Friday, March 26, 2004

Retired Generals and Admirals Struck with Liberal Disease

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of 49 retired U.S. generals and admirals is urging President Bush (news - web sites) to postpone the scheduled deployment this year of a multibillion dollar missile shield and spend the money instead on securing potential terror targets.

In a letter to be released at a news conference Friday, the officers, including retired Admiral William Crowe, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1985 to 1989, described the complex technology as untested and a poor use of scarce defense dollars."

The next Bush campaign ad:

"Forty-nine generals and admirals--wrong on defense, soft on terrorism!"

It is clear from Neocon and Republican campaign rhetoric that if you EVER opposed a weapons system of any kind for any reason you are a liberal elitist tax and spend bleeding heart soft on defense weak on terrorism gutless wimp. This puts Kerry's horrendous Senate voting record on par with all of these gutless retired military guys. Vote Bush and save us from retired military cowards and wimps!

Thursday, March 25, 2004

More Apolgies, More Grieving Family Members

Richard Clarke started his testimony before the commission investigating 9/11 yesterday by stating, “Your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed," he said. "And for that failure, I would ask once all the facts are out for your understanding and for your forgiveness."
Unfortunately, there are going to be many more apologies, failures and laughably titled “bipartisan” commissions in the coming years as a religiously-motivated enemy uses our own freedoms, political correctness, government inefficiencies and the politicization of the war on terror against us.
You have not seen the end of grieving relatives and 24-hour coverage of devastation.
If you strip all the spin from the current commission testimony, all the political interests from media outlets, campaigns and pundits the horrible truth was uttered in an exchange between former Republican Senator Slade Gorton who asked Clarke if there was "the remotest chance" that the attacks could have been prevented if the Bush administration had adopted his aggressive counterterrorism recommendations upon taking office in January 2001.
"No," Clarke said.
For all those posturing for political results or a kind footnote in history, the awful truth is that we weren’t prepared for 9/11 and we couldn’t have stopped it anyway.
I predict you will hear similar testimony yet again.
It’s time to quit criticizing those in the government administrations and agencies in this newest manifestation of Islamist terror and conquest, begin to accept the unpopular realities, make the hard choices necessary to minimize death and destruction of innocent American civilians, and maximize the death and destruction of the radical Islamists.
At the end of the day, you as an American are going to be only as safe as you force the government to make you. Policy is driven by politics and homeland security has become as politicized as Medicare reform. Most Americans still don’t really understand either the true nature of the threat or the hard decisions that must be made.
Unfortunately, we are approaching the time for the next wave of attacks with the predictable next wave of hand wringing and attempting to place blame for political or historical vindication. This time the death toll will be far greater.
As a society, we have still not come to grips with several “essence” issues and the nature of our society is such that we will have to lose 30,000—300,000—or heaven forbid—3 million before we begin to make the real changes in our counter-terrorism and homeland defense strategy.
Those essence issues follow and will be discussed separately in a series of articles:

§ We must acknowledge the politically incorrect and admit that what we truly face a religiously-motivated war that has both a shooting element (Madrid, 9/11) and a more insipid, yet much more dangerous religious insurgency funded by rich Muslim individuals and countries.
§ There is only one way to truly prevent terrorist from striking—find the terrorists and kill them first. To do this means we must have a policy to strike them wherever we find them. This is an unpopular policy for most of the world.

§ Prevention of terrorist actions in the United States means identifying and investigating people or groups before they have attacked. As Lou Scanlon, Director of Homeland Security for the city of San Diego told me in an interview for my upcoming book, “Common sense tells you that prevention is really our big gap in the war on terror. We must be able to identify and investigate to prevent terrorist acts before they occur. The entire clamor over first-responder inadequacies is for the after-event response. It does not make you safer. Only identifying, investigation, and prevention makes you safe. Everything else is about body bags and cleaning up the rubble.” This means surveillance and intelligence gathering within the United States. Many people from all political persuasions are working to defeat various homeland security initiatives that would block identifying and investigating terrorists at home.

It is time to for you to understand the basic issues stripped of political correctness and political machination. You must re-evaluate the delicate balance of living safely with the clash of counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism operational necessities. Basic views concerning privacy, freedoms of religion and expression, and the role of government in identifying, tracking, and stopping terrorists who practice violence and subversion must be reevaluated.
You must influence policies that truly deal with preventing terrorism and you must stand fast when the inevitable criticism starts.
Otherwise, there will be a long line of apologizing Richard Clarkes’ and grieving family members


Just Another List

For anyone following politics in the US over the past 3 years, this list will look very familiar. And it ought to. It comes from memory, not from exhaustive research. Bush supporters are the weasels and whiners--complaining every day that they are being "unfairly" attacked. Career bureaucrats and Republican cabinet members all have aneurisms or brain tumors and suddenly become greedy, opportunistic liberal Elite leftist whining Democrats. (Rumor has it that James Carville and Paul Begala are raising money for a research project into the cause of this disease as part of a dastardly plot to turn good people into (yuk) liberals!)

Other writers on this blog love to take shots at John Kerry. Fair enough--he is a presidential candidate. Or Ted Kennedy. More than fair enough for reasons too numerous to mention. But the Bush people have a far more serious problem on their hands. The defections from their ranks are too numerous and too revealing to get away with. And the assertion that career state department and intelligence officers and Republicans from the business community CHOSEN by the Bush Administration suddenly wake up one morning as pathological liars ignores lots and lots of obvious and key FACTS! (You know, the kind that a stern President Bush warned us we had better have behind us before making accusations or drawing conclusions. Ah me, oh my! That's a real knee slapper).

The list (in no particular order):

In the aftermath of 9/11, a civilian aircraft collects members of the bin Laden family, takes them to Boston, where they are flown to France. The FBI has little opportunity to question any of them. This FACT has not been denied--nor has this privileged treatment of Saudi nationals been explained.

LIE: Speech after speech and talk-show appearance after talk-show appearance from Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz, Pearle, and constant repetition by Fleischer and McClellan, from October of 2001 until April of 2003 that Iraq is bursting with deadly WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

TRUTH: No weapons of mass destruction found.

LIE: An embarrassing performance by Colin Powell in front of the UN claiming not only that Iraq had WMD, but that we know what they were and where they were--complete with Powerpoint presentation and talcum powder in a vial to illustrate what anthrax looks like. Powell: "these are facts based upon solid intelligence." A repeat of this canard by Rumsfeld on the talk shows, weapons of mass destruction will be found "north and somewhat west of Baghdad".

TRUTH: No weapons of mass destruction found.

LIE: Joseph Wilson, career diplomat warns the Bush administration in Spring of 2002 that assertions that Iraq attempted to purchase yellowcake from Niger are false, a claim that "Iraq attempted to obtain large quantities of uranium from Africa" appear in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address anyway. Wilson goes public. Strangely, in an as yet unexplained way, someone on the White House staff "leaks" that Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson's wife, is in fact a CIA undercover operative. President and "Mr. Integrity" Bush promised full cooperation to uncover the perpetrator of this FELONY punishable by years of imprisonment.

TRUTH: Eight months later we know nothing, Robert Novak has been protected, the White House "staffer" has been protected, the issue has been buried, and the people are expected to forget that President is protecting a felon.

LIE: The Bush Administration floats a huge Medicare bill that many Republican members of Congress will not support because it is too costly. Democrats predictably claim the bill is a give away to drug companies and HMOs. Republicans reluctantly support the bill because the White House tells Congress that the bill will cost "only" $400 billion. Democratic congressional staffers attempt to get cost figures from the Bush Administration, but are stonewalled.

TRUTH: The Bush Administration's own chief actuary estimated months before the vote that the cost of the bill would be $180 billion or more higher than the $400 billion figure given to Congress. The adminstration staff member is threatened with being fired if he reveals the truth. There are witnesses and the actuary has now (apparently like so many other Bush employees, due to a virus, an aneurism, a stroke, or something) come forward to tell the American people that the Bush Administration, once again, deliberately deceived Congress and the American people. Apparently he is just another greedy opportunist waiting for a book deal.

This list can go on and on and on. And this is why all the assertions by Bush supporters that the whistle blowers are self-serving, greedy liars just rings hollow. Dubya is running an all-out reelection campaign on leadership and integrity and constantly refers to himself as a "war president". The Kerry campaign has correctly noted that Mr. Bush has nothing else to run on. Job losses, poor stock market performance (the Dow and the NASDAQ both retreated in March and lost all of the earlier gains of 2004), constant bloodshed and political chaos in our 51st state, Iraq. The Israeli/Palestinian war spinning wildly out of control, cronyism and political pay backs in the billions of dollars, long-standing relationships with other major industrial powers and mature democracies in tatters, the people of Spain sending a clear signal that Aznar lied to them and he's out on his ass, and on and on and on.

Now, let's add the coup de grâce. Bush, for all his posturing about the "War on Terror" has now been outed by a career diplomat with over 30 years of service. The entire Bush Administration is built upon the cavalier notion that the people of America are pathetically easy to manipulate. Wave a flag, villify Saddam, "support the troops", "you're with us or against us", "take the fight to the enemy"... Do NOT oppose me or you will prove that you are unpatriotic. Halliburton, Bechtel, and a host of shadowy consulting companies are all feeding at the trough. Nearly a trillion dollars in much needed federal revenue has been squandered on large tax cuts in the highest brackets while the people of the United States have seen a federal government surplus plundered and turned into the largest deficit in the history of the country.

And, sadly, even though Dubya can wear a flight suit, and scowl, and look tough (when he is not trying to speak English), he is most assuredly not tough on terrorism. Just like the Catholic Church--which naturally has an embarrassing and difficult time dealing with pedophile priests--the Bush family has a similar problem with the Saudis. But, shhhhhhh--we just don't talk about the Carlyle Group, Aramco, and the billions at stake in keeping the Saudi royals happy (specifically Crown Prince Abdullah). Pakistan is our great ally and has just had trade sanctions lifted. Right! If the radical Islamic majority in Pakistan successfully deposes our current puppet, Pervez Musharraf, the Wahabists and supporters of Usama bin Laden will have not only nuclear weapons, but missile systems to deliver them!

The vast range of conflict of interest--from Dick Cheney's annual million dollar "blind" retirement payments from Halliburton to George H. W. Bush's close relationship to Saudi oil, to Enron and other energy giants writing US federal energy in secret to Antonin Scalia's refusal to recuse himself from the case against Cheney to... Ah. I grow tired of this. What will it take for some people to see the obvious?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

How Many Rats Must Leave the Sinking Ship...

...before the passengers realize that the voyage is over?

Most of the civilized and educated world knows that the Bush Administration seems to have a great deal of difficulty in telling the truth and finds it completely impossible to admit to making mistakes. This is typical of adolescent males--but we've beaten that deceased equine before (this is in case David Brooks is now reading these posts; I am afraid he would find the phrase "dead horse" both too prosaic and too deep).

The litany of lies, falsehoods, half-truths, and quibbling blather one can attribute to the Bush Administration is simply astonishing. Their lies and self-contradictions are well documented and chronicled elsewhere. (For a recent example, witness Don Rumsfeld's amusing denials and mumbling on a recent episode of "Face the Nation"). Now, we discover that Dr. Condoleezza Rice is too important a person to testify before a commission on improving US intelligence. Perhaps Dr. Rice would prefer simply to tell the family members of the victims of the 9/11 attacks that refusing to testify under oath is far more important to her and to her boss than their petty problems. Perhaps the mountain of evidence that is rapidly accumulating that G.W. Bush, already angry at that bad man Saddam who tried to kill his daddy and being pressured by Paul Wolfowitz and his buddy Achmed Chalabi, fixated on Iraq and ignored Al Qaida will begin to force some semblance of the truth into the open.

During yesterday's Commission hearings, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urged the commission members to review pre-9/11 actions (or inaction) on the part of the Clinton Administration in the light of pre-9/11 political realities. Sure, all of the chest-thumping Republicans now act as though they have always preached a policy of hard-hitting, kick-ass retaliation. But this just another case of Republicans engaging in one of their favorite activities: revising history while simultaneously accusing everyone else of revising history. Heck, we don't even have to go back any further than the 2000 presidential campaign and listen to the holy words of our currently appointed president to see that Republicans and (?) conservatives were very recently staunchly against military intervention, missions without an etched-in-steel exit strategy, and absolutely averse to "nation building". Any effort on the part of anyone in the Clinton administration to fight terrorism abroad was condemned as a "wag the dog" strategy to distract the public from Kenn Starr's 6 year, 65 million dollar Clinton witch hunt.

Now, in what is a pathetically obvious attempt at revising history, we are to believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz were hot on the trail of Usama bin Laden from day one. Why? Because like any stuffed-shirt politician, George W. Bush, the lesser son of an earlier mediocre president, is interested solely in being re-elected. He has promises to keep and trillions still to give back to his old money friends. (As a side note, why is it that gasoline prices are at an all time high while we have a president whose family's wealth is directly linked to Saudi Arabian oil?)

Well-informed, thinking people all over the world knew that the Bush Administration's fixation on Iraq was at best tangential to any issues having to do with international terrorism. As I have pointed out before, and will again here, in answer to the question "What could anyone have done to prevent the 9/11 hijackings?", there is a very simple answer to this. Follow:

Item: During the summer of 2001, the CIA, FBI, and the FAA are aware that Al Qaida may be planning to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as missiles to attack the Pentagon or other targets.

Item: The US Government acknowledges that all of the aircraft hijacked on 9/11 were commandeered by men with box cutters--no guns, no automatic weapons, no hand grenades or explosives--just razor blades.

Item: Had commercial airlines flight crews been alerted to the possibility that a hijacker might deliberately crash the aircraft, I contend that 2 or 3 guys with razor blades could NOT have successfully hijacked a single plane. In the wake of 9/11, passengers proved that any misbehaviour on a flight would not be tolerated.

Item: The FAA did NOT alter the instructions to flight crews to cooperate with hijackers.

Result: Four flights crashed, two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, one purportedly into the Pentagon, one into a field in Pennsylvania. In the one case where the passengers and crew apparently did not cooperate, the flight was lost, but no one on the ground was even injured.

Yes, there was something that the federal government could have EASILY done in reaction to the "Summer of Threat".

As for the notion that career public servants, like Richard Clarke, spend 30 years at a job--that's a career, a lifetime--only to become greedy opportunists, well that's laughable and likely to be the first thought of, mmmm, how do I say this delicately, someone who is himself a greedy opportunist. To call Richard Clarke either a "weasel" or an "incompetent" does not tell us much about Richard Clarke that stands up to objective scrutiny. To imagine that Richard Clarke could not have earned many times his government salary in the private sector is ludicrous. No one with his profile and name recognition in three different Republican administrations could fail to have the kind of contacts that would land him a cushy consulting position, a partnership, and senior executive money, perks, and benefits. But for some reason OTHER THAN MONEY, Richard Clarke continued to work within the government. And, to conclude that he is less than competent is to throw stones at Saint Ronald of Reagan and the Holy Father--Bush the First.

No, the screaming meanies of the Right-Wing will unleash everything they've got against Richard Clarke, and for obvious reasons. He is credible, he was there, he has years of recognized service, genuine expertise, and--because he is fed up with the self-serving lies of George W. ("I'm a uniter, not a divider") Bush, he has chosen to confront his former employers about their deception of the American people.

And, in closing, I got to thinking about the two words used in the previous diatribe to describe Richard Clarke, "weasel" and "incompetent", and had to chuckle. The first word brings to mind one very special person whose resemblance to a weasel (shifty eyed, pointy-nosed, and sneaky) is so profound that I must mention it. If the word "weasel" applies to anyone involved in all of this today, the prize definitely goes to Ed Gillespie!

As for "incompetent"... You can actually buy a calendar of "Bushisms". When some clever entrepreneur can actually assemble a calendar (365 days worth, no less) of hilarious, bumbling speech from the Leader of the Free World, the Commander and Chief, we don't need to look far for the award in this category. If ever a human being proved the Peter Principle, Dubya is the guy. And believe me, when it comes to intelligence and competence, I don't think it's possible to "misunderestimate" him.

In closing, I am calling for nominations for more 2004 "Weasel Awards" and the "Politically Incorrect Citation of Merit for Conspicuous Incompetence". I await your wit and perspicacity. (For all you Cons out there, perspicacity means good and keen judgment, which pretty much leaves you out.)


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Richard Clark--Weasel or Incompetent?

Let’s talk about mediocrity and hypocrisy for a moment—and about a Sixty Minutes (CBS) interview with an author who is launching a book by a publishing house (Simon & Shuster) owned by the same company that owns both CBS and the publishing house (Viacom).

If this were a republican you would have the self-righteous in the media and congress wailing and weeping like fans of the Chicago Cubs or Boston Red Sox during last year’s play offs. It’s corporate malfeasance Wah! It’s abuse of power WAH! It was planned by the Bush campaign WAAAAAAAH! Abuse of a media outlet sniffle!

Instead we hear: It’s another defection from the Bush camp Yippee! And so on.

I’d like to suggest that either Richard Clarke is a minor Civil Servant who simply lacked the ability to rise to the cabinet level and now gets his revenge by publishing self-serving fable or he is a criminally incompetent civil servant who deserves to be tied down prostrate into the pig pen in battery park with bin Laden when we finally catch him.

Let’s call it straight--Richard Clark is either an opportunistic weasel that wants to impress his friend Mr. Blazer (who surprise … happens to be John Kerry’s foreign affairs guru from HAAVAYD) or he has a lot of blood on his hands and must be one of the most criminally incompetent civil servants in the history of the republic.

Here’s a partial list of acts from our Jihadist friends that happened on Mr. Clark’s watch:

§ November 1990—the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane by El Sayeed Nosair.
§ January 1993—the murder of five CIA employees by Pakistani citizen Mir Aimal Kansi.
§ February 1993—the first World Trade Center bombing
§ June 1993—Sheik Abdul Rahman and nine follower are arrested for a “Day of Terror” plot to bomb the United Nations, tunnels, a federal office building and the George Washington Bridge
§ March 1994—Rashid Baz kills 15 in a bus attack on the Brooklyn Bridge
§ November1995—Bombing of Saudi National Guard facility in Riyadh
§ June 1996—Al Khobar barracks are bombed killing 19 Americans.
§ February 1997—A Palestinian school teacher opens fire on the top of the Empire State Building
§ July 1997—Ghazi Abu Meezer is arrested in a plot to bomb the New York subway system.
§ August 1998—Bombings at U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam kill 214 and wound more than 4,000.
§ October 1999—Gameel El-Batouty crashes Egypt Air Flight 990 into the sea off Nantucket killing 217.
§ December 1999—Nineteen are arrested with plans to blow up the Radisson SAS hotel in Amman, Jordan during Christmas
§ December 1999—An alert customs agent arrests Ahmed Ressam before he can blow up a portion of Los Angeles international Airport around the 2000 celebrations.
§ October 2000—Bombing of the USS Cole kills 14 and wounds more than 40.
§ September 2001—3,000 are killed in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania.

Don’t forget Somalia as well.

Where was Mr. self-importance during all these acts? Where is the oracle of counter-terrorism and how can he explain that NOTHING short of a few cruise missiles were fired into tents for all these atrocities? Why did he wait 14 years to write a book? Where was the RESULT for this great mind of Richard Clark?

If he was such a heavyweight, why not write a book many years ago and not now? It’s been almost three years since 9/11 and it’s just now, months before election 2004 that Sixty Minutes and Simon and Schuster launch a blitz to discredit an administration that was in power for eight months when Mr. Clark has served since Lincoln?

Clark should be sent to Palestine and serve as the new HAMAS head-of-security. At the very least, sane American’s should picket anytime this pathetic weasel does a book event.

Incompetent or guilty—let your opinion be felt!


Brooks Sinks to New Low

He's at it again... The New York Times' most obvious pseudo intellectual now offers us this:

"One Nation, Enriched by Biblical Wisdom"

One nugget offered up by the Master of Fallacy in this little piece of doggerel:

"Religion didn't just make civil rights leaders stronger — it made them smarter."

In a nutshell (and in this case "nutshell" is a particularly apt word), Mr. Brooks wants us to believe that reading the Judeo-Christian Bible leads to wisdom. Oh, and, by the way, later in the same piece, he also recommends reading the Koran to improve reasoning skills.

For a few moments, I considered pointing out just how ridiculous this particular piece of low-IQ punditry is, but, after some reflection, I think I will let it fall on its own merits. I recommend that you read "One Nation Enriched by Biblical Wisdom". Then grab Deuteronomy and decide which transgressors of the law you should stone today-those who eat shellfish, perhaps?

Finally, let me quote Mr. Brooks one more time:

"Whether the topic is welfare, education, the regulation of biotechnology or even the war on terrorism, biblical wisdom may offer something that secular thinking does not — not pat answers, but a way to think about things."

Has anyone else noticed that over the past 500 years those who have most rigorously read and applied "biblical wisdom" have fragmented what was once a monolithic "Christendom" into over 2000 sects--each of which, strangely enough--informed by biblical wisdom, purports to be the actual "Truth", the "correct interpretation" of the Word of God, and each of which, generally regards other interpretations as, at the very least, worthy of ridicule?

When issues are complicated and require analysis and compromise, the least productive of all approaches is to introduce "divine wisdom". Whose divinity? Whose translation? Whose interpretation? Whose hatred and prejudices? As the very wise Robert A. Heinlein reminded us in one of his books over 40 years ago, "One man's religion is another man's belly laugh."

No, Mr. Brooks. Unless you are actually proposing a global war--the Christians against everyone else (with the Jews in the usual awkward sideline position)--you cannot argue that one side's "holy book" will help solve the problems. For even if you are wise enough, articulate enough, and persuasive enough to change a man's mind, improve his reasoning, open him to new ideas, you cannot change the ancient and immutable wisdom that has come from divine revelation. Men "informed" by their own notions of just what the "Word of God" is do not listen to one another and they do not, in the long run, tolerate dissent. No, they do just what the Palestinians and the Israelis are doing now--hate and kill.


Monday, March 22, 2004

Muslim Clerics on the Religious Rulings Regarding Wife-Beating

This would almost be funny .... but we all have been banished from the conjugal bed for more than one offense .... laughter at this is a sure ticket to wrist-fatique .... here's one for all the bleeding heart women out there who think there is no threat from the worldwide Islamic movement

By Steven Stalinsky & Y. Yehoshua*.

copyright MEMRI


On January 14, 2004, Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, the imam of the mosque of the city of Fuengirola, Costa del Sol, was sentenced by a Barcelona court to a 15 month suspended sentence and fined € 2160 for publishing his book 'The Woman in Islam.' In this book, the Egyptian-born Sheikh Mustafa writes, among other things, on wife-beating in accordance with Shar'ia law.

On pages 86-87, Mustafa states: "The [wife-]beating must never be in exaggerated, blind anger, in order to avoid serious harm [to the woman]." He adds, "It is forbidden to beat her on the sensitive parts of her body, such as the face, breast, abdomen, and head. Instead, she should be beaten on the arms and legs," using a "rod that must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused." Similarly, "[the blows] must not be hard." [1]

Mustafa noted in his book that the aim of the beating was to cause the woman to feel some emotional pain, without humiliating her or harming her physically. According to him, wife-beating must be the last resort to which the husband turns in punishing his wife, and is, according to the Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 34, the husband's third step when the wife is rebellious: First, he must reprimand her, without anger. Next, he must distance her from the conjugal bed. Only if these two methods fail should the husband turn to beating.

In his verdict, the judge said that Sheikh Mustafa's book contained incitement to violence against women, that today's society is completely different from society 1400 years ago, and that the sections of the book in which the sheikh wrote of wife-beating constitute a violation of the penal code and of women's constitutional rights. In his defense, Sheikh Mustafa's attorney argued that his client was not expressing his personal opinion, but only reiterating the writings of Islam from the 13th and 19th centuries. [2]

The book, which sold around 3,000 copies in Islamic cultural centers across Spain, was removed from the shelves. [3]

The following report will review the writings and statements of Muslim clerics and of other Islamic religious institutions that instead of condemning wife-beating, discuss it as a legitimate way of "disciplining" the wife, based on the Qur'an (4:34).

Sheikh Yousef Qaradhawi: 'It is Permissible For The Husband to Beat Her Lightly'
Sheikh Yousef Qaradhawi, one of the most influential clerics in Sunni Islam and head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, has advocated non-painful wife-beating.

In his 1984 book 'The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam,' he wrote:
"Because of his natural ability and his responsibility for providing for his family, the man is the head of the house and of the family. He is entitled to the obedience and cooperation of his wife, and accordingly it is not permissible for her to rebel against his authority, causing disruption. Without a captain the ship of the household will flounder and sink.

"If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored, and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts. In no case should he resort to using a stick or any other instrument that might cause pain and injury.Rather, this 'beating' should be of the kind which the Prophet (peace be on him) once, when angry with his servant, mentioned to him, saying, 'If it were not for the fear of retaliation on the Day of Resurrection, I would have beaten you with this miswak (tooth-cleaning stick)' [as reported by Ibn Majah and by Ibn Hibban, in his Sahih].

"The Prophet (pbuh) admonished men concerning beating their wives, saying 'None of you must beat his wife as a slave is beaten and then have intercourse with her at the end of the day.'

"It was reported to the Prophet (pbuh) that some of his Companions beat their wives, whereupon he said, 'Certainly those are not the best among you [as reported by Ahmad, Abu Daoud, and al-Nisai. Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim classify it as sound, as narrated by Iyas ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abu Dhiab].'

"Says Imam Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar, 'The saying of the Prophet (pbuh), 'The best among you do not beat,' could imply that beating wives is in general permissible. To be specific, one may beat only to safeguard Islamic behavior and if he (the husband) sees deviation only in what she must do or obey in relation to him. It is preferable to warn (her) or something of the sort, and as long as it is possible to achieve things through warning, any use of force is disallowed because force generates hatred, which is inimical to the harmony expected in marriage. Force is applied only when sin against Allah Ta'alah (masiyah) is feared. Al-Nasai has reported 'Aishah as saying, 'The Prophet (pbuh) never beat any of his wives or servants; in fact, he did not strike anything with his hand except in the cause of Allah or when the prohibitions of Allah were violated, and he retaliated on behalf of Allah.'

"If all these approaches fail, and the rift between the husband and wife deepens, the matter then devolves on the Islamic society for solution. Two individuals of good will and sound judgment, one from the wife's and one from the husband's side, should meet with the couple in order to try to resolve their differences. Perhaps the sincerity of their efforts may bear fruit and Allah may bring about reconciliation between the spouses." [4]

On the Al-Jazeera weekly program 'The Shar'ia and Life' of October 5, 1997, Al-Qaradhawisaid: "Beating is permitted [to the man] in the most limited of cases, and only in a case when the wife rebels against her husband… The beating, of course, will not be with a whip, a stick, or a board. The beating will be according to what the Prophet said to a servant girl who annoyed him on a particular matter, 'If it were not for fear of punishment in the Hereafter, I would have beaten you with this miswak.'

"Likewise, the beating must come only after admonishment, and expelling [the wife] from the bed [as is said in the Qur'an 4:34], 'Admonish them, leave them alone in their beds, and beat them.'

He also said: "Beating is not suitable for every wife; it is suitable for certain wives and for other wives it is not. There is a woman who cannot agree to being beaten, and sees this as humiliation, while some women enjoy the beating and for them, only beating to cause them sorrow is suitable…

"The Prophet said about those who beat their wives: 'Those are not the best among you.' The respectable and honest Muslim man does not beat his wife, and his hand is not accustomed to beating. If [the husband] beats [his wife] he must beat her in the way of which we spoke. He must refrain from beating her in sensitive places or on her face." [5]

In a Fatwa posted on, Qaradhawi said on the same matter: "It is forbidden to beat the woman, unless it is necessary, and she 'is in a state of rebellion' against the husband and flouts him. This is temporary discipline [ta'adib] that is permitted to him according to the Qur'an in exceptional circumstances, when other efforts of admonishing [the wife] have failed and removing her from the bed as Allah said: 'As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them pretexts (for annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).'[Qur'an 4:34] Despite this permission for the hour of necessity, the Prophet said: 'The good men from among you do not beat [their wives].'" [6]

Islamic Affairs Department of Saudi Arabia's Washington, DC Embassy: Men Have a Supervisory Authority because of Their Physical Advantages

According to the website of the embassy of Saudi Arabia's [7] Islamic Affairs Department (IAD), [8] wife-beating is permitted in accordance with Qur'anic verses and Hadiths used by the IAD to explain the rights a husband has over his wives: [9] "The husband's rights on his wife are greater than hers over him." Another source states, "Men have a supervisory authority on account of the physical advantage they possess…" [10] It is also stated, "When the husband calls his wife to his bed and she disobeys, and he spends the night in anger against her, the angels keep cursing her till the morning." [11] In addition, "If a woman dies while her husband was pleased with her," it is explained that "she will enter into Paradise." [12]

The IAD explains that the Qur'an [13] authorizes a husband to beat his "disobedient wife." Like many sources in modern Islamic history, the IAD tries – by basing its interpretation on Hadith – to explain this authority as limited in circumstances as well as in harshness (i.e. limited to use of small, non-harmful methods, such as beating with a toothpick). [14]

If a woman does not follow authority, the IAD explains at what point men are allowed to discipline her: "The maximum disciplining measure is limited by the following: a) It must be seen as a rare exception to the repeated exhortation of mutual respect, kindness and good treatment. Based on the Qur'an and Hadith, this disciplining measure may be used in the case of lewdness on the part of the wife or extreme refraction and rejection of the husband's reasonable requests on a consistent basis. Even then other measures such as exhortation should be tried first. b) As defined by the Hadith, it is not permissible to strike anyone's face, cause any bodily harm or even be harsh. What the Hadith qualified as dharban ghayra mubarrih, or light beating, was interpreted by early jurists as a (symbolical) use of the miswak." [15]

Prominent Muslim-American Leader: 'Beating Does Not Mean Physical Abuse'

Answering the question: "Does Islam allow wife-beating?" Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) stated: "It is important that a wife recognizes the authority of her husband in the house. He is the head of the household, and she is supposed to listen to him. But the husband should also use his authority with respect and kindness towards his wife. If there arises any disagreement or dispute among them, then it should be resolved in a peaceful manner. Spouses should seek the counsel of their elders and other respectable family members and friends to batch up the rift and solve the differences.

"However, in some cases a husband may use some light disciplinary action in order to correct the moral infraction of his wife, but this is only applicable in extreme cases and it should be resorted to if one is sure it would improve the situation. However, if there is a fear that it might worsen the relationship or may wreak havoc on him or the family, then he should avoid it completely."

According to Siddiqi, "The Qur'an is very clear on this issue. Almighty Allah says: ' Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband's absence what Allah would have them to guard. As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance); for Allah is most High and Great (above you all). If you fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers. If they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation; for Allah has full knowledge and is acquainted with all things. (4:34-35)'

"It is important to read the section fully. One should not take part of the verse and use it to justify one's own misconduct. This verse neither permits violence nor condones it. It guides us to ways to handle [a] delicate family situation with care and wisdom. The word 'beating' is used in the verse, but it does not mean 'physical abuse.' The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained it 'dharban ghayra mubarrih,' which means 'a light tap that leaves no mark.' He further said that [the] face must be avoided. Some other scholars are of the view that it is no more than a light touch by siwak, or toothbrush."

Siddiqi cites a Hadith to use caution when beating one's wife: "Generally, the Prophet (pbuh) used to discourage his followers from taking even this measure. He never hit any female, and he used to say that the best of men are those who do not hit their wives. In one Hadith he expressed his extreme repulsion from this behavior and said, ' How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then embrace (sleep with) her?' (Al-Bukhari, English Translation, vol. 8, Hadith 68, pp. 42-43)"

Siddiqi adds: "It is also important to note that even this 'light strike' mentioned in the verse is not to be used to correct some minor problem, but it is permissible to resort to only in a situation of some serious moral misconduct when admonishing the wife fails, and avoiding from sleeping with her would not help. If this disciplinary action can correct a situation and save the marriage, then one should use it." [16]

Saudi TV Show: Disciplining Wives and Children
Jasem Muhammad Al-Mutawah, an expert on family matters in Islam, hosts a show on Saudi Arabia's Iqraa TV. [17] In one episode, Al-Mutawa discussed wife-beating while holding a 10-foot pool cue which he said some couples keep in the home. The following are excerpts of one episode; to view in RealPlayer visit:

Al-Mutawah opened the show by explaining: "Imposing discipline within the family is the right of the husband towards his wife, as it is the right of the wife towards the husband. As has always been our custom, on every program we present stories from the home of the Prophet Muhammad and how these stories serve the topic of our program. All the Prophet Muhammad's wives united against him on the matter of meeting their material needs because they had asked for more money, and demanded to live a life of luxury, but the Prophet told them: 'I cannot; this is my material level and this is what I am capable of giving.' On this point the Prophet was resolute, but they insisted on receiving a raise.

"The Prophet, to discipline them, banished them (from his bed) for 30 days until 'Omar Ibn Al-Khattab intervened, to present to the Prophet the wives' desires. But the Prophet was insistent, and then 'Omar Ibn Al-Khattab said to the Prophet: 'Your wives have relinquished their demand'… How did the Prophet handle the matter? With wisdom and calmness. The Prophet did not handle the matter with a rod. We have a proverb that says what? The proverb says: The rod… Ah? The rod for whom? 'The rod is for the disobedient.' What do you think, is it true or not? This is a small rod. I want to take now the large rod… this is not even a rod… Look at this rod with me, look… look… Some husbands and wives keep such rods at home."

Al-Mutawah explains when using the rod is allowed and also on what types of wood they are made from: "I once heard someone say that whenever he has a problem at home he has a very long rod like this. The moment my wife makes a mistake towards me, what I do to her with this rod… We say, then, that the proverb, 'The rod is for the disobedient' is, in truth, a perception that is wrong. On the contrary: The rod destroys our life and our homes. We should solve our problems with dialogue, in truth, we must solve our problems, with mutual understanding because we are human, civilized people. Therefore, every problem in marriage, or every educational problem, we encounter we handle with mutual understanding… The Qur'an states: First of all guidance, advice, and admonition; then, banishment from the bed, and then 'beat them.' When the Qur'an presented this verse, it did not present it for all cases, but for one case out of all ways of female behavior – the case of disobedience. Let's assume that one man, his wife made a mistake, then he comes and says to her: 'I implement the Qur'an on you – advice, banishment, and beatings.' No, brothers, no, sisters… this is a misunderstanding of the religion. So, how should we deal with the other party when they behave with obstinacy and arrogance? How will we impose discipline and change the behavior?

"There is a wife with whom using hard words is useful, and there is a wife with whom it is not. There is a wife with whom using quiet, good words is useful, in contrast, there is a wife with whom if you use hard words her obstinacy will only increase, and thus the problem will get worse. In contrast, there is a wife with whom the situation is the opposite: If you use calm words with her, she will not grasp them, and the problem will continue… We all know that Allah has given authority to the man, including admonishing and guiding the wife in cases of disobedience, banishing her from the bed, and then – the beatings. What is your opinion on the matter?…"

Dr. Muhammad Al-Hajj, lecturer on Islamic faith at the University of Jordan (Amman) was a guest on the show. His opening statement discussed disciplining one's wife: "We in Islam see the family as an institution, an institution that must succeed. This institution has foundations, and it has the elements for its success. Allah gave the management of this institution to the man. This is the concept of guardianship. Guardianship in Islam does not mean repression, concerning which there are penal and moral laws. The issue is who directs this institution, because two people cannot drive a car – there must be one driver. Islam has given the wheel of this car, the car of the family, to the man. The verse discussing the handling of problems that may crop up in the family is included in the passage discussing guardianship: 'Men are the guardians of women,' and then Allah says, 'Admonish those of them on whose part you fear disobedience, and banish them from the beds, and beat them. Then, if they obey you, do not seek a pretext to hurt them.' The order that appears in this verse is a wise order. It is not possible to move to the second stage before the first stage, or to the third stage before the second. The wonderful thing in this verse is that it mentioned this solution for the case of disobedience."

The following are excerpts from the episode:

Guest: "We are not talking about a man imposing discipline every day, asking any little thing of her, and she refuses, and then he banishes her or beats her. Such a thing does not exist in Islam at all."

Host: "All right, doctor, what does 'disobedience' mean?"

Guest: "Yes, Allah said, 'Those on whose part you fear disobedience.' Disobedience is defiance, rebellion, doing deplorable and ugly things about which there is a consensus among the people that they are deplorable. Therefore, not every little transgression at home, such as, she cooked something he didn't want, is considered disobedience. This is not disobedience. Punishment is limited to cases of disobedience, and for instances of making this family into hell, and into an unnatural situation. Then, in order to handle this problem, in the case of the wife's disobedience and rebellion – there must be a cure for such instances – to this end, there is this progression. First, the moment there is fear of disobedience, and even before the disobedience itself happens, comes the stage of admonition: admonition by mentioning Allah, mentioning the rights of the couple, mentioning the continuation of the family and the children's future…"

Host: "And the admonition continues for a long time, not a day or two…"

Guest: "No, no. Obviously, the admonition cannot end in a day or two. It must continue for a significant period, during which all means of persuasion are exhausted."

Host: "The admonition must be done with words, or the [husband] can use a cassette, a video film, a book, a meeting, a course, a magazine…"

Guest: "All these means are included in the method of admonition, which can include also enticements through money or gifts…"

Host: "He can get her an Internet program, so she will learn…"

Guest: "He can remind her of matters concerning this world and the world to come. All these are included in this admonition. And if this wife continues in her rebelliousness…"

Host: "After a long time…"

Guest: "Yes, yes. After all these attempts at persuasion with gentle language, there is still danger of corruption for the family…"

Host: "And the wife continues in her rebelliousness…"

Guest: "And the wife continues in her rebelliousness, there comes another stage, and this is the stage of banishing her from the bed, which is aimed at giving her a sense that 'I am not happy.'"

Host: "Yes."

Guest: "And if she persists and he gives her another chance during this same period and she continues for months, and sometimes even for years, with her refusal and rebellion here is revealed the wisdom of Islam: another means must be introduced. This is the means of the not-hard beatings, and the condition 'not hard' appears in the texts, it is not an interpretation. It is said in the Hadiths of the Prophet that we are talking of 'not-hard' beatings…"

Host: "What is the difference between 'hard' and 'not-hard?'"

Guest: "Hard beatings are those that leave marks on the body or on the face. Thus, beating on the face is prohibited, because the face is a combination of the features of beauty, as it is said. It is forbidden to beat the face, it is forbidden to administer blows that leave fractures or wounds this is what our sages have said in their books."

Host: "Doctor, the Qur'anic verse directs the husband in how to deal with a disobedient wife while if the husband is disobedient, let us assume now the husband is the rebellious one, the husband does not listen, the husband is neglectful, and the husband… rebels! The wife does not have the right to treat the husband in accordance with the three steps stated by the Qur'an. The wife, as it has been written, is restricted to admonition and guidance. She cannot banish him from the bed, and she cannot beat him. Do you not find inequality in this?"

Guest: "No, I do not find inequality in this, because as I said from the outset, the ultimate responsibility for managing the institution of family is given to the husband and therefore when the wife encounters disobedience on the part of her husband, or negative deeds, there is no doubt that she must remark on them and express her dissatisfaction with these deeds; she can go to his friends, his relatives, or her relatives so that they will take care of the problem…"

Host: "You mean that there are other means she can use to handle the husband?"

Guest: "Many means. She can, uh… She can… uh… ask him to get treatment for his problem. All these means. "However, for the situation to get to the point of beating, for example, I think that it is a kind of corruption, if, say, the wife is the one punishing her husband using beatings, because in this there is aggression against (the husband's) rule and responsibility. Besides, Islam has spared her the need to use her hand to beat, in order to preserve the woman's femininity, honor, and morality."

Host: "Doctor, we thank you for the interview and for the good words we have heard from you."

Al-Mutawah ended the show with a detailed explanation of wife-beating and how to deal with Western criticism of such activity.

Host: "The interview with the doctor was most enjoyable, and it gave us some of the meanings, but I would like to add to the doctor's words the claims spreading in the West today according to which, 'You Muslims are not giving the woman her rights; how have you given the husband three means for dealing with (the wife) and not give the wife three means for dealing with the husband? Why can't the woman beat the man?! Why can't the wife banish the husband from bed?!' And I say to you that anyone who studies Islamic religious law – who said that the wife cannot banish the husband from the bed in Islamic law?! Who said that the woman has no right to beat the man?! Do you want me to give you a lesson in Islamic religious law? Read the Islamic religious law and you will see that Islamic religious law gave women this right. There is, therefore, equality. Besides, on the subject of disobedience, there is no doubt that we are speaking of exceptional cases, as we have shown. And this, by the way, is an issue of choice – it is not compulsory. That is, even if the wife of a particular husband is disobedient, is he obliged to admonish and advise, to banish her from the bed, or to beat her? No, he is not obliged. If he says: 'By Allah, I have a brilliant idea that is not included in the three steps,' will we tell him: 'You cannot carry it out?' No, it is not prohibited. He may carry it out. Islamic religious law, therefore, comes to guide; the law comes to protect the family and stability… Therefore, although Islamic religious law permitted beatings, the sages came and discussed the subject of beatings. The most extreme of them was Ibn 'Abbas. I want to show you something that I keep in my pocket. Allah be praised, look… Ibn 'Abbas said that the husband must beat his wife with a handkerchief. Imagine this together with me. Can one beat with rods like we saw at the beginning of the program? No! He beats using a handkerchief! This is the interpretation of Ibn 'Abbas, which is an extreme interpretation. Another interpretation of the sages is that he beat his wife using toothpicks. This is because the point of the beatings is not revenge.

"If the beatings were for the purpose of revenge, the husband would sin. The point of the beatings is to convey a message: 'Oh so and so, I am not happy,' 'Oh so and so, behave yourself, behave like you should.' This is the lesson. Therefore, why did Ibn 'Abbas say that she should be beaten with a handkerchief? Can any of you believe this? Westerners are now coming to us complaining about the matter of beatings. All right, it doesn't happen among us that a wife dies because of husband's beating. And if something like this does happen in our society, it is considered rare, and all the newspapers talk of it, true or not? In contrast, the latest U.N. statistics from 1999-2000 say that every 12 seconds in the U.S. a wife is beaten by her husband and in some instances these beatings reach the point of killing the wife. Therefore, when the Westerners bring up complaints against us regarding our affairs, why shouldn't we be strong and bring up complaints against them regarding their affairs? Despite the existence of the verse in the Qur'an, no cases of death have been recorded in our society, and if there were, then these were rare cases. In contrast, they are without verse, religious law, or law, and despite this, every 12 seconds a wife is beaten by her husband! What is better?! A man must know… Therefore, when we have a dialogue with the West, we must talk with them based on foundations, based on culture, based on thought. That is one thing. Second, when they come and say to us that Islam gave the wife the right that her husband will banish her from the bed, but the wife does not banish the husband – Who said so?!

"The wife, in two instances, has the right to banish her husband from the bed. The first instance is if he asks to have sex with her in a place forbidden by religious law, let's say the anus and the second instance is if he behaves towards the wife in an offensive manner during sex. Then she is permitted to banish him from the bed. And who said that the wife has no right to beat her husband? This too is permitted her. This appears in a very important study by Dr. Muhammad Said Ramadan Al-Bouti. He said that Islam protects the soul of the woman, defends her biological structure. Her build is weaker than the man's and if Islam gave the wife the right to beat her husband – by Allah, her husband would break her! True or not? The husband with his build and muscles – the wife cannot handle him.

"But Islam gave the woman the right that the husband will be beaten by someone on her behalf. The husband is beaten by a man, and then the battle is waged between two men, and not between a man and a woman. Between two men. Therefore, if the husband scorned the wife, humiliated her, or treated her disrespectfully, the wife can go to court, and then the judge rules the wife her right. And so, if the wife wants the husband to be beaten, he will be beaten! But he will be beaten by court order, and then the battle is waged between the judge and the husband, and not between the husband and the wife, within the home. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, the matter must be discussed realistically and logically. If husband and wife … even in one of the psychology conferences, when they presented this Qur'anic verse, there was a psychiatrist who converted to Islam because of this verse. He said: 'This is the first time that I see, in the holy book of a monotheistic religion, a social and psychological problem being handled by the Qur'an.' We all know that some men are afflicted with a mental illness known as 'sadism' and some women are also afflicted with a mental illness known as 'masochism.' What is the treatment for these mental illnesses? Beatings! He must treat her harshly! Even one of the sages claimed that this verse descended for those afflicted with this mental illness. Therefore, a husband married to a wife afflicted by this illness, let's say sadism – well, let him beat her because the beatings, for her, are a cure."

Study of Egyptian Government TV: Viewers Believe 'Women Deserve to be Beaten'

The May 22-28, 2003 issue of Al-Ahram Weekly featured an article by Lina Mahmoud on violence against women shown on Egyptian television. The article focused on the results of a media monitoring project conducted by the New Woman Research Center (NWRC) and the Media House (MH), an independent production company. According to the article, the project, which monitored 18 television dramas [18] shown on Egyptian national television during Ramadan 2002, is the first of its magnitude to study the portrayal of violence against women in Egyptian media. The following are excerpts from the article as it appeared in English:

"The group counted the number of cases of violence shown on the programs. The study was conducted during the month of Ramadan because it is the month with the highest television viewer rates. According to Nalwa [sic] Darwish [of the NWRC], 'Audiovisual media has a great influence in shaping the collective consciousness of Egyptians. The extremely high illiteracy rates in Egypt, among women in particular, give media an uncontested role in dictating people's behaviour and ideas…'

"The report of the findings of the study shows that all of the programs reviewed last Ramadan included scenes of violence against women. 'The problem is that those who perpetuate the violence are the heroes of the episodes, are those who are closest to the hearts of the audience and hence have the largest impact on them,' said the report.

"The report also addressed the ways viewers react to violence. Just as disturbing as the portrayals of violence against women is the lack of public outrage to them. In many cases, observers responded with either indifference or approval, making such aggression seem commonplace or justifiable.

"The majority of the women portrayed in the television episodes were housewives, followed by a large number of students. Unemployed individuals comprised 5.1 percent of the characters. The report argued that this is not an accurate representation and that the actual unemployment rate for women is much higher… Many of the soap operas featured educated characters, particularly university graduates, ignoring the fact that half of the Egyptian population is illiterate.

"Beating was the most prevalent mode of physical violence against women in the dramas, accounting for 42 percent of all physical aggression. Other forms of violence included killing (13.1 percent) and forms of sexual abuse. Incidents of verbal and sexual harassment were found in many of the shows and withholding sex from wives was portrayed as a form of punishment.

"In all of the cases of violence against women, 41.9 percent of the 'heroines' displayed active resistance, whereas 31.1 percent accepted the abuse. This resistance was usually verbal in form, although one woman reacted by killing herself and another became physically paralyzed. Further, 67.3 per cent of the men who acted violently against women displayed no remorse. Thirty percent felt guilty and shameful.

"Most of the women in the programs played negative roles. The few women who were portrayed positively were shown as naïve or harmless wives, lovers, and mothers.

"Darwish expressed her uneasiness at the results of the report. 'In 12 serials, there were 500 violent episodes. This means there are one or two scenes of violence in each part of a serial. This is too much. Moreover, not a single series was free of violence against women.'

"After the completion of the report, a documentary was filmed in which people were questioned about their reactions to violence in television dramas. 'Women deserve to be beaten,' responded one viewer. 'A husband should beat his wife if she does something wrong,' said another. One woman said that 'men are so cruel to women. They should be merciful.' A young man commented that beating a woman makes her 'more stubborn.'

"The meeting convened by the NWRC and MH [in which the study results were released] posed several important questions. What is required of the media? Should the media portray violence against women? Should television programs condemn violence against women or reflect it as it is? Most everyone seemed to agree, however, that television should stop stereotyping women negatively and avoid showing violence against women in a positive light." [19]

Muslim-Canadian Professor Explains: "There Are Cases, However, In Which A Wife Persists In Bad Habits"

Dr. Jamal Badawi, professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and a cross-appointed faculty member in the Departments of Religious Studies and Management, has also explained that Islam allows beating ones wife. Badawi explains which circumstances permit "striking" a disobedient wife:

"If the problem relates to the wife's behavior, the husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. In most cases, this measure is likely to be sufficient. In cases where the problem persists, the husband may express his displeasure in another peaceful manner, by sleeping in a separate bed from hers. There are cases, however, in which a wife persists in bad habits and showing contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage, at least in some cases. Such a measure is more accurately described as a gentle tap on the body, but never on the face, making it more of a symbolic measure than a punitive one.

Dr. Badawi elaborates on six instances regarding the permissibility of wife-beating as follows:

"a) It must be seen as a rare exception to the repeated exhortation of mutual respect, kindness and good treatment. Based on the Qur'an and Hadith, this measure may be used in the cases of lewdness on the part of the wife or extreme refraction and rejection of the husband's reasonable requests on a consistent basis (nushuz). Even then, other measures, such as exhortation, should be tried first.

" b) As defined by Hadith, it is not permissible to strike anyone's face, cause any bodily harm or even be harsh. What the Hadith qualifies as dharban ghayra mubarrih, or light striking, was interpreted by early jurists as a (symbolic) use of siwak! They further qualified permissible 'striking' as that which leaves no mark on the body. It is interesting that this latter fourteen-centuries-old qualifier is the criterion used in contemporary American law to separate a light and harmless tap or strike from 'abuse' in the legal sense. This makes it clear that even this extreme, last resort, and 'lesser of the two evils' measure that may save a marriage does not meet the definitions of 'physical abuse,' 'family violence,' or 'wife battering' in the 20th century law in liberal democracies, where such extremes are so commonplace that they are seen as national concerns.

" c) The permissibility of such symbolic expression of the seriousness of continued refraction does not imply its desirability. In several Hadiths, the Prophet (pbuh) discouraged this measure. Here are some of his sayings in this regard: 'Do not beat the female servants of Allah'; 'Some (women) visited my family complaining about their husbands (beating them). These (husbands) are not the best of you.' In another Hadith the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: 'How does any one of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?'

"d) True following of the Sunnah is to follow the example of the Prophet (pbuh) who never resorted to that measure, regardless of the circumstances.

"e) Islamic teachings are universal in nature. They respond to the needs and circumstances of diverse times, cultures and circumstances. Some measures may work in some cases and cultures or with certain persons but may not be effective in others. By definition, a 'permissible' act is neither required, encouraged, or forbidden. In fact it may be to spell out the extent of permissibility, such as in the issue at hand, rather than leaving it unrestricted or unqualified, or ignoring it all together. In the absence of strict qualifiers, persons may interpret the matter in their own way, which can lead to excesses and real abuse.

"f) Any excess, cruelty, family violence, or abuse committed by any 'Muslim' can never be traced, honestly, to any revelatory text (Qur'an or Hadith). Such excesses and violations are to be blamed on the person(s) himself, as it shows that they are paying lip service to Islamic teachings and injunctions and failing to follow the true Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh)." [20]

*Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of MEMRI; Y. Yehoshua is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.



[2] In a similar incident, a Turkish state-funded religious foundation published retired Turkish cleric Kemal Guran's 'The Muslim's Handbook'(2000) which recommended wife-beating but warns "not to strike the women's face, but to hit her gently elsewhere." At the time of the book's release, Turkish parliamentarian Ferda Cilalioglu called it "scandalous" and "insane." (, August 13, 2000).

[3] Roz Al-Yousef (Egypt), January 30, 2004.

[4] Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf. The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam. Kuwait: International Islamic Federation of Student Organization, 1984. p.205-206.

[5] Al-Jazeera (Qatar), October 5, 1977.

[6] Islam Online,

[7] The Saudi Gazette reports that t he issue of wife-beating is a pressing one among Muslims in the Middle East as well. 300 women recently initiated a lawsuit against their husbands for "brutal beating and unjustified physical abuse. Saudi Gazette, March 3, 2004.

[8] MEMRI Special Report No. 23, November 26, 2003, ' The Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. '

[9] In Saudi Arabia today, women are denied certain rights and privileges afforded to male citizens. Women are denied the right to drive a car, to obtain a state identification without the consent and presence of a male guardian, or to travel outside the country without the permission a male guardian.

[10] IAD website: "Rights Dictated by Nature: Rights of Both Spouses on Each Other."

[11] IAD website: "Rights Dictated by Nature: Rights of Both Spouses on Each Other." The IAD cites Qur'anic verse 4:129.

[12] IAD website: "Rights Dictated by Nature: Rights of Both Spouses on Each Other."

[13] The IAD cites Qur'an 4:34.

[14] IAD website: "Women in Islam."

[15] IAD website: "Gender Equity in Islam."

[16] Islam Online,, June 25, 2003/July 25, 2003.

[17] IQRAA Television (Saudi Arabia), Program on Imposing Discipline in the Family: Hosted by Jasem Muhammad Al-Mutawah, Expert on Family Matters, May 9, 2002,

[18] "Among the serials were Asa'd Ragul fi Al-Alam (The Happiest Man in the World), Al-Atar wa Al-Saba'a Banat (The Herbalist and His Seven Daughters), Qassem Amin, Ayna Qalbi (Where is My Heart?), Amira fi Abdeen (A Princess in Abdeen), together with six films shown on the two main Egyptian channels, Channel One and Channel Two. Among these films were Al Hafid (the Grandson), Al Zawga 13 (Wife Number 13)."

[19] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), May 22-28, 2003, See MEMRI Special Dispatch 522, June 13, 2003, 'Egyptian Television's Portrayal of Excessive Violence Against Women.'

[20] Islam Online,, June 25, 2003/July 25, 2003.


Not Amnesty but Attrition The Way to go on Immigration.

from National Review

By Mark Krikorian

The issue of what to do about illegal aliens living in the United States is often presented as a Hobson’s choice: either launch mass roundups to arrest and deport 9-million-plus people, or define away the problem through legalization.

The second option – amnesty – is the one President Bush chose in his January 7 speech on immigration. It also underlies many congressional proposals, from the McCain-Kolbe-Flake and Hagel-Daschle bills in the Senate to the House Democratic leadership’s proposal unveiled in late January.

Few among the political elite entertain any alternative. At a recent panel discussion on the president’s immigration proposal, Margaret Spellings, the president’s chief domestic policy adviser, reacted with a demure chuckle to the suggestion that we enforce the law.

The commentariat is more explicit. Not content to politely ignore the notion of enforcing the law, the Wall Street Journal, for instance, has flatly asserted that it’s not possible, a “fantasy” of the “extreme,” “nativist,” and “restrictionist” Right. Meanwhile, the Manhattan Institute’s Tamar Jacoby wrote in The New Republic of “futile law enforcement” and how “the migrant flow is inevitable.”

Fortunately for America there is a third way, between the politically impossible and disruptive approach of mass roundups on one hand, and the surrender of our sovereignty by the open-borders Left and its libertarian fellow-travelers on the other. This third way is attrition, squeezing the illegal population through consistent, across-the-board law enforcement to bring about an annual reduction in the illegal population rather than the annual increases we have seen for more than a decade. Over a few years, the number of illegal aliens would drop significantly, shrinking the problem from a crisis to a manageable nuisance.

Of Velvet Fists This isn’t just a wonkish daydream. There is significant churn in the illegal population, which we can use to our advantage. According to a 2003 INS report, thousands of people stop being illegal aliens each year. From 1995 to 1999, an average of 165,000 a year went back home; the same number got some kind of legal status, about 50,000 were deported, and 25,000 died, for a total of more than 400,000 people each year subtracted from the resident illegal population. The problem is that the average inflow of new illegal aliens was nearly 800,000, swamping the outflow and creating an average annual increase of close to 400,000.

The solution, then, is to increase the number of people leaving the illegal population and to reduce the number of new illegal settlers, so that there is an annual decline in the total number. This is a measured, Burkean approach to the problem. It doesn’t aspire to an immediate, magical solution to a long-brewing crisis, but rather helps us back out of an untenable situation that we helped create through our inattention to the law.

This begs the natural question: “But aren’t we already enforcing the law?” If not, as a Wall Street Journal editorial has asked, “Then what is it we’ve been doing for 20 years now?” The answer lies in the old Soviet joke: “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

Since 1986, Congress has passed muscular immigration laws and then made sure that they were not enforced. In that year, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was enacted, which traded an illegal-alien amnesty for a first-ever ban on the employment of illegal aliens. The point was to demagnetize the strong pull of good jobs – the main reason illegals come here in the first place.

More than 2.7 million illegals got legalized up front, with promises of tighter enforcement in the future. But the law itself was hobbled such that it became unworkable. Only if employers had a means of verifying the legal status of new hires against Social Security or INS databases could the law succeed – but Congress refused to require the INS to start developing such a system. Instead, employers were expected to do the verifying themselves, by examining a bewildering array of easily forged documents, and then they were threatened with discrimination lawsuits by the Justice Department if they looked too hard. It would be hard to imagine a system more obviously intended to fail.

Eventually, even this handicapped setup was sabotaged. After catching flak for workplace raids, the INS in 1998 decided to try a new approach to enforcing the hiring ban. Instead of raiding individual employers, Operation Vanguard sought to identify illegal workers at all the meatpacking plants in Nebraska through audits of personnel records. The INS then asked to interview those employees who appeared to be unauthorized – and the illegals ran off. The procedure was remarkably successful, and was meant to be repeated every two or three months until the whole industry was weaned from dependence on illegal labor.

Local police were very pleased with the results, but employers and politicians vociferously criticized the very idea of enforcing the immigration law. Nebraska’s governor Mike Johanns organized a task force to oppose the operation; the meat packers and the ranchers hired his predecessor, Ben Nelson, to lobby on their behalf; and, in Washington, Sen. Chuck Hagel made it his mission in life to pressure the Justice Department to stop. The INS took the hint, and all but gave up on enforcing the hiring ban nationwide.

Nor is this the only example of tough-looking laws that go unenforced. In 1996, Congress passed a large immigration bill, which included a provision that sought to punish long-term illegal residence by barring illegals from future re-entry for three or ten years, depending on the length of the initial unlawful stay. Its scope was limited in any case, since it applied only to people who actually left the country and then tried to return, but it was denounced at the time by the usual suspects as “radical” and “draconian.” But an examination of the law’s results shows that, in its first four years, the bar prevented fewer than 12,000 people from re-entering the United States.

Even the expansion of border enforcement follows this pattern of ineffectuality. The Border Patrol has doubled in size since 1996, accounting for the lion’s share of increased resources for enforcement. Its 10,000 agents are better equipped and doing a better job than ever before. But since, as any agent will tell you, the Border Patrol alone can’t control illegal immigration, there’s little danger that such increased capacity will actually curtail the flow. Again, a policy that appears tough, but isn’t – a velvet fist in an iron glove.

Networking Why does this happen? It is a manifestation of the yawning gap between public and elite opinion on immigration. The laws need to look tough, with promises of robust enforcement, to satisfy public concerns. But immigration’s relatively low political importance for most people ensures that the elite preference for loose enforcement will be satisfied in the end.

But isn’t the elite right in this case? Isn’t immigration inevitable? Hardly. No one wakes up Paraguay and decides, “Today, I will move to Sheboygan!” Immigration can take place only if there are networks of relatives, friends, and countrymen directing immigrants to a particular place. And these networks are a creation of government policy, either through proactive measures or through permitting networks to grow through non-enforcement of the law.

As an example, look at the Philippines and Indonesia. Both are populous, poor countries on the other side of the world, and yet the 2000 Census found about 19 times more Filipino immigrants in the United States than Indonesians, 1.4 million versus 73,000. Why? Because we ruled the Philippines for 50 years as a colony and maintained a major military presence there for another 50 years, allowing extensive networks to develop, whereas we have historically had little to do with Indonesia.

Granted, interrupting such networks is harder than creating them, but it is not impossible – after all, the trans-Atlantic immigration networks from the turn of the last century were successfully interrupted, and atrophied completely. And, to move beyond theory, the few times we actually tried to enforce the immigration law, it worked – until we gave up for political reasons.

During the first several years after the passage of the IRCA, illegal crossings from Mexico fell precipitously, as prospective illegals waited to see if we were serious. Apprehensions of aliens by the Border Patrol – an imperfect measure but the only one available – fell from more than 1.7 million in FY 1986 to under a million in 1989. But then the flow began to increase again as the deterrent effect of the hiring ban dissipated, when word got back that we were not serious about enforcement and that the system could be easily evaded through the use of inexpensive phony documents.

As I’ve written in these pages before, when we stepped up immigration enforcement against Middle Easterners (and only Middle Easterners) in the wake of 9/11, the largest group of illegals from that part of the world, Pakistanis, fled the country in droves to avoid being caught up in the dragnet.

And in an inadvertent enforcement initiative, the Social Security Administration in 2002 sent out almost a million “no-match” letters to employers who filed W-2s with information that was inconsistent with SSA’s records. The intention was to clear up misspellings, name changes, and other mistakes that had caused a large amount of money paid into the system to go uncredited. But, of course, most of the problem was caused by illegal aliens lying to their employers, and thousands of illegals quit or were fired when they were found out. The effort was so successful at denying work to illegals that business and immigrant-rights groups organized to stop it and won a 90 percent reduction in the number of letters to be sent out.

War of Attrition We know that when we actually enforce the law, eroding the illegal-immigration population is possible. So, what would a policy of attrition look like? It would have two key components. The first would include more conventional enforcement – arrests, prosecutions, deportations, asset seizures, etc. The second would require verification of legal status at a variety of important choke points, to make it as difficult and unpleasant as possible to live here illegally.

As to the first, the authorities need to start taking immigration violations seriously. To use only one example, people who repeatedly sneak across the border are supposed to be prosecuted and jailed, and the Border Patrol unveiled a new digital fingerprint system in the mid ‘90s to make tracking of repeat crossers possible. The problem is that short-staffed U.S. attorneys’ offices kept increasing the number of apprehensions needed before they would prosecute, to avoid actually having to prosecute at all.

It would be hard to exaggerate the demoralizing effect that such disregard for the law has on the Homeland Security Department’s staff. Conversely, the morale of immigration workers would soar in the wake of a real commitment to law enforcement. We’ve already seen a real-world example of this, too. I met with deportation officers in a newly formed “fugitive operations team” in Southern California who, unlike other immigration personnel I have spoken with, were actually excited about their jobs. They still have gripes, but the clear political commitment to locating and deporting fugitive aliens communicates to them that their work is genuinely valued by their superiors all the way up to the White House.

Other measures that would facilitate enforcement include hiring more U.S. Attorneys and judges in border areas, to allow for more prosecutions; passage of the CLEAR Act, which would enhance cooperation between federal immigration authorities and state and local police; and seizing the assets, however modest, of apprehended illegal aliens.

But these and other enforcement measures will not remove most of the illegal population – the majority of illegals will have to be persuaded to deport themselves. Unlike at the visa office or the border crossing, once aliens are inside the United States, there’s no physical place, no choke point at which to examine whether someone should be admitted. The solution is to create “virtual chokepoints” – events that are necessary for life in a modern society but are infrequent enough not to bog down the business of society.

This is the thinking behind the law banning the employment of illegal aliens – people have to work, so requiring proof of legal status upon starting a job would serve as such a virtual choke point. As discussed above, in the absence of a verification mechanism, such a system couldn’t succeed. But the president signed into law at the end of last year a measure to re-authorize and expand the verification pilot programs that immigration authorities have been experimenting with since the mid 1990s.

Building on this fledgling system, we need to find other instances in which legal status can be verified, such as getting a driver’s license, registering an automobile, opening a bank account, applying for a car loan or a mortgage, enrolling children in public schools, and getting a business or occupational license.

An effective strategy of immigration law enforcement requires no booby traps, no tanks, no tattoos on arms – none of the cartoonish images invoked in the objections raised routinely by the loose-borders side. The consistent application of ordinary law-enforcement tools is all we need. “Consistent,” though, is the key word. Enforcement personnel – whether they are Border Patrol agents, airport inspectors, or plainclothes investigators – need to know that their work is valued, that their superiors actually want them to do the jobs they’ve been assigned, and that they will be backed up when the inevitable complaints roll in.

And, finally, this isn’t root-canal Republicanism, bitter medicine we swallow for the greater good. Enforcement of the immigration law may not be popular among the elite, but actual voters across the political spectrum all are for it. As Alan Wolfe wrote in One Nation, After All, the difference between legal and illegal immigrants “is one of the most tenaciously held distinctions in middle-class America; the people with whom we spoke overwhelmingly support legal immigration and express disgust with the illegal variety.”

If only our political leadership felt the same way.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Sunday, March 21, 2004

Directed Energy Weapons--By Dr. Kevin G. Coleman

No this is not a science fiction movie script. We are not talking about the phasers/disruptors from Star Trek nor the turbo laser from Star Wars. We are talking about the next evolution in weapons technology. Directed-energy Weapons (DEW). This new addition to the United States already vast arsenal promises to change the face of warfare. Multiple defense agencies have research and development programs currently underway. These programs are (at various stages of technological evolution), have already demonstrated this new class of weapon. DEW scientists performing in the field of directed-energy weapons place a strong emphasis on integrating and transitioning these technologies into rapid deployment systems and platforms.

Directed-energy weapons are among the latest high-tech arms of the 21st century. They hurt and kill with electromagnetic particles or waves. Simply put, these weapons direct a beam, particles, an electromagnetic wave or a combination of the three that has a concentrated effect on the target. The speed-of-light attack and fast destruction of targets are both unique capabilities of these new weapons. DEW systems are variable in nature thus allowing both lethal and non-lethal applications of force. Besides obvious targets like people and buildings these microwave weapons can be aimed at computers and other electronic devices disrupting their functions or even rendering them inoperable. They have strong physical and psychological effects and can be used in military and civil applications. Probably the most interesting characteristic of these weapons is that they can be deployed and used in such a way that almost no one would know except the victims and the offenders. These weapons could be devastating in the hands of terrorists. They are in essence the perfect terrorist weapon.

Definition: Directed-Energy Weapon: (DEW) A system using directed-energy primarily as a means to damage or destroy enemy equipment, facilities, and personnel. The military is interested in developing systems involving the use of directed-energy weapons, devices, and countermeasures to either cause direct damage or destruction of enemy equipment, facilities and personnel, or to determine, exploit, reduce, or prevent hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum through damage, destruction, and disruption.

Types of these weapons include:
Ø Lasers Weapons
Ø High Power Microwave Weapons
Ø Ultra-Wideband Weapons
Ø Charged Particle Beams

Some weapons of this type are already in testing for deployment as battlefield anti-missile weapons. As with any weapons systems research of this nature, information as to the current state of research and application of DEW is a closely guarded secret. However, rumors of a Directed Energy Weapon that creates a plasma burst have recently began to surface. In addition, one individual speculated that a recent collapse of a structure in Turkey was the result of a Directed-energy Weapon Assault.

The principle drawbacks of directed weapons are the high power consumption and limited range especially in certain atmospheric conditions. Another draw-back is the current production costs which are estimated at being extremely high. The future use of these weapons in non-lethal systems seem limited due to the generally perceived cruel nature of victim incapacitation. In this early stage of development little information is known about the long term implications of these weapons on humans.
If any skepticism remains about the future of DEW, it should be noted that the US Air Force's recently published New World Vistas study dedicated an entire volume to directed-energy weapons. The USAF is just one organization that has focused much of its attention on DEW technologies. They seem to be focusing on two specific areas called HEL and HPM.
The development of directed-energy weapons seems to be tightly coupled with the next evolution in warfare strategy, tactics and supporting technology. As these first-generation weapons yield to second- and third-generation systems they will become smaller, more powerful, use less energy and be less expensive to produce. The battlefield will truly enter a new era where electromagnetic waves and particles replace the bullet and the missile.
Conclusion The science surrounding directed-energy weapons is very well known with numerous fielded applications. The ability of scientists to create commercially viable directed-energy weapons system that is deployable across multiple platforms is all that remains. As this technology evolves over the next decade it will become more and more pervasive throughout the military and possibly entering into law enforcement.

About the author:
Kevin G. Coleman, Ph.D. is a Kellogg School of Management Executive Scholar and a Certified Professional Consultant to Management. He is a Senior Fellow with the Technolytics Institute, an executive think-tank and consultancy. An author and visionary, he brings significant insight into the global technology environment of tomorrow. During his career he has consulted in more than a dozen countries. Working with the leaders of some of the world’s largest and most prestigious companies, Dr. Coleman has assisted organizations in achieving breakthrough growth and performance by leveraging new technology. He has personally briefed executives from 15 of the 50 largest companies in the world and nearly 400 CEOs worldwide. He is a strategic advisor to multiple companies and holds several board positions, including a two year term on the board of the National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC), the organization responsible for commercialization of all government sponsored research. In addition, he has briefed both members of the House and the Senate on issues surrounding technology. Currently he serves on the Science & Technology Advisory Panel of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, one of our nation’s leading research institutions and he was recently appointed to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Limbach Entrepreneurial Center as a Strategic Advisor.


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