October 29, 2007

Imam Ahmed Alzaree Resigns from Islamic Center of Cleveland (with Links to Previous Posts; Update: AP Headline Hits Rock Bottom)

Filed under: Marvels,Wide Open — Tom @ 3:49 pm

From the Plain Dealer’s blog, by David Briggs:

New Cleveland imam quits before he starts

Imam Ahmed Alzaree announced Monday, three days before he was to start work as the spiritual leader of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, that he was resigning.

Alzaree said allegations by bloggers that he was anti-Semitic and was associated with individuals suspected of having terrorist ties so poisoned the atmosphere in Northeast Ohio that he and his wife, Marwa, decided to look elsewhere.

“Cleveland now is a nightmare for her,” Alzaree said. “It will never be a good start for me and the Jewish community.

The mosque has accepted Alzaree’s resignation, Zahid Siddiqi, general secretary of the mosque’s executive committee, said Monday afternoon.

“We certainly don’t want to impose on him and his family,” Siddiqi said.

Alzaree is the former spiritual leader of the Islamic Center of Omaha.

Well, well.

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UPDATES (exclusively at BizzyBlog):

Update 1: Don’t miss Patrick Poole’s post-departum on Alzaree. And this should have been said hours ago — intense appreciation is owed to Patrick for his lion’s share of the research.

Update 2: Briggs posted a much longer piece just after 5PM, apparently for the Metro section.

Update 2A: Here are the final five paragraphs from Briggs’s update:

As of Thursday afternoon, Alzaree had been planning to come to Cleveland, vowing to make an extra effort to reach out to Jewish and Christian leaders.

But as Web sites such as Central Ohioans Against Terrorism and Jihad Watch continued to probe, using such terms as “two-faced jihadist,” Alzaree said he and his wife concluded they could never have a good beginning in Northeast Ohio.

“I leave the field” to the bloggers, he said Monday. “I have peace now.”

Alzaree said he will decide among a half-dozen other job offers.

The Parma mosque will resume its search for an imam, said Zuhair Hasan, the new mosque president.

Apparently curiosity is still in short supply at the Plain Dealer. You would think inquiring minds would want to know what happened to extensively-quoted and now-former mosque president Dr. Jalal Abu-Shaweesh in the past few days. Abu-Shaweesh took over the mosque’s presidency in late 2005, and was interviewed in the December edition of the Cleveland Muslim (go to page 3 at the link). 22-23 months doesn’t seem like a normal presidential term (/understatement).

Update 3: Others taking note — LGF, RAB, WOIO, The C-Square.

Update 4, Oct. 30: Still others — Right Wing Rebel, Eye on the World (“A good Muslim can’t even call for the death of the Jews? Oh, the humanity!”), zTruth (“What would he have been teaching? I think you know the answer.”), Jawa Report, Interested-Participant, The Path.

Update 5, Oct. 30, 1PM (this item is also noted at Wide Open and NewsBusters): Oh for cryin’ out loud, the Associated Press has found a way to simultaneously hit rock bottom and continue digging — “Blog critics force imam to resign at Ohio mosque.” And it’s all over the place — Ohio.com, MSNBC, JPost, IHT, with surely others to come.

Two words for AP: As if.

Update 6, Nov. 1: The UK Times Online’s Faith Central has a short post.

Update 7, Nov. 20: Andrew Bostom of the New English Review, and whose articles on Islam and jihad have appeared in Frontpage Magazine and The American Thinker, has this to say about Damra, Alzaree, and the Hadith:

And just this past October 30, 2007 it was announced that Imam Ahmed Alzaree—the first permanent successor to Damra—resigned as the new “spiritual leader” of the Islamic Center of Cleveland three days prior to officially beginning the job. Alzaree, who at one stage of the vetting process expressed the unusual reservation that “he would not come to Cleveland because a reporter was inquiring about his background,” ostensibly accepted the position as noted on October 26, 2007, then pre-emptively resigned a few days later, after the contents of “khutbahs ” (sermons) he had delivered on March 7, 2003, were revealed.

Alzaree’s March, 2003 sermons are in fact far worse than has been portrayed by the Cleveland media. One assumes that either they have not been read at all, or at best only perused, and those reading these sermons, by and large, have no idea about the virulently Antisemitic motifs in the Koran and hadith (i.e., the words, deeds, and even physical gestures of Muhammad as recorded by pious Muslim transmitters). Moreover, these sermons were also virulently Christianophobic, invoking combined anti-Christian/Jew-hating motifs from the Koran (for example, Koran 4:157-159), as well as anti-Christian eschatology (linked explicitly to Jew-hating eschatology) from the hadith, particularly with regard to “Jesus,” or to be precise, the Muslim simulacrum of Jesus, “Isa,” as characterized in Islam’s foundational texts. Alzaree simply recounts Islamic doctrine (as per the Koran and hadith) regarding “Isa”—the Muslim Jesus—which emphasizes the Jews overall perfidy, especially their gloating (but unknowingly “false”) claim to have killed Isa.According to this sacralized Islamic narrative, Isa is merely a Muslim prophet whose ultimate “job description” includes the destruction of Christianity. Thus Alzaree’s sermon invokes the canonical hadith that this Muslim Jesus—who was never crucified—the perfidious Jews prodding the Roman’s to kill Isa’s “body double”—will return as a full-throated Muslim to break the cross, kill the pig, and end the payment of the deliberately humiliating Koranic (9:29) poll-tax demanded of Christians (i.e., the jizya). This hadith states, “He [Isa] will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizya”—because Christians will be converted to Islam (and thus exempt from the jizya), or eliminated—“Allah will perish all religions except Islam.” Alzaree concluded the second sermon with an apocalyptic canonical hadith—repeated in the 1988 Hamas Charter (in article 7)—stating if a Jew seeks refuge under a tree or a stone, these objects will be able to speak to tell a Muslim: “There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!

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Previous Posts:

  • Sept. 25 — Meet the New Imam, Same as the Old Imam?
  • Sept. 29 — Ahmed Alzaree Follow-up: Who WAS That Cleveland.com Blogger? (at the Plain Dealer’s Wide Open blog)
  • Oct. 2 — COAT’s Imam Ahmed Alzaree Follow-up
  • Oct. 25 — Imam Ahmed Alzaree and the Islamic Center of Cleveland Follow-up: Part 1
  • Oct. 25 — Imam Ahmed Alzaree and the Islamic Center of Cleveland Follow-up: Part 2

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org and Wide Open.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (102907)

This quote’s a few days old but worth repeatingfrom Megan McArdle, on education (HT Instapundit):

MEGAN MCARDLE on education: “Every time I see some middle class parent prattling about vouchers ‘destroying’ the public schools by ‘cherry picking’ the best students, when they’ve made damn sure that their own precious little cherries have been plucked out of the failing school systems, I seethe with barely controllable inward rage. It is the vilest hypocrisy on display in American politics today.

If not the vilest, darn close.

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Dick Morris outlines “What She’d Do: Hillary’s Hidden Agenda.” If anyone outside of Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle would know, he would.

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This will drive Jim Dobson crazy:

Former Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback emerged from a meeting with pro-abortion GOP hopeful Rudy Giuliani and said Friday he is more comfortable with the former mayor. The former New York leader invited Brownback, a key pro-life lawmaker in Congress, to talk with him about abortion.

Brownback made it clear he did not endorse Giuliani — he hasn’t endorsed any presidential candidate yet — but he said he is “much more comfortable” with Rudy Giuliani’s position on abortion.

George Will has related relevant observations on the issue in general.

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Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey comments on the Mother of All Tax Increases (MOAT), and notes an alternative (link requires paid subscription):

Contrary to its deceptive name, Mr. Rangel’s bill is not tax relief, but a breathtaking tax increase. And it is not tax reform, but just another round of new complexity layered on top of the existing tax code, with tweaked provisions, changed definitions and redistributed income to favored groups through carefully crafted new subsections. Compliance with the 60,000-page tax code costs Americans seven billion man-hours and over $140 billion in fees to accountants and consultants, all before a single check is cut to the government. While the AMT may be repealed by this bill, the inefficiencies and burdens that keep Washington lobbyists employed full time remain.

To be clear, the $140 billion is only what is paid out by taxpayers. The cost of the 7 billion hours in compliance is separate, and is roughly 48 hours for each person in the current workforce of 146 million. Think of what could be produced (i.e., added to GDP) if those 48 hours were used for a productive purpose.

The alternative looks like it would free up a lot of those hours:

Thankfully, there’s an alternative to Mr. Rangel’s redistributive approach, and it’s being offered by a group of pro-growth tax reformers in the House of Representatives. “The Taxpayer Choice Act,” is being offered by Reps. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.), Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), and John Campbell (R., Calif.) that repeals the AMT while fundamentally reforming the tax code.

These young Republican legislative entrepreneurs offer taxpayers the choice of remaining in the current system with its itemized deductions, charts and schedules, or moving into a greatly simplified system that eliminates all deductions and loopholes while offering only two simple rates. All taxpayers would have a standard individual deduction of $12,500, and individuals earning below $100,000 would pay a flat 10% of income, while individuals earning above that would pay 25%. Calculating taxes would take less time than brewing a pot of coffee.

I’d like to include a twist to the 1040 that would have a taxpayer who clearly would owe nothing STOP at some point in the return, with a sign-off that basically says, “It should be obvious at this point that I/we don’t owe anything. Give me/us our money back. Leave me/us alone.”

Libs will go crazy over the 25% rate, of course. But here’s the fun part, from polling data a few years ago:

Poll data suggest that the wealthy are already paying more in taxes than the bulk of Americans think they should. A Zogby poll last year asked people what a fair tax rate would be for a person making $1 million per year — an income that would put someone in the top tenth of the top one percent of taxpayers. Seventeen percent of Americans said that 10 percent was the most one should pay and 29 percent said that 20 percent was the maximum.

- In other words, 46 percent of the American people think that millionaires today are already overtaxed, paying about 28 percent of their income to the federal government when 20 percent is the most they ought to pay.
- Only 21 percent of people in the survey agreed with Sen. John Kerry that tax rates should be higher than 30 percent.

Lest one think that this is an isolated result, there are other polls with similar findings. A 2001 Fox News poll asked people the highest percentage of taxes anyone should have to pay.

- Some 52 percent said 20 percent was the most anyone should pay.
- Only 9 percent of people favored rates above 30 percent.
- Another Fox News poll in 1999 found 65 percent of people saying that 20 percent should be the maximum tax rate.

Remember, this is ALL income taxes, not just the federal income tax. Polls have consistently shown the results you’ve just seen for decades.

This is why you will almost never, if ever, hear the Charlie Rangel/Hillary Clinton crowd, whom I am tentatively naming “Team Chillary” (in honor of what they will do to the economy if they get their way), actually say that they want to raise the highest federal bracket to 39% or so with their MOAT, and then to 44% or so if the tax system in place since 2003 otherwise goes back to where it was in 2000 (this is usually referred to as “repealing the Bush tax cuts,” but should be seen as a big tax increase over what we’ve been used to now for many years). Instead they speak of tiny-sounding 4% surtaxes and the like.

This final item is posted as a separate entry at Wide Open.

Positivity: History Repeats Itself as Iraqi Soldiers Donate Money Towards American Disaster Relief

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:02 am

From Richard S. Lowry’s Opfor web site:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20071026-01
October 26, 2007

Iraqi Army at Besmaya Installation Support San Diego Fire Victims

By U.S. Army Sgt 1st Class Charlene Sipperly
Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq Public Affairs

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Members of the Iraqi Army in Besmaya collected a donation for the San Diego, Calif., fire victims Thursday night at the Besmaya Range Complex in a moving ceremony to support Besmaya’s San Diego residents.

Iraqi Army Col. Abbass, the commander of the complex, presented a gift of $1,000 to U.S. Army Col. Darel Maxfield, Besmaya Range Complex officer in charge, Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, to send to the fire victims in California.

The money was collected from Iraqi officers and enlisted soldiers in Besmaya. In a speech given during the presentation, Col. Abbass stated that he and the Iraqi soldiers were connected with the American people in many ways, and they will not forget the help that the American government has given the Iraqi people. Abbass was honored to participate by sending a simple fund of $1,000 to the American people in San Diego, to lower the suffering felt by the tragedy.

This is not an unprecedented act, as what follows was picked up at BizzyBlog in September 2005.

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(September 12, 2005 post)

Iraqi soldiers have donated to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

TAJI, Iraq, Sept. 9, 2005 — Iraqi soldiers serving at Taji military base collected 1,000,000 Iraqi dinars for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Iraqi Col. Abbas Fadhil, Iraqi base commander, presented the money to U.S. Col. Paul D. Linkenhoker, Taji Coalition base commander, at a Sept. 5 staff meeting.

“We are all brothers,” said Abbas. “When one suffers tragedy, we all suffer their pain.”

The amount of money is small in American dollars – roughly $680 – but it represents a huge act of compassion from Iraqi soldiers to their American counterparts, said U.S. Army Maj. Michael Goyne.

“I was overwhelmed by the amount of their generosity,” Goyne said. “I was proud and happy to know Col. Abbas, his officers, NCOs and fellow soldiers. That amount represents a month’s salary for most of those soldiers.”

Abbas read a letter he wrote after giving the envelope to Linkenhoker.

“I am Colonel Abbas Fadhil; Tadji Military Base Commander,” Abbas wrote. “On behalf of myself and all the People of Tadji Military Base; I would like to console the American People and Government for getting this horrible disaster. So we would like to donate 1.000.000 Iraqi Dinars to help the government and the People also I would like to console all the ASTs who helped us rebuilding our country and our Army. We appreciate the American’s help and support. Thank you.”