An insightful article 'The Enemy Within' from TIME magazine discusses the roots and propagation of Islamic extremism within Western countries. Are muslims feeling increasingly alienated from racial segregation within western society? How far should each side of the racial divide go to bridge that gap and what are the compromises? What can governments do to reduce segregation? Should governments tighten control of immigration and hence the influx of radical muslims with no capacity for western values and democracy?TIME Europe
: 'The July 7 suicide bombings in London provided a deadly reminder to European governments of the chilling reality they confront: the adherents of the most radical forms of Islam are found not just on the Pakistan-Afghan border or the violent streets of Iraq. Instead, in Europe, the enemy is within, made up of young men born and raised in working-class neighborhoods throughout Britain, the banlieues of Paris, and the gritty industrial towns of the Netherlands and Belgium. Most Muslims in Europe, of course, are not radicals, and deplore the violence committed in Islam's name. But with disturbing frequency, deeply alienated young Muslims across the Continent, men like Peter Cherif, are finding spiritual and political homes in the most radical, anti-Western strains of Islam — becoming homegrown jihadis, determined, apparently, to bring the fight to the countries in which they were raised."
"While the precise number of European jihadis is impossible to pinpoint, counterterrorism officials across the Continent believe the pool of radicals is growing. A 2004 estimate by the French police found that around 150 of the country's 1,600 mosques and prayer halls were under the control of extremist elements; in a study of 1,160 recent French converts to Islam, 23% identified themselves as Salafists, members of a sect that has been associated with violent extremism. In the Netherlands, home to 1 million Muslims, a spokesman for the Dutch intelligence service says it is believed as many as 20 different hard-line Islamic groups may be operating. Some are simply prayer groups adhering to radical interpretations of the Koran, while others may be organizing and recruiting for violence. In Britain, authorities say that as many as 3,000 veterans of al-Qaeda training camps over the years were born or based within its borders.
What explains the proliferation of Europe's homegrown radicals? Interviews by Time correspondents with dozens of Muslims across Western Europe reveal consistent answers as to why so many are responding to the call of extremism. Some lack a sense of belonging in European societies that have long struggled to assimilate new immigrants from the Islamic world. Many, in particular younger Muslims, suffer disproportionately from Europe's high-unemployment, slow-growth economies. Others are outraged over the bloodshed in Iraq and the persistent notion that the West is waging an assault on Islam itself. “There's a spreading atmosphere of indignation among normal Muslims that is echoing among the younger generation,” says a French investigator with a decade of antiterror experience.
It's echoing loudly, in part because the anger is amplified by 21st century technology. In the past, the alienated would simmer in relative isolation, unable to connect or communicate with those who shared their anger. The Internet has changed that. Critical to the rise of generation jihad has been the ease with which its members can communicate with each other and peruse controversial websites like Tajdeed.net, run by Saudi dissident and London resident Mohammed al-Massari. While his other English site hosts what he calls “philosophical discussions,” the Arabic site shows gruesome videos of U.S. and British troops being blown up by Iraqi insurgents, and beheadings of kidnap victims. Al-Massari says he cannot control what is posted there. These days, the very existence of such sites alarms the British government. Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the wake of the summer bombings, vowed to crack down on “specific extremist websites.”
"It's a critical question: how do second-generation European Muslims define themselves? Many say they feel a part neither of the country of their birth, nor of their parents' heritage. That some often live on the dole, unable to find work, only enhances their sense of estrangement. The attitude of Riad, a 32-year-old French citizen who has been unemployed since 2002, is all too common. Sitting in a café in the Lyons suburb of Vénissieux, he says, “They say we are French, and we would like to believe that as well. But do we look like normal French people to you?” His friend Karim, 27, insists they are discriminated against because of their long beards. “Who will give us a job when we look like this? We have to fend for ourselves and find a way out.”
That lack of connection to their native societies can be aggravated by extremists. Zaheer Khan, a 30-year-old British Muslim who grew up in Kent in southeast England, says his own experience was fairly common among Muslims of his generation. He was drawn to radical Islam while in college in the mid-1990s, he says. The Wahhabi and Salafist recruiters, he says, “would tell you that things like taking out car insurance is against Islamic principles, or voting — this is haram, forbidden. Slowly, the disengagement [from British society] was there. You didn't say, 'Let's explore what it means to be living in Britain.' This didn't come up.”
The feelings Khan had back then — though still devout, he has rejected radical Islam — are wide-spread among second-generation European Muslims. “The problem is that they have no real roots,” says Dominique Many, a lawyer for one of the Muslim Frenchmen taken into custody by French officials on suspicion of volunteering to fight against U.S. forces in Iraq. “In Tunisia, they are considered foreigners. In France, they are considered foreigners. This is the new generation of Muslims.”"
Read the full article at Time.com.
Please Shoot Me, I'm Iranian
That's the label that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just pasted on his countrymen's backs. And like a bad American high school movie, jocks Bush, Blair and the entire football team will duly proceed to do some ass-kicking. I'm not quite sure what he was smoking just before his speech, but he is definitely worthy of an autobiography now followed closely by the 'Idiot's Guide to Getting Invaded'
- During a meeting with protesting students at Iran's Interior Ministry, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad quoted a remark from Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, that Israel "must be wiped out from the map of the world."
The president then said: "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism," according to a quote published by Iran's state news outlet, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
1) Pursue nuclear weapon's programme....check
2) Denounce the West....check
3) Incite racism or anti-semitism....check
4) Denounce the West....check
5) Make reference to 'God' to muster Islamic extremist supporters...check
6) Denounce the West....check
Yes Mr Ahmadinejad deserves a pat on the back. Because even Saddam wasn't as stupid as to publicly announce to the world his desire to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. In fact, I find it quite uncanny that the Iranian President has adopted a '3-in-1' image of recent leaders whom have gained much attention in the world. His comments make him the Kim Jung Il of the Middle East. Racism and genocide (or intention of) makes him the next Saddam Hussein. And look where that got him; in a hole under Iraq hiding from American forces, not to mention his picture of him in the British tabloids wearing nothing but his unmentionables. And then his "God-willing" speech implying support of terrorism makes him the next Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda derivative.
The comments come as so unbelieveable and disgusting to some that I believe some politicians are still having a hard time believing if the Iranian President just said that. I wonder if their government will quickly release a formal statement of apology with their tail between their legs, or continue down this path that the President has chosen. The latter would definitely spell 'biting the bullet' for Iran which will then follow Afghanistan and Iraq in becoming America's 50-something state. It's almost as if.....
as if he's taunting America and the rest of the world, "Come on you pussies! Come kick my ass if you can
!" Obviously Mahmoud Ahmedinejad doesn't know what a "wedgy" feels like.UPDATE
: Iran has its tail between its legs
. Although I'm skeptical the world can easily turn their backs as if nothing ever happened now that Iran has sort of flashed their cards and true sentiments of Israel while re-affirming their UN commitments. Time will tell...
Haha...oh sorry were you being serious?
Just as I predicted, Ashlee Simpson's hair was just as fake as her authenticity to sing live. So with the release of her new album 'I Am Me', like most pop "artistes", she came with a new look. Entertainment Weekly also reviews her sophomore release
and just as I expected, it got a C-. The popular trend of adolesent girls abandoning a college education for a career in the pop industry only seems to be popping out 'musical biographies' about themselves, not music. That is probably quite evident from Simpson's latest album title.Entertainment Weekly: The title is also an extension of her shtick. Sure, she screws up, doesn't always sing in key or dance well, and can't decide on her hair color. But that's okay, because she's a regular person, just like you and me! You have a problem with that?Not surprisingly, an air of defensiveness and self-pity hangs over Simpson's second album. "Beautifully Broken" ("It seems like yesterday that my world fell from the sky") and "Catch Me When I Fall" allude to life after her post-Saturday Night Live lip-synch train wreck, even if the wound was self-inflicted. In "L.O.V.E.," she implores "all my girls" to gather 'round for support; in "Dancing Alone," she asserts that "it's my life, I'm doing fine.""Hollywood sucks you in, but it won't spit me out," she semi-snarls in "Boyfriend," which finds Simpson rhyming "for sure" and "my tour," certainly two phrases of equal importance in her universe.But who is this "me," anyway? Little Ashlee was, of course, never the "bad-ass girl" she claimed to be on her debut, 2004's gangly "Autobiography," which proved definitively that ersatz punk was the new middle-of-the-road pop."I Am Me" does at least confirm that she's a producer's dream: a singer of no discernible personality who can be altered to suit the demands of the marketplace. With its shameless knockoffs of Gwen Stefani (the cheerleader bop of "L.O.V.E."), U2 (the stadium-rock throb of "Dancing Alone"), and Fiona Apple (the piano ballad "Catch Me When I Fall"), "I Am Me" practically amounts to a NOW tribute album. Every song feels like a retread of some hit you've heard before, somewhere.
Medical science should really classify blonde hair as a disease. Symptoms include low
knowledge and excessive use of the word "whateverrr!" Ashlee exclaims during an interview, presumably in defence of her Saturday Night Live lip-synching fiasco,"It's like, I'm real - I promise!"New York (AP): "There's always going to be that divide when it comes to pop music," says Craig Marks, editor-in-chief of Blender magazine, which is putting Simpson on its December cover. "Certain segments of the audience are always going to be distrustful of music that they feel is not authentic. If you get all caught up in notions of realness and authenticity, then Ashlee is going to strike you as being girlish ... and not serious."Those "certain segments" felt vindicated when the wheels fell off the Simpson machine on "Saturday Night Live." In an endlessly replayed moment, Simpson was preparing to perform, microphone at her waist, when a track started blaring her voice singing "Pieces of Me" -- which she had already sung earlier. The mortified Simpson tried to play it off with a hokey dance, only adding to the embarrassment.In an instant, Simpson became the nation's favorite pinata -- another Milli Vanilli pseudo singer who couldn't hack it live. A Web site petition demanded a refund for her album; she was booed at halftime of the Orange Bowl college football championship.
In partnership with the people who brought you Gene Simmons' 'Rock School'.
Due to Health and Safety issues for the dinosaurs, celebrities Britney Spears, Abi Titmus, Pamela Anderson and several others have been excluded from the list of participants due to silicone allergies of some dinosaurs. Nonetheless, we still guarantee wholesome, quality celebrities* for your viewing entertainment.*Includes previous Big Brother participants. Anyone who wasn't a celebrity before taking part in this show surely will be after. For 2 months anyway...
: Some alternative promos. C4 was so impressed, they immediately offered to sign us up for a second season, Park of Triassic Dinosaurs
, pending successful cloning of Triassic dinosaurs on the Leech's secret little island of course.
It's all the goodiness of Reality shows in one.... minus the bad aftertaste of their celebrity existence after.
Why I dislike modern music
While my disdain for certain types of popular music, even some pretentious rock/punk bands, and most certainly chinese/japanese/korean (all oriental) pop music, might seem overly critical to the typical radio-follower, Agagooga's easily eclipses mine and comprehensively describes why modern music sucks....to him anyway.BreathingSome singers (usually female ones) seem to take pride in breathing (loudly) as much as they can in between notes, anywhere they want. Whether this is due to:1) a lack of talent2) stylistic flair3) a genuine lack of breath because when they're supposed to be breathing, they choose instead of mutter or shout random words (heavy metal bands are especially fond of this)is unknown, but either way it sounds horrible.Case in point: Whitney Houston singing in an extract from "When You Believe". The bolded asterisks represent each loud breath taken by Whitney.Similar-sounding songsPerhaps it is just me, but for some reason I think that the Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life" and "I Want It That Way" sound very similar, and for some time I had difficulty distinguishing between the two. Moving to more objective measures of similarity, 'Quit playing games' and 'I want it that way' use the same drum machine, and have practically the same beat programming.Other artistes with similar sounding songs: Michael learns to rock and Britney Spears.Music Videos and fans' short attention spanInvented to counter the increasingly short attention spans of pop music fans, people in music videos prance around, stare at the camera and generally act like idiots. Especially bad are the music videos by Britney "Big Fake Boobs" Spears.Frames from Gunther and the Sunshine Girls' "Ding Dong Song". What lesbians necking and groping each other's breasts has to do with touching Gunther's Tralala, I don't know. Maybe it makes them more hot for him.During live performances, the ever-changing images present in music videos are not available to sate the audience's cravings for action and movement, so to compensate for this partially, artistes sometimes hire dancers to prance around in the background, dazzle audiences with frequent changes between various glitzy and impractical costumes (see Chinese pop concerts by female artistes), smash guitars or otherwise liven up the atmosphere.
Repetitive, meaningless lyrics and soundsMany song writers endow their songs with simplistic, meaningless, and/or just ridiculous lyrics. Some are overly fond of certain words: "heart", "apart", "fire", "desire" and "dream".Example: S.H.E's superstarOthers do not even bother to take that effort and instead either write in an abundance of "ooo"s, "yeah yeah yeah"s and other such noises, or repeat the same few words over and over again throughout the song.Case in point: The starting of Fantasia Barrino's "I believe", where she goes: "Oh... Ohhhhhh... Oh..."Listen to the WMA file (16s: 48kb)Another example: The refrain in Eamon's "Fuck It" where he goes:Oh ohUh huh yeahOh ohUh huh yeahOh ohUh huh yeahOh ohUh huh yeah
Read more gripes
with modern music by Agagooga.
You need to be based in the UK, but...
...But I need to vent my spleen, so who gives a shit. Here is my new advertising campaign for C4. It's a well-established format, so they will have no trouble using it.
A SELECTION OF CELEBRITY TALKING HEADS APPEAR IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS. THEY TALK TO THE CAMERA.
Jamie Oliver: Outlaw Big Brother, right, or better still, dump it on those gullible digital TV types. That'll show 'em. Pukka.
Teri Hatcher: Make it compulsary to show new episodes of The Simpsons, at least on Friday nights.
Jon Snow: Instead of counting down the Top 100 of everything, just for a change, put all their money into some decent programming. Then, after a few months, do a countdown of the best shows on C4 and see if you can even scrape together a Top Ten.
Jimmy Carr: Only use me in case of emergency. Better still, give me a two years extended vacation. I have presenter fatigue, and the viewers are sick of me. Anyway, I need to use another 500 Christmas crackers, otherwise I'll have no jokes. Call it "research".
One of the people from Lost: The thing I'd most like Channel Four to do? Carry a public service announcement the next time that they are going to show cricket, so we can evacuate the country. Ditto Big Brother.
One of the less famous actresses from Desperate Housewives: Explain what the fuck those Pizza Hut commercials that I have to endure when The Simpsons is on are all about. Then ban them, and petition that somebody fires the people responsible.
Dermot O'Leary: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP SHOWING FRIENDS FOR FIVE MINUTES. THE FILM IS NOT ABOUT TO SPONTAENEOUSLY COMBUST. IT'S DRIVING ME INSANE.
That old guy off the cricket: Combine Will and Grace, Just Shoot Me, The King of Queens and Queer Eye For The Straight Guy into one condensed five minute show, so that anybody who likes the sound of cats squealing can have the full experience, while the rest of us can turn the TV on without our senses being abused.
Gordon Ramsey: Feed that **** **** from You are What you Eat some ******* baked beans and shove a ******* rocket up her ****. If that doesn't change her facial expression nothing ******** will. ****** **** ******
Moody looking film star: Have the cast of Hollyoaks round up and shot.
That twat from Bo Selecta: The thing I'd most like them to do is reassess those ads where all the talking heads spout complete shit for five minutes. Now, go and make some bloody programmes.
How to talk to a liberal (if you must)
While browsing through Borders bookstore today, I came across Ann Coulter's series of books including Slander and her latest book How to Talk to a Liberal (if you must). All seemed to have a strikingly similar front cover. Perhaps it was the contrast of her blonde hair on everything else that was just a waste of good paper and trees that would provide the much needed oxygen for our future generations. Yet, I felt compelled to pick up her latest piece of work and read it in more detail. All this talk, however bad, of this right-wing blonde had somewhat created a hype for me personally that I almost contemplated buying the book just to see for myself why this woman yields so much respect just because she isn't afraid to step on anyone's toes.
Unfortunately (or not), $31.25 was quite a turn-off just
to find out.
"I am often asked if I still think we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. The answer is: Now more than ever!
" - Ann Coulter (How to Talk to a Liberal)