported an Estonian Nazi Commandant back to the Soviet Union after a bruising battle after which we were attacked by Reagan White House Communications Director Patrick Buchanan.

“Also around that time, in the spring of 1987, we deported a series of SS guards from concentration camps, whose names nobody would know. One such character we sent back to Austria was a man named Martin Bartesch.”

Bartesch, who had immigrated to the U.S. and lived in Chicago, admitted to Sher’s office and the court that he had voluntarily joined the Waffen SS and had served in the notorious SS Death’s Head Division at the Mauthausen concentration camp where, at the hands of Bartesch and his cohorts, many thousands of prisoners were gassed, shot, starved and worked to death. He also confessed to having concealed his service at the infamous camp from U.S. immigration officials.

“We had an extraordinary piece of evidence against him – a book that was kept by the SS and captured by the American armed forces when they liberated Mauthausen,” Sher said. “We called it the death book. It was a roster that the Germans required them to keep that identified SS guards as they extended weapons to murder the inmates and prisoners.”

An entry in the book for October 10, 1943 registered the shooting death of Max Oschorn, a French Jewish prisoner. His murderer was also recorded: SS guard Martin Bartesch. “It was a most chilling document,” Sher recalled.

The same evidence was used by the U.S. military in postwar trials as the basis for execution or long prison sentences for many identified SS guards.

“We kicked him out and he went back to Austria. In the meantime, his family – he had adult kids – went on a campaign, also supported by his church, to try to get special treatment. In so doing they attacked the activities of our office and me personally. They claimed we used phony evidence from the Soviet Union – which was nonsense. They claimed he was a young man of only 17 or 18 when he joined the Nazi forces, asking for some sympathetic treatment and defense from our office, which they claimed was just after vengeance.”

Carter: Palestinian rockets not terrorism

Former US President Jimmy Carter told al-Jazeera television he “was not equating Palestinian missiles with terrorism,” during an appearance on the Arab satellite station on Sunday.

The broadcast has been translated and made available by MEMRI , the Middle East translation service.

“I don’t consider… I wasn’t equating the Palestinian missiles with terrorism,” said Carter, adding: “But when the Palestinians commit terrorist acts, and I mean when a person blows himself up within a bus full of civilians, or when the target of the operation is women and children – such acts create a rejection of the Palestinians among those who care about them.”

Carter discussed his recent book, ‘Peace Not Apartheid,’ slammed by many critics as being highly biased against Israel.

“In my book, I talk about violence from both sides, and I describe very carefully and accurately the number of casualties among Palestinians and Israelis, including children. The number of Palestinian children who died because of the violence is five times greater than the number of Israeli children, and I condemn this kind of violence on both sides,” he said.

‘Worse than Apartheid’
Responding to criticisms of his book, Carter added: “Most of the condemnations of my book came from Jewish American organizations, which think that I believe there is racial segregation inside Israel. I don’t base it on that.”

“My whole book is written about Palestine and its lands, and about what is going on against the Palestinian people, which is, in my view, very similar, and in some cases even worse, than what happened to the blacks in South Africa,” Carter said.

Countdown to the Apocalypse: Scientists to Change Doomsday Clock

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

No surprise to most Christians.

The end of the world may be drawing a bit closer.

Scientists on Wednesday will change the time on Chicago’s Doomsday Clock based on what they say is the “most perilous period since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

They based their decision on countries increasingly seeking nuclear technology, the United States’ and Russia’s ability to readily launch 2,000 of their 25,000 nuclear weapons, as well as threats posed by global warming, bioterrorism and an overall increase in worldwide terrorism, the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said in a press release.

The group specifically singled out Iran and North Korea as examples of the threat posed by countries striving for nuclear technology.

The Bulletin scientists created the clock in 1947 to assess the threat of a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War. The time on the clock, housed at the University of Chicago, will be changed after a dual ceremony in London and Washington.

The clock’s minute hand was set to be moved 2 minutes closer to midnight, which symbolizes the apocalypse.

The decision to move the clock forward reflects “growing concerns” about a “Second Nuclear Age,” the press release said.

“It’s time to pay attention in a very serious way to what we see as potentially civilization-ending technology and trends,” said Kennette Benedict, the Bulletin’s executive director, said in a Chicago Tribune article.

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who has warned that the survival of the human race depends on its ability to colonize space because of the increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, was expected to speak at one of the events.

Hawking recently announced that he planned to take a trip to space in 2009 on board one of Richard Branson’s planned space tourism flights.

Other speakers were to include Benedict, executive director, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists;Sir Martin Rees, president of The Royal Society and professor of cosmology and astrophysics and master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge; Lawrence M. Krauss, professor of physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University; and Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a BAS director and co-chair of the International Crisis Group.

University of Chicago scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project and were concerned about the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear war formed the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1945. In 1947, members unveiled the clock as a simple model for showing the threats posed by nuclear weapons.

Original Link.

Democrats’ New ‘Fairness’ Push May Silence Conservative Radio Hosts, Critics Say

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

This is nothing more than a direct assault on free speech, under the guise of “fairness”. The government would put in place a federal regulation requiring broadcasters to present both sides of a controversial issue. What is the criteria for “controversial”? Don’t the liberal commentators have the same opportunity to buy air time as the conservative ones do? Of course they do!!
Here’s how it works:
A commentator buys air time. He/She puts on their show. Advertisers buy commercials during the show to help the commentator pay for the air time. People listen to the show. If they like what the commentator is saying, they keep listening. If they don’t, they stop listening. The advertisers know this and they adjust their advertising budgets accordingly.
Simply put, both liberal and conservative commentators play by the same simple rules of economics.
Now the dems want to force their liberal views on the airways in kind of a “tit for tat” with the conservative view.
You know, it’s not like the media of this country is all that conservative. As a matter of fact, liberal media outweighs conservative at about 10 to 1.
The only place they don’t outnumber conservatives is in the commentator aspect. Why is this, you may ask?
Because of the advertisers. Liberal talk shows just aren’t, on a whole, as successful as conservative ones. Why?
Because people don’t listen to them.
Bottom line:
The only way for the dems to completely control what people think is to impose laws that make it mandatory for their views to be aired. To take away time from the conservatives.
Typical dem response…silence those who don’t agree with them.

(CNSNews.com) – Democrats in Congress are pushing for legislation that they say would bring more balance to the media, but critics say would muzzle conservative voices.

The Fairness Doctrine, a federal regulation requiring broadcasters to present both sides of a controversial issue, was enforced by the Federal Communications Commission from 1949 to 1987, when it was dropped during the Reagan administration.

Many in the broadcast industry credit the dropping of the rule to the rise of conservative talk radio that became a booming industry, featuring personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.

Bringing back the regulation will ensure more even-handed coverage of political issues, said Jeff Lieberson, spokesman for Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), who has proposed the “Media Ownership Reform Act.”

“The political interests of media owners can have a direct and indirect effect on the way news is presented to the public, so it’s important that all sides are heard,” Lieberson told Cybercast News Service Tuesday.

The Fairness Doctrine is a key component of Hinchey’s bill, which also sets tighter limits on media ownership. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has proposed a companion bill in the Senate.

“This is not an attempt to muzzle them at all,” Lieberson said of conservative talk show hosts who are opposed to the Fairness Doctrine. “They will still be heard. This will ensure that different views that are not theirs will also be heard.”

But muzzling is exactly what such a law would do, charged Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in the Media, a conservative media watchdog group.

“Make no bones about it, they want to force the conservative media to hand over air time to liberals,” Kincaid said in an interview. “When federal bureaucrats dictate the content of radio and TV shows, it’s muzzling to tell them what to say and how to say it.”

Many conservatives have long argued that the bulk of major newspapers, news magazines and network news programs tilt left and regard talk radio as an antidote.

“Liberals used to dominate the media, and they are irritated there are competing voices, so now they want to reign in the conservative media using the federal government,” Kincaid continued. “There is no prohibition against liberal talk radio. Liberals tried talk radio and it was not successful in the market place.”

Kincaid pointed to Air America, the liberal talk radio network started in 2004 that is now in bankruptcy but still operating with a limited audience.

The Fairness Doctrine was adopted by the FCC in 1949 as a regulation, never a law enacted by Congress. The effort now by Democrats in Congress is to codify the doctrine into law.

When the rule was in place, radio and TV stations could face hefty fines if their stations aired controversial statements on public affairs without providing equal time to opposing viewpoints. Critics said the result was self-censorship by timid broadcasters who avoided politics to escape any potential government retaliation.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that the doctrine did not violate the First Amendment, because the airwaves belonged to the public and thus could face government regulation to which print media were not subjected.

After the FCC ditched the rule in 1987, Democratic lawmakers made several attempts to bring it back in statute. Those attempts were unsuccessful even when Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress in 1993 and 1994.

Despite the 1969 court ruling, Dennis Wharton, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, told Cybercast News Service Tuesday it was fundamentally a First Amendment question.

“It was not appropriately named,” Wharton said of the doctrine. “It was unfair in inhibiting broadcasters’ free speech rights.

“There has been an explosion of viewpoints and coverage of issues since the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine,” Wharton said. “It’s been a boon for free expression.”

Hinchey, chairman of the “Future of Media Caucus” in the House, is among several Democratic lawmakers who spoke at the National Conference on Media Reform in Memphis, Tenn., this past weekend.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), chairman of the House subcommittee on domestic policy, announced he would hold hearings on the media, which would include looking at restoring the Fairness Doctrine.

“We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda,” Kucinich, a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, reportedly told the Memphis event.

“We are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible,” he said.

Original Link.