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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Islam Day: UH Religion Professor comes back for more
By Andrew Walden @ 2:25 PM :: 18903 Views :: Higher Education, Military, Religion

“When you’re in a hole, stop digging.” – Spurious 14th Century Sufi mystic

by Andrew Walden

UH Manoa Department of Religion Assistant Professor James D Frankel just doesn’t know when to quit.  Frankel has already received a partial Fisking of his first attack on this writer’s article exposing of the fact that Hawaii’s September 24 “Islam Day” commemoration falls on September 11 in the Julian calendar.

Now--in response to the response--Frankel claims he “typed in the wrong date” for “Islam Day”. In a commentary posted May 25 on HawaiiReporter.com, Frankel pretends to “take full responsibility” for becoming the only person on Earth--other than Hawaii Legislators and Muslim Association of Hawaii (MAH) leaders --to claim that “the 12th day of Rabi ul-Awwal will fall on September 24, 2009 (Islam Day).”

Frankel then goes on to explain helpfully that, “September 24, 2009 should correspond to the 21st day of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar.”

Once again Frankel is dead wrong -- and has again exposed an utterly stupendous ignorance of his own field of study. One quick glance at an Islamic calendar shows that September 24, 2009 corresponds to the 4th day of Shawwal. The 21st day of Ramadan will be … September 11, 2009. Perhaps this is Frankel’s idea of a joke?

This writer has already generously provided Frankel with a history lesson. Now Frankel needs a math lesson. The odds of “typing in the wrong date” within 2009 and coming up with the Gregorian September 24th (Julian September 11th) are 1 in 365. The odds of Frankel and the Legislature both independently “typing in the (same) wrong date” are 1 in 133,225. The odds of Frankel, the legislature and the MAH all independently “typing in the (same) wrong date” are worse than 1 in 48.6 million. Is this supposed to be proof of the “Infinite Monkey Theorem”?

In spite of the long odds, Frankel still claims that “Walden has proven no secret or nefarious conspiracy in the decision of the Hawaii state legislature to mark September 24th as ‘Islam Day.’” Apparently Frankel wants to take that 1 in 48.6 million bet.

He argues, “to draw from this that someone somewhere concocted this commemoration so that the Hawaiian (sic) public will unwittingly honor the date, and by extension the events, of September 11th stretches all reasonable credulity.” Sure: 1 in 48.6 million long shots hit all the time.

In spite of this Frankel writes: “Perhaps Walden simply is ignorant of the well-known principle of Ockam’s (sic) razor, which asserts that the simplest answer to a question is most likely the correct one.” It is usually spelled Occam or Ockham.

Frankel does admit, “The legislature’s resolution does contain some unfortunate errors, most notably their reference to the Gregorian calendar when they meant the Julian calendar.”   Fascinating.  And when one converts Islam Day--September 24, 2009 Gregorian--back to Julian leads to September 11.  That is very simple and therefore pleasing to Occam. But to Frankel this is apparently an example of “the drawing of false correlations among disparate phenomena….” And the odds are 1 in 48.6 million that he’s right.

But there is more at play than random chance. Lets hear from some of the voices of political Islamism:

"City of Brass" blogger Aziz Poonawalla of Madison, Wisconsin May 19 writes: “Naturally, there are some (conservative, Republican) people who see this (Islam Day) as dhimmitude incarnate. This fellow for example … intones seriously, "the muslims are laughing". Why, yes, we are indeed.”

The first commenter on Poonawalla’s blog post identifies himself as Hawaii IIO webmaster Abdul Rashid Abdullah.  The Islamic Information Office (IIO) website is tied to the Hawaii-based Muslim initiators of the “Islam Day” resolution.  Abdullah provides a link to a Honolulu Star-Bulletin poll on Islam Day and urges Poonawalla’s readers to vote.

The next morning “Indira” comments: “Nice work, that is also September 11 on the Julian calendar, no wonder you are laughing at kufr.” (Kufr is a derogatory term for non-Muslims.)

Poonawallah, Abdullah, and Indira are not alone. Over at “TurnToIslam.com “Yellow Flower” writes: “Alhamdulilah, i just voted and like an hour later or so, i voted again. then in like five minutes later after the second vote, it will tell you that you already voted. but i suppose that you can vote more than once in every hour or something. =D”

Yellow Flower’s Internet signature includes a link to: “Judgement Day - The Promised Day”.  This video consists of a tidal wave destroying the World Trade Center, the rest of Manhattan, and Paris, France, while a narrator intones, “For how long, for how long are we going to be heedless of the signs of Allah (SWT)….” But any conclusions drawn from this would be another example of “false correlations among disparate phenomena….”

In addition to his work for the IIO, Abdul Rashid Abdullah is Deputy Director of American Muslims Armed Forces and Veteran Affairs Council—an organization responsible for recruitment and training of Muslim Chaplains in the US Armed Forces. (There’s also an interesting story regarding another AMAF official in 2003 getting Libyan funding to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince. He is now serving a 23-year sentence and Qaddafi and Crown Prince Abdullah can’t sit in the same room without cussing each other.  But I digress.)

But does Poonawallah’s laughter matter? Or is he a blogospheric representation of nothing beyond himself? The answer comes quickly in another post where Poonawallah boasts:

"The Washington Post has a fantastic profile and interview of my friend Shahed Amanullah, founder of altmuslim.com and my partner in running the anual (sic) Brass Crescent Awards for the Islamic Blogsphere."  Poonawallah explains the project goal of the Brass Crescent Awards: "...forging a new synthesis of Islam and modernity...." 

In other words, a synthesis of Islamists and liberals.

“Liberal” is a word Frankel appears to be very sensitive about. He bizarrely argues that he is not a “liberal arts professor.” Perhaps this should be pointed out to the payroll office at UH Manoa.

Frankel writes:

“Based on my single (sic) error Walden attempts to extrapolate my credentials as a professor in my field of study, and impugn the entire enterprise of higher education in the 'liberal arts.' Actually, I teach in the College of Arts and Sciences; why Walden chooses to use the term 'liberal' is anybody’s guess.”  (emphasis added)

Having provided Frankel with free lessons in both history and mathematics, this writer is now obligated to explain the meaning of “liberal arts.” Fortunately the good people at Princeton have created an online dictionary which defines “liberal arts” as:

“studies intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills (rather than occupational or professional skills) the college of arts and sciences’" (emphasis added)

Wow.

While burbling about “Ockam’s razor” (sic) Frankel goes off on this tangent:

“Does Walden truly believe that those behind the terrorist attacks of 2001 had the obsolete Julian calendar in mind when they planned those attacks, just so that they could laugh behind all of our backs from their caves, safe houses and other hiding places?

“I sincerely doubt that “Islam Day” is an elaborate practical joke premeditated by al-Qaeda. If it were, perhaps Walden can explain to his readership that this “joke” only has a shelf life of 99 years, after which time the relational correspondence of the Gregorian and Julian calendars will shift forward by a day.”

After 2101, what notorious event in the annals of Islam occurring on September 10th does Walden know of that Hawaiians (sic) will be tricked into commemorating? Perhaps Walden simply is ignorant of the well-known principle of Ockam’s (sic) razor ….

Uh, no. There is no need to conclude that the Islamists’ so-called “Magnificent 19” knew anything about the coming of Islam Day in Hawaii eight years hence. As William of Occam would say, the simplest answer is the most likely to be correct. “Indira” put it very simply: “Nice work, that is also September 11 on the Julian calendar, no wonder you are laughing at kufr.”

And why did Frankel waste two paragraphs on the next 99 years when the Legislature’s resolution created “Islam Day” for 2009 only? Is this the kind of pathetic and weak red herring lecturers use to confuse their students these days?

Frankel continues:

“Unfortunately, the rest of my letter was altogether ignored by Andrew Walden in his article 'Islam Day: Answering UH Religion Department Prof.' Instead, Walden thanks me for the ‘opportunity to expose the false sophistication of yet another UH Manoa liberal arts professor.’”

And Frankel is due thanks once again--he truly is the gift that keeps on giving. But since Frankel did not appreciate this writer’s generous decision to ignore the rest of his first letter, here is one whopper that is just too good to pass up. Frankel wrote:

“While it is true that the Julian calendar was in use in 622, when the Islamic calendar began, it is no longer in use by anyone, and is therefore irrelevant.”

Again Frankel exposes an utterly stupendous ignorance of his own field of study. What part of “Eastern Orthodox” does he not understand? 

Here is a link to a photo montage of celebrations of “Orthodox Christmas” throughout the world on January 7, 2009 (Gregorian) which is December 25, 2008 (Julian). Hopefully Frankel will one day be as knowledgeable of comparative religion as these Aleutian Natives pictured celebrating Orthodox Christmas January 7 on Unalaska Island.

While most governments of Eastern Europe and the Middle East in the 19th and early 20th century switched to the Gregorian calendar, many Orthodox Churches have not. In addition to the several national Orthodox Christian Churches of Eastern Europe, the Julian calendar is still favored by the Ethiopian Orthodox, and by the key Christian populations living under the oppressive hand of Islam--the Copts, Greek Orthodox, Chaldean Catholics, and Assyrian Orthodox. From Russia and Alaska to Egypt, Ethiopia, and Iraq these “irrelevant” Orthodox “nobodies” comprise 100s of millions of Christians—including some whose faith traces directly to the earliest beginnings of Christianity. How a religion professor can overlook this is not clear.

Still clinging to his badly battered credibility, Frankel writes:

“Speaking of mistakes, Walden’s preoccupation with the notion of Taqiyyah exposes his own ignorance and/or anti-Islamic bias. Walden’s statements create a false monolith that fails to recognize diversity among the world’s Muslims and within Islamic teachings. Taqiyyah, literally “cover” in Arabic, is hardly a pan-Islamic doctrine, but rather a practice particular to the Shi’a minority in Islam, used historically by that community as a means to self-preservation in the face of Sunni persecution.”

Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz explained that: “War is a continuation of politics by other means.” To put it in terms William of Occam would appreciate, almost all terrorist movements of the last century have formed political fronts. The IRA had Sinn Fein. Sometimes political groups form terrorist wings. For example, Democrats formed the KKK. Does Frankel think Islamists are too stupid to fight with both political and terrorist methods? Are they dumber than 19th century American Democrats or 20th century Irish Republicans?

Al-Taqiyyah is one of the key doctrines of political Islamism.  Frankel’s flat assertion that “Taqiyyah (is) … a practice particular to the Shi’a minority in Islam” is further evidence of his desire to fit complex issues into convenient little boxes designed to serve whatever argument he seeks to make at a given moment.  It certainly shows a lack of intellectual curiosity unbecoming a professor of religion.

There is very little in Islam which is not subject to multiple interpretations and dispute.  The al-Islam encyclopedia has 14 references which show “that the concept of ‘al-Taqiyyah’ is an integral part of Islam, and that it is NOT a Shi'ite concoction….”  Some others agree with Frankel.  But universal agreement on the nature of al-Taqiyyah is not necessary for agents of political Islamism—or Islamist Lawfare--to use it.

Frankel also claims: “Islam, like other religions, does indeed ‘place a high value on truthfulness,’ but also recognizes the practical necessity of concealing the truth at times in order to protect those under threat.”  There is a lot of opportunity for untruthfulness in that little word “threat”.  How often do Islamists claim to be “threatened” by something?  Each claim justifies lies.

As this writer pointed out in 2008:

The coexistence of faith and reason is a theme going back to the earliest development of the Judeo-Christian tradition.  It is also the theme of Benedict's September 12, 2006 Regensburg speech in which he said:

"Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: ‘In the beginning was the Logos.'  ...Logos means both reason and word-- a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist."

In the opening verses of Genesis, God literally speaks the world into existence.  (God said, let there be ....)  God acts through words.  In the Judeo-Christian tradition God is limited by Reason, Truth and the law of non-contradiction.

Islam teaches that Allah is transcendental -- not bound by anything.  The followers of Allah imitate their deity.  Left without the use of reason, many live in conditions little changed from centuries past.  As Benedict explained at Regensburg: 

"The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion (to Islam) is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: ‘For the emperor (Manuel II Paleologos), as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.' Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us."

The Koran’s so-called “Satanic Verses” are spoken--at a moment before the Hijra when the position of pre-Islam was very weak--by Mohammad in support of three female deities worshipped by the polytheistic Meccans at the Kaaba.  Lying--under ‘threat’.  Allah later had Mohammad revoke them claiming that the devil placed them in the mouth of the prophet. 

Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel “Satanic Verses” is based in part on these Koranic verses.  It earned him a death warrant fatwa—still standing—from Iran.  The use of such force against free speech is a clear statement of attitude towards truth.  And this is hardly the only example.  Truth is to be approached not through reasoned discourse but at gunpoint. 

Twenty-one years later Rushdie still lives but Wikipedia explains: 

“others connected with the book have suffered violent attacks. Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese language translator of the book, was stabbed to death on July 11, 1991; Ettore Capriolo, the Italian language translator, was seriously injured in a stabbing the same month; William Nygaard, the publisher in Norway, barely survived an attempted assassination in Oslo in October 1993, and Aziz Nesin, the Turkish language translator, was the intended target in the events that led to the Sivas massacre on July 2, 1993 in Sivas, Turkey which resulted in the deaths of 37 persons.”

That is terrorism. 

While the KKK went nightriding, Democrats imposed poll taxes and literacy tests.  On the political/legal front Islamist Lawfare seeks to achieve the same goal as the Iranian fatwa—censorship--via the courts.

For instance, several figures connected to the Muslim Association of Hawaii threatened litigation against HawaiiReporter.com and this writer over an article exposing allegations of “fraud” related to fundraising to construct a mosque on the Big Island. 

HawaiiReporter.com removed the Kona mosque article--but this writer has not and will not. A team of attorneys stand ready to defend the case if it ever is brought and the article remains online at this link: Kona Mosque Plan Questioned. The lawsuit threats are explained at this link: Kona mosque-builder threatens lawsuit. As this writer explained:

“(A)ttorneys (representing an erstwhile Kona mosque builder tied to Masjid al-Baqi) imply that mention of a previous development battle involving the Unification Church somehow demeans Masjid al-Baqi.

“Demands for the court-enforced elimination of such phrases shows lack of respect for the freedom of the press and freedom of speech guaranteed in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Masjid al-Baqi must submit to US law and Hawai`i State law. Mosque builders must submit to the same type of treatment given other developers in Hawai`i. Muslims have no special ‘religious rights’ in America.”

Maybe this is what Frankel had in mind when he hints that this writer harbors “bias”.

Libel tourism finds writers and publishers who have never set foot nor sold books in Britain dragged into English courts by plaintiffs who also have no British connection. The attraction: plaintiff-friendly libel laws. Billionaire former Baathist Nadhmi Auchi--who funded Tony Rezko--who in turn funded Barack Obama--is a chief practitioner. This writer has received several threatening letters from English lawyers. Link: Obama's Chilling Crew: The legal harassment of those investigating Tony Rezko.

With apologies to Clausewitz one can conclude that litigation and politics are a continuation of war by other means.

Frankel claims his first letter afforded this writer “an opportunity to engage in an honest conversation about why he opposes the commemoration of Islam Day in Hawaii. It would have been a chance for Walden to come clean about his true motivations….”

If Frankel cannot discern this writer’s “true motivations” then perhaps he needs some remedial reading lessons.

Frankel continually hints that this writer harbors “ignorance and/or anti-Islamic bias.” Everybody knows that an “ignorant, biased” (insert epithet here) is “anybody who is winning an argument with a liberal”. So perhaps this accusation of “bias” should be considered a compliment even as Frankel implies he is not a liberal.

Frankel should shift his “bias” to favor the academic pursuit of knowledge and away from serving the Hawaii Legislature’s socio-political agenda. His continuing tragicomedy of errors is further evidence of the high price professors pay for allowing their academic pursuits to be corrupted by the pernicious influence of ‘political correctness.’

RELATED:

Kona Mosque Plan Questioned

Kona mosque-builder threatens lawsuit

Hawaii “Islam Day” secretly marks September 11

al-Taqiyya in action: Islamic Information Office of Hawaii defends "Islam Day"

Islam Day: Answering UH Religion Department Prof.

Fisking the Star-Bulletin: Uproar over Islam undeserved

Islam Day: “‘The Muslims are laughing’ Why, yes, we are indeed”

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