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Muslim Gambles

 
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:56 pm    Post subject: Muslim Gambles Reply with quote

Muslim Gambles:

The Orientalist
Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life
Hardcover
By Tom Reiss


Quote:
See also Guantanamo Gamblers and the mythical link between Internet gambling and terror.





Quote:
Russian influence swept into the region in the early nineteenth century, as the czar's armies conquered the Caucasus, and the Azeris broke with conservative Shiites of Iran and became "Europeans." Umm-El-Banu Asadullayeva, who left Baku in 1922 and wrote her memoirs in Paris under the name Banine, recalled that in her own "fanatic Muslim family," the women cared mainly for clothes and jewelry, furniture from Paris and Moscow, and gambling (her father, a farmer, became a millionaire when oil was found under his fields). Her aunts, "fat, bearded brunettes," smoked, gossiped all day long, and "played poker with a passion that was unequalled." She dryly summed up the atmosphere in the turn-of-the-century Baku of her childhood:

Gambling is forbidden in the Koran -- all of Baku played cards and huge sums of money changed hands. Strong alcoholic drinks, such as Vodka and Cognac, replaced wine, which was condemned by the Prophet, under the pretense that these beverages were not technically forbidden. The reproduction of the human face was likewise prohibited -- photographers were nevertheless swamped by customers. Musims allowed themselves to be photographed in profile, or from the front, standing before a painting of a park, or a draped curtain. (From the chapter, Revolution, at pgs. 10-11)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Globe and Mail
Hamas refuses to gamble on Jericho casino
The government will not reopen the Oasis, once an economic lifeboat for thousands in a region of crippling unemployment[/color]
By Carolynne Wheeler
Sat., Feb. 25/06


Quote:
Many of the employees, who were put on indefinite layoff, harboured the faint hope that some the violence would stop and the casino would reopen.

Until, that is, the ascent of a democratically elected Islamic government in the Palestinian Authority's legislature.

"The casino used to be used for things against Islam, such as gambling and drinking alcohol, and taking revenue for such things that go against Islam is unacceptable," said Ali Romanin, 35, the Hamas parliamentarian for Jericho.

At its height, the casino, a multi-million-dollar project between the Palestinian Authority and Casinos Austria, drew in as many as 3,000 Israelis and foreigners a day for black, poker and slot machines, and made an estimated $1-million a month. Although accusations of corruption swirled, its employees were well paid for the West Bank: A bartender could earn $1,500 (U.S.) a month, with tip; a cleaner, $500.

With the casino came international financing for Jericho to improve roads, install traffic lights and upgrade hospitals. Restaurants and souvenir shops followed, ready to cash in on the crowds of Israelis escaping the gambling ban at home. (-- p. A3)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cold Terror
How Canada Nurtures and Exports
Terrorism Throughout the World

Hardcover
By National Post reporter Stewart Bell




Quote:
A few months later, on February 18, 2003, Ayub sat in a courtroom in Tel Aviv and explained that he was on a mission from God. He depicted himself as an Islamic soldier, dedicated to the downtrodden Muslims and willing to accept his punishment.

"My point of view on the world is that I protect the oppressed," he said. "I want to save the people from oppression. And always, whoever takes part in these operations goes to prison. I did not come for money or for dealing in drugs. I came to do something that is holy for me."

"Who are the oppressed you wanted to help here?" the judge asked. "Who are they?"

"The Muslims are oppressed," he replied. "The operation may be with the Palestinians or with others.

"You want to know the reason I came here [Israel]? I came here by an order from God. This is my religion. To defend the oppressed."

The judge challenged Ayub's noble self-image, reminding him that he was part of a hijacking plot that had killed more than sixty people. Even if he had not intended to kill, he should have known that there could be fatal mistakes.

[b]"A mistake is from God," Ayub shot back. "If innocents die, this is luck."[/b]

...On January 29, 2004, the same a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus in Jerusalem, Israeli guards removed Ayub from his cell and put him on a plane to Germany. There, Ayub and 27 others were handed over to Hezbollah in exchange for the release of Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli servicemen. That night, Ayub landed at Beirut airport. Smiling broadly, he walked across the tarmac and embraced Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah. He was a free man again. Before he left his jail cell in Israel, he told a Canadian consular official he was thinking about returning to Canada. (From Chapter 3, Partisans of God, at pgs. 144-145)


More about Fauzi Ayub and Canada's apparently lax immigration hurdles (for criminals, that is):

Quote:
Fauzi Ayub, a genuine Hezbollah terrorist, didn't even have to lie to get into Canada. In the 1980s, Hezbollah sent Ayub to Romania to hijack an Iraqi airliner. But Ayub was arrested before he could carry out his assignment, leaving it to a second group to execute this terrorist act, in which 62 people died when the plane crashed.

After Romania released him, Ayub came to Canada in the late 1980s with his family, but went to Israel in 2001 to foment terrorist attacks there. He now sits in an Israeli prison, accused of belonging to an elite Hezbollah unit. And when asked in an Israeli court why he didn't tell the Canadian authorities about his terrorist past in Romania, he honestly replied: "They didn't ask me." (From Canada continues its love affair with terrorists by Stephen Brown, posted May 30/03 at FrontPage magazine.com)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Yorker
Magazine Archived on DVD
The Master Plan
For the new terrorists of jihad, Al Qaeda is just the beginning.
By Lawrence Wright
Sept. 11/06


Quote:
More Guantanamo Gamblers.

More Gambling Warrors.

More on the terrifying odds of aU.S. attack on Iran.





Quote:
Even as members of Al Qaeda watched in exultation while the [color=red]Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon burned on September 11, 2001, they realized that the pendulum of catastrophe was swinging in their direction. Osama bin Laden later boasted that he was the only one in the group's upper hierarchy who had anticipated the magnitude of the wound that Al Qaeda inflicted on America, but he also admitted that he was surprised by the towers' collapse. His goal, for at least five years, had been to goad America into invading Afghanistan, an ambition that had caused him to continually raise the stakes - the simultaneous bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in August, 1998, followed by the attack on an American warship in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, in October, 2000. Neither of those actions had led the United States to send troops to Afghanistan. After the attacks on New York and Washington, however, it was clear that there would be an overwhelming response. Al Qaeda members began sending their families home and preparing for war.

... Fouad Hussein is a radical Jordanian journalist who met Zarqawi and Maqdisi in 1996, when, he writes, "a career of trouble led me to Suwaqah Prison." He had published a series of articles criticizing the Jordanian government, and, in response, the authorities locked him up for a month. Since Zarqawi and Maqdisi were being held at the same jail, Hussein sought out interviews with them; eventually Zarqawi served him tea while Maqdisi talked politics. Zarqawi mentioned that he had been in solitary confinement for more than eight months and had lost his toenails as a result of being tortured. The next week, Zarqawi was sent to solitary again, and his followers staged a riot. Hussein became the negotiator between the prisoners and the warden, who relented - an episode that cemented Hussein's standing among the radical Islamists.

In 2005, Hussein produced what is perhaps the most definitive outline of Al Qaeda's master plan: a book titled Al Zarqawi: The Second Generation of Al Qaeda. Although it is largely a favorable biography of Zarqawi and his movement, Hussein incorporates the insights of other Al Qaeda members - notably Saif-al-Adl, the security chief.

It is chilling to read this work and realize how closely recent events seem to be hewing to Al Qaeda's forecasts. Based on interviews with Zarqawi and Adl, Hussein claims that dragging Iran into conflict with the United States is key to Al Qaeda's strategy. Expanding the area of conflict in the Middle East will cause the U.S. to overextend its forces. According to Hussein, Al Qaeda believes that Iran expects to be attacked by the U.S., because of its interest in building a nuclear weapon. "Accordingly, Iran is preparing to retaliate for or abort this strike by means of using powerful cards in its hand," he writes. These tactics include targeting oil installations in the Persian Gulf, which could cut off sixty per cent of the world's oil supplies, destabilizing Western economies. (emphasis added) (-- pgs. 48, 56-57)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paris 1919
Six Months that Changed the World
Paperback
By Frostback history champ Margaret Macmillan




Quote:
At the end of November 1918, a dark, handsome young man who claimed with some justification, to speak for the Arabs boarded a British warship in Beirut bound for Marseille and the Paris Peace Conference. Feisal, descendant of the Prophet and member of the ancient Hashemite clan, was clever, determined and very ambitious. He was also dazzling. No matter that he had been brought up in Constantinople; he was everyone's image of what a noble desert Arab should be. Lansing, normally so prosaic, thought of frankincense and gold. "He suggested the calmness and peace of the desert, the meditation of one who lives in the wide spaces of the earth, the solemnity of thought of one who often communes alone with nature." Allenby, the tough old British general, saw "a keen, slim, highly strung man. He has beautiful hands like a woman's; and his fingers are always moving nervously when he talks," With "the cavalry of St. George" (gold sovereigns), British weapons and advisers, Feisal had led an Arab revolt against the Turks.

The British had gambled in backing him, and in so doing they had given undertakings that sat uneasily with that other set of promises in *Sykes-Picot. (From Chapter 27, Arab Independence, pg. 387)


Quote:
*Note: "The agreement is seen by many as a turning point in Western/Arab relations, creating the animosity that we see today, as the Kurds under Russia, the Shiites under France, and the Sunnis under Britain, broke out into mass regional war, provoking the Treaty of Versailles, which led to WWII," according to Dr. Jane Wykowsky of Harvard. It negated the promises made to Arabs[2] through T.E. Lawrence for a national Arab homeland in the area of Greater Syria, in exchange for their siding with British forces against the Ottoman Empire. (From Wikipedia)


Lawrence of Arabia
DVD




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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Immortal Game
A History of Chess or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science, and the Human Brain
Hardcover
By David Shenk




Quote:
Even with its broad resonance, though, chess was not immune to controversy. From the very first exposure to the game, there had been a serious and recurring question as to whether chess was allowable under Islamic law. The Koran - the sacred text of revelations received by Muhammad - did not mention chess by name, but did explicitly outlaw the use of both "images" and "lots." The prohibition of images was aimed at eliminating any sort of idol worship, and was instituted broadly against any directly representational art or sculpture. Lots included gambling of any kind. Since chess play at the time quite often involved wagers - indeed, one ancient story from India portrayed young players betting their own fingers in game, cutting them off on the spot after a loss, cauterizing the wounds, and continuing to play - many first- and second-generation Muslims considered the game altogether tainted and plainly illegal. Others regarded chess as having no purpose other than recreation, and thus falling into the category of official disapproval (though not strict prohibition).

But chess did have a purpose, a deadly serious one, according to many proponents at that time. It not only broadly sharpened the mind but also specifically trained war strategists for battle. "There is nothing wrong in it," proclaimed Muhammad's second successor, the pious and asustere Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab. "It has to do with war."

Eventually, a general consensus found the game acceptable in the Islamnic world under certain condtions:

no wagering
no interference with religious duties
no displays of anger or improper language
no playing in public
no representational pieces

This last item came out of the Koran's prohibition against images. ... (House of Wisdom, Chess and the Muslim Renaissance, pgs. 30-32)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Journey of the Jihadist
Inside Muslim Militancy
Hardcover
By former Fulbright scholar Fawaz Gerges,
now teaching at swish Sarah Lawrence College




Quote:
...
(Sayyid) Qutb
published an article in Al-Risala in October 1946 called "The American Conscience and the Palestine Question," in which he railed against America's "treachery" and "duplicity". This important document, which has never been translated into English or much examined by those in the West, became a philosophical cornerstone of Islamist hostility toward Israel and its Western allies.

We finally discovered the U.S. conscience that had captured the hearts of many people in the East, who considered it to be different from the British conscience and the French conscience and those of the rest of Europe...Many had been deceived by the American conscience because they had less contact with America than with Britain, France, and Holland. But America's role in Palestine exposed the deceptiveness of the American conscience that gambles away the future of other people and their human rights to purchase a token of votes in the presidential elections...This is America exposed for all to see. This is Truman revealing the truth about the American conscience, which is the same as every Western conscience - unscrupulous, and only fools trust it.

... It would be convenient to believe that only the extremists followed Qutb's lead in their hostility toward Israel and its allies. The truth is that Arabs - not just Islamists - thought that American politicians had stabbed the Palestinians in the back, sacrificing them to placate the powerful Jewish community believed to dominate American political life. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shaped the perception of Arabs and Muslims toward America far more than anything else. On this score there exist no differences between Islamists and secularists, leftists and conservatives; all blame America for tipping the balance in favor of the Jewish state. (-- pgs. 160-161)


Quote:
More on those Impossible Odds.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the Pain of Others
Hardcover
By Susan Sontag


Quote:
More Sontag.





Quote:
Thirteen Russian soldiers in bulky winter uniforms and high boots are scattered about a pocked, blood-splashed slope lined with loose rocks and the litter of war: shell casings, crumpled metal, a boot that holds the lower part of a leg...The scene might be a revised version of the end of Gance's J'accuse, when the dead soldiers from the First World War rise from their graves, but these Russian conscripts, slaughtered in the Soviet Union's own late folly of a colonial war, were never buried. A few still have their helmets on. The head of one kneeling figure, talking animatedly, foams with his red brain matter. The atmosphere is warm, convivial, fraternal. Some slouch, leaning on an elbow, or sit, chatting, their opened skulls and destroyed hands on view. One man bends over another who lies on his side as if asleep, perhaps encouraging him to sit up. Three men are horsing around: one with a huge wound in his belly straddles another, lying prone, who is laughing at a third man, on his knees, who playfully dangles before him a strip of flesh. One soldier, helmeted, legless, has turned to a comrade some distance away, an alert smile on his face. Below him are two who don't seem quite up to the resurrection and lie supine, their bloodied heads hanging down the stony incline.

Engulfed by the image, which is so accusatory, one could fatasize that the soldiers might turn and talk to us. But no, no one is looking out of the picture. There's no threat of protest. They are not about to yell at us to bring a halt to that abomination which is war. They haven't come back to life in order to stagger off to denounce the war-makers who sent them to kill and be killed. And they are not represented as terrifying to others, for among them (far left) sits a white-garbed Afghan scavenger, entirely absorbed in going through somebody's kit bag, of whom they take no note, and entering the picture above them (top right) on the path winding down the slope are two Afghans, perhaps soldiers themselves, who, it would seem from the Kalashnikovs collected near their feet, have already stripped the dead soldiers of their weapons. These dead are supremely uninterested in the living: in those who took their lives; in witnesses - and in us. Why should they seek our gaze? What would they have to say to us? "We" - this "we" is everyone who has never experienced anything like what they went through - don't understand. We don't get it. We truly can't imagine what it was it was like. We can't imagine how dreadful, how terrifying war is; and how normal it becomes. Can't understand, can't imagine. That's what every soldier, and every journalist and aid worker and independent observer who has put in time under fire, and had the luck to elude the death that struck down others nearby, stubbornly feels. And they are right. (Closing paragraphs, pgs. 124-126)


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