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Archive for December 31st, 2010

“Why Shariah?” (Noah Feldman, quoted at CFR), “Islam’s Double Standard” (Arthur Frederick Ides) and {No Feminine Nouns at} the Michigan Family Forum’s home (Brian Snavely)

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The idea for this post began with the first and third posts, found recently.  To put a context, we needed to hear the women’s parts as well — as they are remarkably absent in the other ones.

The “But First, Four Women” post — well I just felt I needed to put their voices out in public before continuing with this one.

Because time is short now, I will post links and wish a happy new year, for those on this calendar, and don’t do anything foolish if you are on the “outs” with the family at this time of year.

Another inspiration for this post was watching a travelog by PBS’s Rick Steves, on the customs of Christmas (in Europe and elsewhere) combined with a trip to Iran, and watching the men walking around western style, and the women, with their hairs covered, plus his response to them.

We need to be more sensitive to other cultures and histories (MOST people have some “other” to relate to, even people with two or three or more backgrounds in their immediate parentage, I would bet (I wasn’t blessed with that…).  Because we live somewhere.  I have noted with distress that when too many cultures feel themselves “other” it’s easy enough to demonize women in their own, as we saw in the last post when a former Muslim tried to speak about human rights at some liberal — in fact, Ivy League– universities and a college.  I think “Now they call me Infidel” should be required reading:  a religious culture in reaction to perceived secularism and corruption (as if there were none within its ranks) is going to become more adamant, more stringent, and often more dangerous.  this is why we had checks and balances, and separation of powers.

With technology, these are easy to erase, and have been.  We need to address this.  Technology delivers ideas, and rhetoric.  The technical divide between rich and poor absolutely still exists, and affects the overall climate we live in.

Understand that I’m not too familiar with these sites myself, but believe they are worth posting.


Why Shariah?


March 17, 2008
New York Times Magazine

Last month, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a nuanced, scholarly lecture in London about whether the British legal system should allow non-Christian courts to decide certain matters of family law. Britain has no constitutional separation of church and state. The archbishop noted that “the law of the Church of England is the law of the land” there; indeed, ecclesiastical courts that once handled marriage and divorce are still integrated into the British legal system, deciding matters of church property and doctrine. His tentative suggestion was that, subject to the agreement of all parties and the strict requirement of protecting equal rights for women,** it might be a good idea to consider allowing Islamic and Orthodox Jewish courts to handle marriage and divorce.

**This is kind of like the “fatherhood” groups giving a token nod towards “domestic violence” aspects — which I refuse to support any more.  It’s like scotch-taping a gaping crack in the wall, and sanitizes the situation.  This is where such DV agencies have sold women out, precisely, and particularly in allowing certain practices in the courts which have become the HOW of our losing custody.  Because due process, facts & evidence, were eliminated.

Then all hell broke loose. From politicians across the spectrum to senior church figures and the ubiquitous British tabloids came calls for the leader of the world’s second largest Christian denomination to issue a retraction or even resign. Williams has spent the last couple of years trying to hold together the global Anglican Communion in the face of continuing controversies about ordaining gay priests and recognizing same-sex marriages. Yet little in that contentious battle subjected him to the kind of outcry that his reference to religious courts unleashed. Needless to say, the outrage was not occasioned by Williams’s mention of Orthodox Jewish law. For the purposes of public discussion, it was the word “Shariah” that was radioactive.

View full text of article.

ANOTHER ONE, same site, a “BACKGROUNDER article.” Recommended reading:

Islam: Governing Under Sharia
(aka shariah, shari’a)

Toni Johnson, Senior Staff Writer
Lauren Vriens

Updated: November 10, 2010


Sharia, or Islamic law, influences the legal code in most Muslim countries. A movement to allow sharia to govern personal status law, a set of regulations that pertain to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and custody, is even expanding into the West. “There are so many varying interpretations of what sharia actually means that in some places it can be incorporated into political systems relatively easily,” says Steven A. Cook, CFR senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies. Sharia’s influence on both personal status law and criminal law is highly controversial, though. Some interpretations are used to justify cruel punishments such as amputation and stoning as well as unequal treatment of women in inheritance, dress, and independence. The debate is growing as to whether sharia can coexist with secularism, democracy, or even modernity.

What is Sharia?

Also meaning “path” in Arabic, sharia guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings. It is derived primarily from the Quran and the Sunna–the sayings, practices, and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. Precedents and analogy applied by Muslim scholars are used to address new issues. The consensus of the Muslim community also plays a role in defining this theological manual.

Sharia developed several hundred years after the Prophet Mohammed’s death in 632 CE as the Islamic empire expanded to the edge of North Africa in the West and to China in the East. Since the Prophet Mohammed was considered the most pious of all believers, his life and ways became a model for all other Muslims and were collected by scholars into what is known as the hadith. As each locality tried to reconcile local customs and Islam, hadith literature grew and developed into distinct schools of Islamic thought: the Sunni schools, Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanafi; and the Shiite school, Ja’fari. Named after the scholars that inspired them, they differ in the weight each applies to the sources from which sharia is derived, the Quran, hadith, Islamic scholars, and consensus of the community. The Hanbali school, known for following the most Orthodox form of Islam, is embraced in Saudi Arabia and by the Taliban. The Hanafi school, known for being the most liberal and the most focused on reason and analogy, is dominant among Sunnis in Central Asia, Egypt, Pakistan, India, China, Turkey, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. The Maliki school is dominant in North Africa and the Shafi’i school in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Yemen. Shia Muslims follow the Ja’fari school, most notably in Shia-dominant Iran. The distinctions have more impact on the legal systems in each country, however, than on individual Muslims, as many do not adhere to one school in their personal lives.

Controversy: Punishment and Equality under Sharia

Marriage and divorce are the most significant aspects of sharia, but criminal law is the most controversial. In sharia, there are categories of offenses: those that are prescribed a specific punishment in the Quran, known as hadd punishments, those that fall under a judge’s discretion, and those resolved through a tit-for-tat measure (ie., blood money paid to the family of a murder victim). There are five hadd crimes: unlawful sexual intercourse (sex outside of marriage and adultery), false accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse, wine drinking (sometimes extended to include all alcohol drinking), theft, and highway robbery. Punishments for hadd offenses–flogging, stoning, amputation, exile, or execution–get a significant amount of media attention when they occur. These sentences are not often prescribed, however. “In reality, most Muslim countries do not use traditional classical Islamic punishments,” says Ali Mazrui of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies in a Voice of America interview. These punishments remain on the books in some countries but lesser penalties are often considered sufficient.

Despite official reluctance to use hadd punishments, vigilante justice still takes place. Honor killings, murders committed in retaliation for bringing dishonor on one’s family, are a worldwide problem. While precise statistics are scarce, the UN estimates thousands of women are killed annually in the name of family honor (National Geographic). Other practices that are woven into the sharia debate, such as female genital mutilation, adolescent marriages, polygamy, and gender-biased inheritance rules, elicit as much controversy. There is significant debate over what the Quran sanctions and what practices were pulled from local customs and predate Islam. Those that seek to eliminate or at least modify these controversial practices cite the religious tenet of tajdid. The concept is one of renewal, where Islamic society must be reformed constantly to keep it in its purest form. “With the passage of time and changing circumstances since traditional classical jurisprudence was founded, people’s problems have changed and conversely, there must be new thought to address these changes and events,” says Dr. Abdul Fatah Idris, head of the comparative jurisprudence department at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Though many scholars share this line of thought, there are those who consider the purest form of Islam to be the one practiced in the seventh century.

Sharia vs. Secularism. . . .

Another article states how this just might work out in practice.  (Again, a google find).  Its dealing also with the intense anti-homosexuality laws reminds me of the Ugandan situation as sponsored by some right-wing evangelical organizations based in the US, which it seems I did blog on earlier (N.A.M.E., Rick Warren, WAIT, others), or perhaps I just read, and didn’t post.  these are the megachurch reform the country and get the grants-guys that have been practicing on populations overseas, and inappropriately so, it seems.  But (more on topic), whoever this man is, here is the anecdotal narrative of these theories in practice:

Islam’s Double Standard: the evil of Shari’a law

Islam has never believed in nor sanctioned equality, human rights, or civil rights from its inception in the seventh century to this day.

This is the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, while her lover received twenty lashes.  Initially her sentence was commuted to hanging after international protests.  She awaited her fate, sharing cell number four with 25 other women–all awaiting execution.

Court records claim that her crime was adultery and merited the death penalty, but her testimony gives another reason. She claimed that she was attempting to find some happiness in a loveless marriage.

Initially, Sakineh was given 99 lashes for her so-called crime. The unmarried man, known as Nasser, was not treated as harshly, and the man who accompanied Sakineh was treated relatively lightly.    Nasser received 40 lashes. The second man, who had accompanied Sakineh for safety sake, received 20.    The Iranian theocracy was not satisfied.  They demanded blood.

When Sakineh’s husband was found dead, . . .

(obviously a chapter or two of the narrative missing here!)…

investigators responded to a complaint filed by his children. After haphazardly reviewing the evidence *** they concluded that Sakineh’s lover, Nasser, killed the father. Concluding that there was an illicit alliance between Sakineh and Nasser, the investigators attention was quickly redirected to the children’s mother.

**A phrase that reminds me of my own family law case, and others.  Except that in my case, I’m not sure if even a haphazard review took place.

It swiftly was the consensus of the investigators that Sakineh had aided and abetted her lover.  She supposedly had given her husband a sedative so that Nasser could inject him with poison.

When the children realized the gravity of the situation, they chose to protect their mother. Sajjad and Farideh forgave their mother for acting as an accessory to the murder, and forgave Nassar for murdering their father. Their forgiveness, according to Islamic law, reduced the crime’s sentence.

Nassar’s penalty was reduced from hanging to ten years imprisonment.  Although Sakineh was originally convicted only of being an accessory to murder, her sentence was also reduced to ten years–as if she had participated in the murder.

The reduced sentences enraged Iran’s clerical elite.  Zealous fundamentalist Shari’a judges presiding Iran pushed for a reevaluation of the extramarital relationship. Succeeding in obtaining a rehearing of the case, the theocrats accused Sakineh of “zena” — extramarital sex.

Extramarital sex carries the death penalty–by stoning–a verdict that they were determined to render when they passed judgment. All evidence points to the fact that the judges had already determined that the mother was guilty of the murder in order to have a lover (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,711975,00.html#ref=nlint).

Still a problem lingered. World opinion. The most troublesome point in this situation is that the accused was coerced into testifying against herself.   Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, told British reporters from the Guardian after the trial that she had been tortured for no less than two days and threatened repeatedly if she did not tell the court what it demanded it be told (http://iranhr.net/spip.php?article1807).

Since the fall of the shah and with it the end of democracy in Persia came a transmogrification of justice and law. With the return of the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1978 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, by referendum on April 1, 1979, and approved a new theocratic constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country in December 1979. From that day on, the Iranian government intensified its campaign of torture, arbitrary arrests, and detentions against political critics since 2004 (Human Rights Watch (2004), Like the Dead in Their Coffins: Torture, Detention, and the Crushing of Dissent in Iran (73 page booklet); cf. http://www.iranfocus.com/en/?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=5), increasing the number of  public executions (especially the hanging of teenage homosexuals; http://www.iranfocus.com/en/?option=com_content&task=view&id=4403) to a near-daily routine, and enshrining torture as a commandment of their god in much the same way as the Roman Catholic church used the Spanish Inquisition to extract confessions and ultimate exterminate those opposed to its rule and officials.

One of the most unusual innovations installed by the theocracy of Iran, quite different from the more sane days of the Kingdom of Iran (Pahlavi dynasty) under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) came with the redefinition of social culture, customs, and tolerance.  Before the imams and ayatollahs took control, two members of the same gender commonly held hands or kissed as they had for centuries–it was seen as a greeting, not as a sexual exchange, but like Pope Pius IX, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was fixated on homosexuality, most likely to hide his own latent tendencies–for he forged out of redactions verses against homosexuality (citing Qur’an 4:16 and 27:55, which is contradicted by 52:24, 56:17, 76:19) and adultery (17:2-3, 32, and 25:63-71) but stoning is only found in the hadith. Both actions became capital offences and dealt with severely by the theocrats–without any justification for their decrees in the Qur’an, in the same barbaric manner as Pius IX attempted to justify his own phobias.

Today, in Iran, homosexuality is illegal, and those charged with making love (having homosexual sex) love-making

Irangay_teens_2 are given a choice of four death-styles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch.

Here, the same author talks (pretty straightforward) — sorry to switch topics suddenly — about the history of Christmas.  Worth a little look:

Generally, I’ve gone with the flow, and adjusted, and with others — while realizing that Santa Claus isn’t real (nor, FYI, did we inflict that on our kids, although the presents sure showed up at the season, along with abuse right before or right after…).  But after four seasons of no chance of seeing my own kids — while I as a mother with full physical custody willingly shared even the alternating holidays we were given — I guess that meant nothing because of my gender? — the past oners, not a peep.  Financially devastated time and again, I can’t exactly go do the gifts, plus with contact already (and promptly) cut off, it was quite clear that this was a time of one-upmanship (we have your daughters — and you don’t!) related to some ritual hazing of a The Mom Who Said No! .  …

And I’m certainly not alone in that pain of not seeing my children in any major holiday.  U.S. Courts are creating this phemonenon.

Moreover, other times, families, or parts of them are wiped out by someone who was on the outs.

It’s our civic duty, however, to help jumpstart the ailing economy by shopping (what about ourselves, eh?).

No, thank, you I think that’s enough “Christmas” for my lifetime…  At least that’s how I feel for now…  SO I throw in that little link.  For anyone from these traditions we are discussing (I didn’t discuss Judaism, but you can see that it wouldn’t include this holiday), what we celebrate is basically described in the Old Testament as other gods.    No one likes to bring this out in the open too much, but maybe it’s time…..  It’s not exactly the liberalized separation of church and state (supposedly) time when atheism is celebrated; work schedules and the market revolve around this collated holiday that dates probably back to a Roman Emperor, Constantine.  So why not consider a bit?

hristmas: Origin and Development

Four thousand years ago or so, ancient Egyptians celebrated the rebirth of the sun in the twelfth month of each year. Devoted to the holiest of numbers, twelve, the Egyptians (like other people) reckoned most “happenings” in groups of twelve. To this send, the Egyptians set the length of the festival at 12 days, to reflect the 12 divisions in their sun calendar. To celebrate the rebirth of the sun, they used every possible existence of rebirth, and decorated with greenery that was common among them: using palms with 12 shoots as a symbol of the completed year, since a palm was thought to put forth a shoot each month. Sun-worshipping Egyptians had the idea, and having their sun-god ride a “beast” beneath waving palm branches, bearing on his head a laurel crown and even sleeping on a tree and resting and praying in a garden with a young boy to indicate the perpetual youthfulness of their savior sun-god.

Saturn and Ops at Saturnalia 

The Saturnalia, of course, celebrated Saturn—the fire god (represented, as expected, by fire—an element sacred to all gods and thus the source of heat and cooking—a source that the god Prometheus would steal to take to mortal kind), while his son would become in time represented by the sun when he took his place to the right hand of the Father (and ultimately replace him). Saturn’s primary duties, for which he was worshipped universally, was being the god of sowing (planting) because heat from the sun was required to allow for planting and growth of crops. He was also worshipped in this dead-of-winter festival so that he would come back (he was the “sun”) and warm the earth again so that spring planting could occur. The planet Saturn was later named after him because, among all of the planets, with its rings and bright red color, it best represented the god of fire.


These were all simply the various names for Nimrod. Nimrod was considered the father of all the Babylonian gods (who, by legend, dined on the flesh of newborn babies–but records suggest that it was a baptism similar to that experienced by Achilles). This horrible practice was associated with the worship of all fire gods, including Saturn, Kronos, Molech and Baal) and is the subject of the still-valid The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, page 231:

(I heard this author later retracted a lot of what he wrote…)

This legend has a further and deeper meaning; but, as applied to Nimrod, or ‘The Horned One,’ (which found its ultimate fruition in the bad translation of the Bible in the sixteenth century

Moses with Horns by Michelangelo (yeah, I wondered about those marble horns, too…) 

as seen in Michelangelo’s portrayal of the mythological Moses with horns) it just refers to the fact, that, as the representative of Moloch or Baal, infants were the most acceptable offerings at his altar. We have ample and melancholy evidence on this subject from the records of antiquity. ‘ThePhoenicians,’ says Eusebius, ‘every year sacrificed their beloved and only-begotten children to Kronos or Saturn.

We find this same reference in both the Torah and the Christian Bible. For example, in Genesis 10:9 we read of Nimrod, “He was a mighty hunter before [in place of] the Lord.” He actually tried to replace God. The Jewish historian, Josephus, records in Josephus Antiquities important evidence of Nimrod’s role in the post-flood world: “He also gradually changed the government into tyranny…He [Nimrod] also said he would be revenged on God, if He should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach…Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God” (Bk. I, Ch. IV, sec. 2, 3).

Under many names, mankind’s earliest and perhaps greatest rebel has been worshipped throughout what rival theologies would libel as a “false religion.”

Yeah, it’s that tyranny thing that always gets us.  What religion, I wonder, does NOT dispense that?

Well, to keep my promise, here’s that MICHIGAN FAMILY FORUM site.  I post this because not one single hyperlink in it’s four main ones can say any word that could be identified with a woman!  The word “Family” doesn’t.  The word “Children” doesn’t.  The word “Parents” doesn’t.  The word “elders” doesn’t.  But there is a link for FATHERHOOD.  I suppose women make a guest appearance for the purpose of reproducing.  Elderly women (and we know women often live longer than men) are likely to be welcome if they are not too uppity or crotchedty, and particularly if they are widows (not “divorcees”).  I’m just speculating as to much of this paragraph, but take a look at the

  • the Language,
  • the Links,
  • and the photos.



In 1989, a board formed and recruited a probate Judge, who caught the vision.  And they were off and running — thank god, before that nasty VAWA legislation was passed….

(I’ve actually done more research than on the post about some of these liaisons in this Midwestern State.  They are concerned about “family.”  I as a woman who has no place (and no photo, to date, of anyone my age on the site) am concerned about them.).  Remember my post about Oregon Family Institute, and how well-networked they were.  You ain’t seen nothing yet when the network is majority conservative evangelical Christian.  I wish I could talk to both Ayaan Hirsi and Nonie Darwish about this, and I have already mentioned it to Phyllis Chesler.

Remember their stories…

Happy New Year, and may the next one not be “business as usual” for you!

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

December 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

“Why Shariah?” (Noah Feldman, at CFR), “Islam’s Double Standard” (Arthur Frederick Ides) and {No Feminine Nouns at} the Michigan Family Forum’s home (Brian Snavely): But First, Four Women…

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This blog should be filed along with my ones about the Gulag Archipelago, and Bahrain Archipelago.

With respect and appreciation intended this season towards:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Nonie Darwish, and Immaculee Iligibazi, who survived the Rwandan Holocaust in a cramped bathroom in a pastor’s house, although others who sometimes sought shelter in churches then, didn’t find it.  In their books (I haven’t met any of these women, all activist and all authors, and all who overcame many odds and losses), and in reverse order:

  • Immaculée

Immaculée Ilibagiza was born in Rwanda and studied Electronic and Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Rwanda. Her life transformed dramatically in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide when she and seven other women huddled silently together in a cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house for 91 days! During this horrific ordeal, Immaculée lost most of her family, but she survived to share the story and her miraculous transition into forgiveness and a profound relationship with God.

(title of page also: “From a country she loved to the horrors of genocide:  A journey to understanding and forgiveness.”)

I love what I think this country stands for.  I understand we are in a period — perhaps we have always engaged in this – of  a different sort of “genocide” and the “genus” we are involved in eradicating is the word Mother and Woman as a functional reality in the major institutions of life — except we comply and fit in.  what we are expected to fit in with is becoming nonpersons, and religious and sectarian violence against us and our children because we spoke up against violence and weren’t aware ahead of the family law system that is designed to STOP such speaking up and leaving it.  As formerly it was “not without my children,”  Nowadays it has become, “OK, but ONLY without your children…”

I think that story needs to be heard, too, and how having children, then losing them to systems, transformed each of us personally, and our relationships with the rest of the world, particularly any religious segments of it.  If the U.S. is the BEST for women, then we are indeed in trouble throughout the world.

  • Nonie:

(Wikipedia entry).

Nonie Darwish (Arabic: نوني درويش‎) (born 1949[1][2]) is an Egyptian-American human rights activist, and founder of Arabs For Israel, and is Director of Former Muslims United. She is the author of two books: Now They Call Me Infidel; Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror and Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Darwish’s speech topics cover human rights, with emphasis on women’s rights and minority rights in the Middle East. Born in Egypt, Darwish is the daughter of an Egyptian Army lieutenant general, who was called a “shahid” by the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser,[3] after being killed in a targeted killing in 1956. Darwish blames “the Middle Eastern Islamic culture and the propaganda of hatred taught to children from birth” for his death. In 1978, she moved with her husband to the United States, and converted to Christianity there. After September 11, 2001 she has written on Islam-related topics.[3]

She was too outspoken.  Respectable organizations headed for the hills when

Shari’a in the Ivy League

By: Pratik Chougule
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Where are the moderates of the Islamic world? The question has befuddled Americans since the September 11 attacks. Indeed, while President Bush and other leaders of the West have fervently defended Islam as a “religion of peace,” there has been a conspicuous dearth of prominent Middle Eastern leaders openly willing to criticize radical Islam or defend the United States and Israel in the War on Terrorism. A recent incident at Brown University this past November sheds light on the perplexing issue.In late November, Hillel, Brown University’s prominent Jewish group on campus, invited Nonie Darwish to give a lecture in defense of Israel and its human rights record, relative to the Islamic world.  

Her father, Mustafa Hafez, founded the Fedayeen, which launched raids across Israel’s southern border. When Darwish was eight years old, her father became the first targeted assassination carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces in response to Fedayeen’s attacks, making him a martyr or “shahid.” During his speech nationalizing the Suez Canal, Nasser vowed Egypt would take revenge for Hafez’s death. Nasser asked Nonie and her siblings, “Which one of you will avenge your father’s death by killing Jews?”

After his death, Darwish’s family moved to Cairo, where she attended Catholic high school and then the American University in Cairo. She worked as an editor and translator for the Middle East News Agency, until emigrating to the United States in 1978, ultimately receiving United States citizenship. After arriving in the United States, she converted from Islam to evangelical Christianity based on her belief that even American mosques preach a radical, anti-peace message. Due to her decision to convert, Darwish instantly became branded as an “apostate” in several prominent Muslim circles. After 9/11, Darwish began writing columns critical of radical Islam, and authored a book Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror. She is also the founder of the organization Arabs for Israel, which pledges, “respect and support the State of Israel,” welcome a “peaceful and diverse Middle East,” reject “suicide/homicide terrorism as a form of Jihad,” and promote “constructive self-criticism and reform” in the Islamic world.

When Hillel announced its decision to invite Darwish to speak, the Brown University Muslim Students’ Association promptly insisted that Hillel rescind the invitation. Their reasoning: Darwish is “too controversial.” Similarly, the Sarah Doyle’s Women’s Center, which Hillel had contacted to cosponsor the event given Darwish’s advocacy of women’s rights, refused to support the lecture.

After a brief period of internal debate, Hillel buckled to the pressure and withdrew its invitation. In an open letter explaining the decision, Hillel cited a “desire to maintain constructive relationships” with the Muslim Students Association. Inviting Darwish, they argue, “would not be a prudent method of Israel advocacy.” Defending the decision, one member of Hillel stated that Jews “should be especially sensitive about comments which criticize strict religious observance and deem it unacceptable in America.” This member was particularly concerned that his Muslim peers “were extremely offended by this characterization of them as ‘extremists.’”

Amidst a flurry of negative press, including stories in the New York Post,

National Review Online, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the University moved into damage-control mode.

A woman, presumably Brown student, responds in the Daily Herald (newsletter) “Nathalie Alyon ’06:  Nonie non grata?“:

The recent Nonie Darwish cancellation betrays Brunonian*  values

Published: Thursday, November 30, 2006

{**a.k.a. “Brown,” give me a break with the language, eh?}

I was shocked to read a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report that Nonie Darwish, a Palestinian peace activist, would not be speaking at Brown because the Muslim Student Association, the Muslim chaplain and the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life are afraid what she has to say is controversial (“Free speech controversy builds as pro-Israel speech canceled at Brown,” Nov. 20). What happened to the Brown I know and love, the haven of liberal education that encourages free thought and debate? Apparently, we have turned into a university easily intimidated when the subject matter gets sensitive.

And, may I add, possibly when the speaker is also female… (and a mother at the time, I think)….

What about Darwish is so offensive to Muslims that Hillel students decided to cancel her appearance to avoid jeopardizing the wonderful relationship between Jewish and Muslim groups on campus? …

Are the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim chaplain not willing to face the reality that there are people using Islam to incite violence, promote terrorism and spread hate across the world? Would they rather keep things simple, inhale hookah smoke with a couple of Jews in the name of multiculturalism and call it a day?

I think the answer there is self-evident….

Now that we know who is not allowed to speak on campus, let’s take a look at some events that have taken place

Good.  This young woman (presumably) is on the right track to feminism {a.k.a. females speaking their minds} in the real world…

By the way, isn’t Nonie Darwish (along with President Obama) a PURRRfect example of what risk any fatherless child is of teen pregnancy, runaway, drug use, etc.  Look at her disgraceful track record, educationally, and as to contributions to this world.  What a burden on society.

(my point being — WARS, too, help make fatherlessness; don’t blame the Mamas!)

She also got silenced at Princeton and Columbia — so mothers silenced in the courts are perhaps in good company?  Granted, both quotes from known conservative ezines (exception the BrownDaily, which I don’t know about). But it kinda makes you wonder, eh?

Nonie Darwish, the executive director of Former Muslims United and author of Cruel And Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, was scheduled to speak at Columbia and Princeton last week, but both events were canceled under pressure from Muslim groups on campus.

Darwish, a soft-spoken ex-Muslim and daughter of an Islamic martyr, is a champion of the rights of women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies, and leader of the group Arabs for Israel. She had been planning to speak on “Sharia Law and Perspectives on Israel.” She is one of the few courageous voices who speak out against Islamic anti-Semitism and the oppression of women under Sharia.

She is eminently qualified to speak about this, having lived it.  Her education is fine.  It’s the topic which is politically incorrect even in “liberal” circles..

At Princeton, she was invited three weeks ago and was scheduled to speak last Wednesday. But on Tuesday evening, Arab Society president Sami Yabroudi and former president Sarah Mousa issued a joint statement, claiming: “Nonie Darwish is to Arabs and Muslims what Ku Klux Klan members, skinheads and neo-Nazis are to other minorities, and we decided that the role of her talk in the logical, intellectual discourse espoused by Princeton University needed to be questioned.”

??Character assassination, sounds like to me…  Good grief, here’s a Princeton Commentary on it:

Darwish herself, who has never advocated violence against anyone, pointed to this unfounded moral equivalence to neo-Nazism as “the worst kind of intimidation and character assassination aimed at those who dare to question, analyze, or criticize.” And she found it ironic that while her punishment for speaking out as an apostate against Islam’s worst practices was silence at Princeton, it would be death under Sharia law.

But more than the issue of free speech, the scandal has exposed in the religious community a problematic link between faith and politics, one that is the root of any inter-religious conflict. When asked if the religion of Islam were inseparable from politics, Imam Sultan explained, “There are a whole host of theories on how Islam can interact with politics, from the least imposing to the most imposing ways. I find myself agreeing more with the former, but I cannot deny that it is a source of great debate and difference of opinion among Muslims.”

(in “Censored:  The Politics behind silencing Nonie Darwish” (Dec. 09, in “THE PRINCETON TORY A JOURNAL OF CONSERVATIVE AND MODERATE THOUGHT)

While I have not met any of the above women (who are writer and speakers, I sometimes consider — of recent two years — my mentors, as I struggle to find a metaphor or “handle” to put the experience of the U.S. “FAMILY” court system (as well as my own particular extended family – actually a very small in number family, but intensely Western (so they think, I believe) and intensely “liberal”), I have read Chesler books since I was young (don’t think the age difference is that great) and I have written her often, with alarm, about my concerns how the family law system is moving towards shariah, as seen my Christian/NOT fundamentalist background.  I do not feel that some women who while understanding that certain more radical, secular views of domestic violence may not “get” this, they too, may not “get” how (relative to the rest of the US culture, overall) this evangelistic and highly patriarchal (or else) sector has sprung from the same roots.  So, I decided to post THIS 2009 article, which addresses it.

Yesterday, I completed a QNA with the National Review about honor killings/”honorcides” which appears there today and which you may readHERE. I also did a long interview with a major new service on the subject which is slated to appear tomorrow. Like many other wire services and like the mainstream media, ideas such as mine are usually sidelined, marginalized, attacked, or simply “disappeared.” I do not think this will happen tomorrow.

And now, I have a number of honorable allies. One surely is NOW-New York State President, Marcia Pappas who is now also being attacked for her having linked the Buffalo beheading with “honor killings,” with “Islam,” and even with “Islamic terrorism.” Indeed, she was attacked yesterday by a coalition of eight domestic violence victim advocacy providers in Erie County where the Buffalo beheading took place. I quickly posted a blog which dealt with this, (it deserves a longer piece), but I mainly praised the recent rally in London which was sponsored by One Law For All.

Lo and Behold: A second honorable ally wrote to me. I want to share what he said. His name is Khalim Massoud, and he is the President of Muslims Against Sharia Law, an international organization. After reading my most recent blog HERE, he wrote me as follows:

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that (the) Buffalo beheading is a honorcide. We, Muslims Against Sharia, prefer this term to honor murder. Beheading is not just a murder, it’s a ritual. It’s a form of control and humiliating a family member who “stepped over the line,” in this case, wife taking out a TRO (order of protection) and planning to divorce her husband.

Ms. Pappas must be commended for her courage to call a spade a spade. (The) PC-climate presents considerable danger for future honorcide victims. Trying to sweep cultural/religious aspects of honorcide under the rug keeps the problem from being addressed. While most of the media wouldn’t touch the issue with a ten-foot pole, (for) fear they would be portrayed as Islamophobic, a few brave women, the true feminists, like Marcia Pappas and Phyllis Chesler are speaking out on the subject just to be slammed by so-called victim advocacy groups because they dare to expose Islamism’s dirty laundry. Muslim women in America are at great risk because Muslim establishment, with help of the media, wants to portray honorcide as fiction.

Honorcide has no place in the modern world, but especially in the West. It must be forcefully confronted; not written off as domestic violence. Almost a year ago, MASH started STOP HONORCIDE! initiative. The goal is to have honorcide classified as a hate crime. The Buffalo case is a perfect example why honorcide should be a hate crime. The suspect is being charged with the 2nd degree murder. If honorcide were classified as a hate crime, he’d be charged with the 1st degree murder.”

Khalim Massoud
Muslims Against Sharia

OK, now again briefly (since I mentioned above), Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Again, I find it a little disconcerting she is a scholar at a conservative think-tank also known to have “fatherhood” advocacy within its ranks… (AEI.org).


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies, was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society and defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted in the assassination of Mr. van Gogh by an Islamic extremist. At AEI, Ms. Hirsi Ali researches the relationship between the West and Islam, women’s rights in Islam, violence against women propagated by religious and cultural arguments, and Islam in Europe.
Here is a beautifully written article (on this ugly topic) and well-posed question. As I worry about the direction the courts are taking women, and religion is taking (or should I say, HAS taken) the U.S. Constitutional protections, I realize, yes I’m privileged, but feel also, we need to still wake up, HERE, and NOW, even though by comparison, other places are worse.  Women have physical lives and emotional lives and social lives.  We have come to demand meaning and purpose in our lives, here, and feel entitled to it.
However, if the whole social climate goes heirarchical (men, particularly pale ones, on top) and religious (Collaborations, faith-based initiatives and out-come based court processes…), we are in trouble.  And we are.  I wasn’t born in Egypt or Yemen.  I was born HERE, U.S.A.  What is it, if family law becomes shariah law in so many words, because men are afraid of empowered women?  Of non-dominated women?

We were on our front yard of white sand. It was a hot day, like almost all days in Mogadishu. There was nothing unusual about the flies that irritated us or the ants that I avoided for fear of their sharp, agonizing bites. If they happened to crawl under my dress or I sat on them accidentally they would punish me with a sting that made me shriek with pain. That shrieking and hopping about would earn disapproval and even a slap from Grandmother.

I think I was 6 or 7 on that day, maybe younger, but I know I was not 8 because my family had not yet left Somalia. Grandmother was moralizing as usual. On that day, like all other days, she was admonishing me to remember my place.

There was yet another thing I did wrong and I did not have the ability to set right. If only I wasn’t so dimwitted; if only I understood how I was to blame for the flaw that granny abhorred so much.

“Cross your legs,” she said, “lower your gaze. You must learn not to laugh, and if you must laugh then see to it that you don’t cackle like the neighbor’s hen.” We had no chickens but the noise of the neighbors’ hens screeching and hooting and trespassing was enough for me to get the message.

“If you must go outside make sure you are accompanied and that you and your company walk as far away from men as possible,” she said.

To my grandmother’s annoyance, I responded with the question: “But Grandmother, what about Mahad?” My brother Mahad never seemed to invite this kind of endless preaching from Grandmother. She answered me like the obtuse child she decided I was.

“Mahad is a man! Your misfortune is that you were born with a split between your legs. And now, we the family must cope with that reality!”

I thought: There was yet another thing I did wrong and I did not have the ability to set right. If only I wasn’t so dimwitted; if only I understood how I was to blame for the flaw that granny abhorred so much.

“Ayaan, you are stubborn, you are reckless and you ask too many questions. That is a fatal combination. Disobedience in women is crushed and you are disobedient. It is in you, it is in your bone marrow. I can only attempt to tell you what is right.”

Grandmother pointed to a piece of sheep fat on the ground. It was covered with ants, and flies were zooming above it, landing on it, sucking it. It was a vile piece of meat that was being warmed by the sun, and a trickle of fat seeped out of it. She said: “You are like that piece of sheep fat in the sun. If you transgress, I warn you men will be no more merciful to you than those flies and ants are to that piece of fat.”

A lot has changed in my life since those days in the sun with Grandmother. Today when I look back I see that I have proven her wrong. I disobeyed, true to my nature, I transgressed, but I avoided the destiny of the sheep fat.

Sitting in an airplane, I have on my lap the memoir of Nujood Ali. The title of the book is “I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.” My reading list contains another book, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is called “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.” The reason I associate the two books is because of their description of marriage and divorce, and particularly the word “painful.”

Nujood was 8 years old when a delivery man approached her father in Sana, Yemen. After the initial expression of hospitality, the delivery man stated his business: He was looking for a wife. Nujood’s two older sisters were already married, so she was the logical bride, regardless of her age. Her father accepted $750 in dowry money and gave away his 8-year-old daughter. When Nujood’s mother and sisters appealed to him, pleading that she was too young to get married, the father responded with the excuse used by all Muslim fathers who marry off their daughters before they come of age: “Too young? When the Prophet wed Aisha she was only 9.”

In fact, Muhammad wed Aisha when she was 6. According to Scripture, the Prophet waited for Aisha to begin menstruating before consummating the marriage. Nujood’s new husband, Faez, showed no such restraint.

In painful detail, Nujood describes a real nightmare on her wedding night: How she runs away, how she seeks help, how she struggles, how he touches her and she wriggles out of his arms, how she calls out to her mother- in-law. “Aunty,” she screams, “somebody help me!” But there was silence. She describes how he gets hold of her, his awful smell, a mixture of tobacco and onions. She recounts the childish threat she makes–“I will tell my father”–and the husband’s reply: “You can tell your father whatever you like. He signed the marriage contract, he gave me permission to marry you.”

From the time Nujood was able to gather her wits about her she set about planning her escape. The story is recommended reading for anyone who seriously wants to understand what Muslim women can be subjected to.

In Yemen, Nujood’s father, her husband, the judges, the policemen and the broader society–with the exception of a very few–view her situation as normal. And Yemen is by no means unique.

When I turn to Elizabeth Gilbert’s description of a painful divorce it becomes clear to me what feminism has accomplished in the West. Gilbert decides to divorce her husband not because he was forced upon her, but because there is something intangible that he cannot give her. She chose to marry him. Every decision she made was voluntary: to marry him, to buy property with him, even to try for a child. Yet still she felt unfulfilled.

The deep sense of dissatisfaction leads her to abandon her marriage, the life of a privileged woman. She goes to Italy to find a piece of herself, the pleasure of eating. She goes to India to find another piece of herself: the pleasure of devotion. In Indonesia she finds yet another piece of herself: the balance between the pleasures of eating and praying. In India she finds a guru who answers her spiritual needs.

Gilbert’s story shows what feminism can achieve elsewhere, especially in the Muslim world.

But her story also demonstrates something else. Those women in the West who, like Gilbert, have harvested what the early feminists fought for have almost no affinity for women like Nujood–and like me when I was a little girl.

This is not to pass judgment on Gilbert. On the contrary, I admire her intellectual honesty and her pursuit of self-knowledge. The woman I have become in the West now feels closer to the Gilberts of this world than the Nujoods. But I find myself asking as I read these two books: What can current Western feminism offer the Nujoods?

I often am asked by my Western audiences: “Where did feminism go wrong?” I think the answer is staring us in the face. Western feminism hasn’t gone wrong at all–it has accomplished its mission so completely that a woman like Elizabeth Gilbert can marry freely and then leave her husband equally freely, purely in order to pursue her own culinary and religious inclinations. The victory of feminism allows women like Gilbert to shape their own destinies.

But there is a price for this victory: The price is a solipsism so complete that a great many Western women have lost the ability to empathize with women not only in the Islamic world, but also in China, India and other countries; women whose suffering takes forms that are now largely unknown in the West, save in the ghettos of immigrants. They are too busy hunting for the perfect prayer mat or pasta to give two hoots about a case of child-rape in Yemen.

The best we can hope for is not for the West to invade other countries in the hope of emancipating their women. That is neither realistic nor desirable (and remains our least plausible war aim in Afghanistan).

The best we can hope for is a neo-feminism that reminds women in the West of the initial phases of their liberation movement.

“If you transgress, they will show no more mercy than flies on  sheep fat.”  This grandmother warned her little girl how to survive, grown up.
Here, women who grew up with some feminism (but didn’t pay for it), went to college maybe, and married, perhaps wrongly — they find out soon enough how society treats them after childbirth and exiting the marriage….
So, here we are on New Years’ Eve — and I’m quoting an article comparing a ittle girl, because she is female, to a piece of sheep fat with flies crawling on it, and writing about child rape, by older man, socially accepted (which, FYI, is some of the prime subject matter of the contested custody cases — basically they are gender issues, and treated as a problem by the social agencies addressing divorce as a crime, — although it’s supposedly “no fault.”)
Now I”m about ready to post 2 to 3  more brief articles or links to make my point:  The wide discretion given in the family law judges makes many laws meaningless.  REALLY meaningless.  A certain outcome is desired.
I’ve not done the right thing with the last day of the year, but I feel I have connected (virtually, here) with three real human beings, remarkable women who are aware of this issue and doing something to make their world better as they go through it.   There is always something “human” about “truth” and correspondingly unreal about this season of the year in the electronic-soaked West.
. . . .
We need to wake up, and I’m not talking Tea Party, who will make a brief appearance (but not the word “mother” or “women” in any prominent place, — like a subject heading!) in the next post.
. . .

“Asalaam Alaykum, Peace on Earth Good Will toward Men*, and Shalom Bayit”

with 2 comments



It’s time we talked about Shari’a Law, Family Law, and the Disappearance of the Feminine noun and pronoun in public policy. I am not in a “holiday” mood, nor is this my holiday….I stood up against abuse, told the truth in court, hoped to separate from violence, and I have no family as we speak.  I haven’t committed adultery either, and so far we don’t “stone” in the USA– but this venue does allow for “judicial discretion” which turns a blind eye (or reframes issues) when some husbands and fathers “take the law into their own hands” and sacrifice all for their disgraced honor.  It does excommunicate in a particularly vicious way when a Mother asserts herself as mother — but not to participate in an honor killing of her daughter, rather a protective action towards her children.  We know.

It’s probably time we also stopped playing with things that others consider god(s), while the real one is closer to the state, and money/sales/the economy, etc.

But I am going to talk about it in this blog, quickly assembled on the last day of 2010.  I’m learning as I go, too..  I learned that I’ve had it with this season, taken as a whole.  The workforce is organized around it — always good to keep the religions organized and in one place where they won’t get out of control, or will dilute their fiercer expressions by rubbing shoulders with each other in malls, or around family meals.  Or share the Season of Sharing in a Soup Kitchen, great if you eat there, and rewarding if you work there.

Of course, for those who have families….

But only after some politically correct greetings.  NB:  Is there an atheist greeting?  Like, ‘happy holidays.”   The word “holiday” is a version of “holiday” as surely as is Hallow’een.    So what’s appropriate?

How many greetings should we learn to get through the season without offending someone?

How many did you use?  How many New Year’s Traditions

are you going to observe today?

The TV says they have a specialty “Tipsy Tow” for people whose traditions

includes drinking and driving.  (probably appropriate right after the

Season of Saturnalia, etc.  )


Asalaam Alakam

(from “Muslim Voices”

Posted November 16, 2009)

Smiling man from Marrakech, Morocco

That’s beautiful….a beautiful photo.

The greeting at least means something, and isn’t seasonal…


Now the other one:

“Peace on Earth Good Will Toward Men:”

The inane phrase (no subject, no verb, no “from whom” and thanks to English’s lack of case endings, a mangled translation out of context, and of course it’s commonly known that the birth celebrated at this time didn’t happen in this season) is repeated ad infitum, as sung for centuries too, although it’s meaning is mangled, not exactly a trade secret of the season.  But an easy springboard for a blog.  I give one woman’s, one PhD man’s, another man’s and a news commentary about how it ain’t exactly peaceful at this season!

From what I understand about Jesus (from the Bible), his birth was quickly followed with an attempt to eradicate him, his first sermon, likewise, and most of his short ministry was not well received, and for a period his family tried to have him “institutionalized” (saying, “he is beside himself,” i.e., a fanatic…).  Finally, his disciples deserted him, the religious leaders betrayed him (and broke some laws turning him over to the political authorities) and finally someone else did the dirty deed, despite a certain person’s wife warning against it.  He never had kids or owned a home, and assuming he perfectly kept the law, never had sex outside marriage, in fact, at all.


“Jeesus! — that’s a hard cross to bear.  Makes you wonder why so much hoopla at his season of supposed birth.”



Therefore it only



I include this sentiment and jpg because it’s a white-haired woman who maintains women’s blogs…  Why not?

And that’s a beautiful image of a Russian Icon, a single angel, with gold background.  Unlike me, the blog has fewer words and says more ….  Mine is about staying alive female in “the leader of the free world’s” country.

Even though she blogs about women, she seems comfortable with the phrase “good will toward men.”  Maybe after enough decades of life, it’s not worth fighting over grammar or individual discrepancies….



This one is from a guy, in fact a Ph.D. professor from — columbia seminary, I guess.  It’s also about 7 years (and nearly a month) old, and post 9/11 also:


Peace on Earth?
Good Will Between Men

What Christmas is All About

Well, it’s that time of year, once again, when we will hear people saying, “Peace on earth and good will between men.”

This constant refrain is uttered by all sorts of people from all quarters at this time of year.

However, what’s interesting is that many people don’t know that this mangled quotation is actually a passage from the Bible. And even many Christians, sad to say, don’t know what it really means.

People often chant this statement, “Peace on earth good will toward men” as a way of saying that we should have good will between our fellow humans during Christmas season. We should, so they imply, have “peace on earth” during this time.

Someone will robustly announce, “Peace on earth good will toward men,” and all those around will smile and hug one another or pat each other on the backs showing their “good will” toward one another, and their desire for “peace.”

However, this sort of fabricated, momentary “peace” is not what the Bible was talking about when it recorded the words of the angles who said,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”—(Luke 2:14).

What was actually meant by the angels is obvious if one will take the time to see the context.

Their message was not “peace between men of good will” or even “peace and good will between men.”

Rather it was peace on earth and good will toward men from God for those who accept the babe in the manger.

This is a powerful statement about who Jesus Christ is. The passage shows that for all who accept this babe in the manger as God’s unique Son and as their Savior, there shall be peace on earth for them with God and there shall be good will toward them from God.

Note that it says, “Good will toward men” not “good will between men.” Actually, it is a peace between man and God, for it is through this babe in the manger that humans can have peace with God.

OR, if you would like the less esoteric evangelical version also from 2003, whoever THIS man is:


  • From “Tomorrow’s World:  Magazine and Television Program

(I gave home link so you can get a flavor of the topics; the quote is from the link “Peace on Earth?”)


Volume 5, Issue 6
Peace on Earth?
By Douglas S. Winnail
Is world peace really possible? The quest for peace seems endless. It is in the news almost every day, yet our world grows more brutal by the minute!


Is world peace really possible? The quest for peace seems endless. It is in the news almost every day, yet our world grows more brutal by the minute! The two world wars fought in the 20th century did not bring peace, nor did the end of the Cold War; they brought only a more divided and troubled planet. Every year at Christmas, religious leaders speak of the Christ-child and peace on earth, yet violence and war continue to escalate!
Religious people light candles and say prayers for peace. Idealists sign petitions, stage marches and organize conferences to seek peace. Pragmatists build bigger weapons to enforce peace. Yet all these efforts have failed to bring peace. Is peace a mirage, an unrealistic, unattainable goal, an impossible dream?Why is the peace process so frustrating and difficult?
Many in our modern world do not realize that Bible prophecies are coming alive in today’s news headlines. The Bible not only predicts the major challenges of our age, it also reveals whyhuman efforts have not produced peace. Scripture also explainsthe way to peace, and how peace on earth will ultimately come. Few today understand what the Bible says about peace.

What Jesus Really Said

Preachers often say that the message of Christmas is: “Peace on earth and good will toward men.” But this is a mistranslation of what the angel actually said. Properly translated, the angel’s announcement at Christ’s birth was: “Glory to God, and on earth peace, toward men of good will” (Luke 2:14). It could also be worded: “Glory to God, and on earth, peace among men who please God” or “among men with whom God is pleased“—which gives a very different meaning to the statement (see The New Testament in 26 Translations)

Well, now, that opens a WHOLE can of worms about which men please God and which don’t, obviously.  I’m sure that a subscription to this magazine would inform us properly.  That puts it in a whole different ballpark….  No Ph.D. stuff HERE….  and so far, no women either, even though ain’t it ironic, a birth took place at this season, supposedly….

Whoever he is, his website has at least some social networking going on, to spread the good news that SOME men are pleasing to God.


Then there’s the political springboard on the greeting.  My google search on the phrase put this one near the top, so we get a Chicago Conservative “Examiner” blogger.. (reporter?)….  He also happens to be a white male, guess they’re good with the SEOs…

Peace on Earth Good Will Toward Men:

December 23, 2010

Terror alerts are ramping up this week. It started on Fox, but has spilled over to CNN, MSNBC, and network news. There are something like 1.5 billion people of the Muslim faith. There are quite a few Americans who would like to believe that every one of them is a terrorist. You’ve seen me say, on this page, that there are about 1,500 terrorists on the planet, and when I say that, I am referring specifically to members of Al-Qaeda. We have more terrorists than that in Chicago; they are called gang members, and they are urban terrorists.

You may think that Osama Bin Laden is alive, you may think he is dead, but that is not really germane to what I am going to propose.http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/869.html

In the 1980’s, when the Soviet Union was waging an unwinnable conflict in Afghanistan, what we referred to here as their Vietnam, the CIA funded insurgents in that war, led by Osama Bin Laden. What if the most important thing that Bin Laden learned had nothing to do with guerilla, or terrorist, tactics . . . .

(WHATEVER . . . . )

OBVIOUSLY, I am forgetting “Shalom” — the oldest of the three Bible- based religions.


SHALOM.   in fact, Shalom Bayit.



Shalom Bayit
Ending Domestic Violence in Jewish Homes

P.O. Box 10102, Oakland CA 94610
A project of the Tides Center

Helpline: (866) 742-5667 (SHALOM-7) toll free within the Bay Area
(510) 451-7233 (SAFE) outside the Bay Area

(650) 574-7233 (SAFE) Peninsula office

Business office: (510) 451-8874


I doubt these address the impact of the family law system on the civil restraining order, or criminal restraining order system.  Maybe they do, but let’s not forget, OK?


Jesus’s announcement began at his ministry, see Luke 4:18, not LUke 2.

When He realized the time of crucifixion etc. was nearing, he said, MY peace I leave with you, to his disciples.  Other than that, it appears He took it with him….(John14)…


As I was walking out this morning, in the fresh air, I thought again about all the polemics about how “the basic economic unit of the country is the family.”

Well, no, it isn’t.  The family has now become mainstreamed big business.  I personally found the basic economic unit of the country (at least as to the court systems and social service networks — also most transportation AND many other forms of government leadership) are more united at the COUNTY level.

The word “County” stems from the previous word related to nobility, “Count.”  Having dealt for eyars with this systems (because once I became, as a mother, a NON-family member), it became crystal clear that I was not supposed to engage in life as an individual in regards the best interests of my children without the wider approval (rather than, say complying with the basic community standards, and laws, and functioning independently as  a worker, compliant co-parent, and person where I lived, and our daughters did) — of almost anyone who came by with a theory, an allegation, or a claim.  SOme people could accept I wasn’t married, but enough couldn’t that it became another prolonged version of a religious shunning procedure, and struggle for dominance.


While many are grazing peacefully these days, those who stepped on the landmine of the contested custody with an ex-batterer, or over-entitled and feeling underappreciated (male) nearby know there is no such peace to those who haven’t joined up with the right group in the pursuit of LIFE, LIBERTY, and (thereafter) HAPPINESS.


Sorry to put it that blunt, but I wanted to get these greetings in, and in the next blog (today) post a CFR summary next to a contrary opinion, about Shari’a law, and how it hits the female (and young) among us.  All.

Next month, January, is named after a two-headed God, which seems appropriate…


Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

December 31, 2010 at 3:40 pm

“Fast-Food,” One-Stop Family Justice Centers hit San Diego 2002, Oakland, and London, in 2007 . . .

with 4 comments

Faster than the speed of light: one man’s retirement plan becomes the playground of agencies and nonprofits, dispensing, dispensing — say, What are they dispensing, again? Besides contracts to their Executive Directors:

Wow — why do bad ideas travel fastest? And don’t even bother mating before they replicate?

This is certainly one:

Unbelievable: I was looking up one San Diego organization’s name, & Casey Gwinn’s name, and found out that the UK has caught the Alliance Virus…

Family justice centre, Croydon: the first of its kind in Europe

Thursday 01 February 2007 00:00

It was a busy first 10 months for Europe’s first family justice centre where 32 agencies work together under one roof to help victims of domestic violence. Josephine Hocking looks at what makes it unique

It is difficult to imagine a place where domestic violence victims can seek help from 32 agencies under the same roof.
But such a service is running in the London Borough of Croydon where the family justice centre’s mission is to reduce violence and death.
~ ~ ~ ~

I guess dispensing “Justice” just pre-empted stopping wars.
~ ~ ~

It opened in December 2005 and helped 3,000 families in its first 10 months.
~ ~ ~
Define “helped.” Is this like the ones in San Diego helped their own employees? Or the one in Northern California helped a relative of some head honchos to the position of Executive Director, thereafter likely exaggerating figures of “People helped”??

~ ~ ~ ~

The stated aim is to assist 14,000 children and 7,000 adults each year.

Professionals at the family justice centre include an on-call duty and assessment social work service, advocates, police, solicitors, housing officers, Women’s Aid, Victim Support, debt and benefits advisers, and probation staff.

The number of agencies is set to rise to 40, boosting the number of staff from the current 112. All are employed and managed by their own organisations, using existing resources. Referrals come from professionals or direct from service users.

A partnership between Croydon’s council, police and primary care trust, the centre is the first of its kind in Europe and was inspired by a US project (see “In the Beginning”).

Croydon’s social services director, Hannah Miller, is enthusiastic about the centre and is pleased it is on her patch. Her department provides the duty and assessment social work service.

Miller says it would be a poor use of resources to base a qualified social worker full time at the centre, as many seeking help do not need social work input. So she has allocated dedicated social work time and management. Social workers visit the centre regularly and attend case conferences. More social workers can be called on when necessary, and promise to arrive at the centre within 20 minutes of being contacted. The arrangement works well.

The multi-agency working practised at the centre is an idea that many aspire to but clashing professional cultures often preclude this. One way to resolve this is to make them sit side by side.

Jill Maddison, the centre’s director, says: “When professionals really work together you appreciate and understand what others can and can’t do. Social workers might moan they can never get hold of the police and wonder why an officer isn’t answering his phone. But when you can walk over to his desk and see he’s busy in the interview room with a suspect, that’s helpful.”

Maddison’s advice to social workers supporting families experiencing domestic violence is “don’t work on your own”. More can be achieved with a multi-agency approach.

The idea originated in the US. Lawyer Casey Gwinn’s vision led to the opening of the world’s first family justice centre in San Diego, California. He says the reason it was never previously attempted is that “agencies couldn’t get along”.

“The biggest problem is one of power and control from those agencies that see us as a threat.”

Maddison is not surprised that agencies can obstruct each other: “The voluntary and community sector are encouraged to compete for funds and work. It is not in their best interests to co-operate.”

Commander Steve Allen of the Metropolitan Police is a vociferous backer of the centre, telling a recent conference: “The model produces a coherent response. Otherwise agencies do struggle with each other. I have seen a lack of action due to people arguing about whose name is on the poster and who will get the credit. People are dying while that goes on. It has to stop.”

Modest and intensely focused, Maddison is highly regarded by colleagues in the borough and beyond. She trained as a social worker but never worked as one. She has been in the domestic violence field, in the UK and the US for 18 years, in roles including family lawyer, therapist and policy adviser. At Croydon Council, she was asked to find solutions to tackle the borough’s domestic violence problem.

Five adults and three children were murdered in domestic violence-related incidents in the borough in 2004-5. The centre opened in December 2005 and there were no domestic violence-related murders or child deaths in 2006.

Maddison’s energy and commitment have kept the centre on course during an exhausting first year. Her persistence was exemplified by her policy on information-sharing. Conventional practice dictated that the centre’s 32 agencies could not easily share information. But Maddison saw that as a hindrance to successful outcomes.

She says: “I read many lengthy documents on information-sharing but the solution was simple. We ask our clients if they will agree to information-sharing. We explain that it will help us to help them. We’ve only had one refusal so far.” However, child protection concerns can override this freedom to exchange information.

But establishing the centre has been a slog. “The idea is simple. But setting up and running a family justice centre is not easy. The first year is the hardest,” she admits.

Then there is the constant proximity to intense suffering. “It affects me, yes,” she says, “no wonder, when I see children either rigid with fear or racing about knocking things over because of what they’ve been through.”

A highlight of the centre’s first year for staff and service users were lunches for survivors. “Seeing 120 happy families in one room, who are now safe, is amazing,” she says. “My staff benefited from seeing the good effect of their work. Before, we were patching up bad situations now we are stopping the violence. Our approach does not get quick results, but it works.”

In the beginning (back)
The world’s first family justice centre – “where families come first and professionals come together” – opened in San Diego, California, in 2002, under the leadership of lawyer Casey Gwinn. His vision was to be a one-stop shop so that people seeking help did not have to trek between agencies.

Today 27 organisations work out of the centre, and deal with 1,100 families each month.

“Previously, systems were designed for the benefit of service providers,” says Gwinn, volunteer chief executive at San Diego. “Now we run services to suit our clients. They ask what took us so long to do it that way.”

At San Diego none of the 23,000 clients seeking services since 2002 have died. Another important outcome is that more cases are going to court.

Family justice centres are big news in the US. The San Diego centre appeared twice on Oprah Winfrey’s TV show, a major boost in helping spread the word.

President Bush has backed the idea with an initiative that included funding. Today 20 family justice centres are open in the US, with more planned.

In the UK, many local authorities are pursuing the idea but Croydon is the only one running with it so far.



When it was founded, the Alameda Family Justice Center was only the second such center in the nation, but within the last few years other counties have begun to copy this model. Funded by the District Attorney’s office, public grants and private gifts, the FJC has helped county attorneys prepare better domestic violence cases for trial. It has also eased social service providers’ efforts to help victims with psychological counseling, job training and onsite childcare. More than 7,000 people—a majority of whom are women with children—have used the center this year.

Define “used” — called for help? Stepped inside the doors? Accessed a website?

All in one place…

The Family Justice Center’s primary innovation has been bringing police, the District Attorney’s Office, and social service agencies all to an office on Oakland’s 27th Street between Broadway and Telegraph Avenue.

“Over the last year or so, we have seen an increase in clients’ repeated visits for varying services,” said Nadia Davis-Lockyer, the center’s executive director. “Not due to new incidents of family violence, but due to their realizing that additional services beyond immediate crisis intervention can help them achieve a happy and healthy home. Wherever you’re at, however you want to proceed, when you walk in our door, we can help you.

In addition, more than 3,000 restraining orders are issued in Alameda County every year, meaning that, on average, nine times every day the county determines someone can no longer be trusted to be in the same space as his or her former spouse or partner.

This implies civil restraining orders with kickout, not criminal with prosecution and serious incarceration JUST THINK! None of these can be required to get enforced (see my “What Decade Were These Stories? post). Then, the offended (kicked out) partner can go a few blocks away to a superior court and request immediate custody of any children, and thereafter it’s no longer this Justice Center’s problem, from what I can tell/have heard. This is called Justice ping pong.

Randy White, the Oakland police officer who serves as a subject matter expert for the domestic violence unit at the Family Justice Center, said these numbers translate into victims coming into the center on a regular basis. “Almost every few hours, every day, someone comes in here requesting services because they were a victim of a rape or domestic violence,” he said.

Which just goes to show you how well spent the Healthy Marriage / Responsible Fatherhood funds have been, over the past FIVE Presidential administrations…

In the 1970s, the domestic violence movement started in garages and people’s homes,” said Raeanne Passantino, the center’s assistant director. “This new movement makes a huge difference for clients, who can get many services at one time.”

Oh, I thought they were into “Justice.” … Well, this “new” (it’s not a new idea, just a new application of an old– centralize & control) movement makes a huge difference for many service providers who can access several clients in one place.

Word of good business plans among politicians and public employees does indeed spread fast:

The model has worked well enough that other counties are following suit. Over the last few years, Family Justice Centers have started up in San Jose, Fresno, and other cities around the country. Officials from several California counties, including Contra Costa and Solano, have visited Alameda County’s center site in recent months with an eye toward creating their own centers. “It’s a model that is being reproduced all over,” Bates said.

Funny — were any clients interviewed in this piece? I cannot do it sufficient justice, although see my previous Dubious Doings By District Attorneys post, in which I quote a “Steve White” (never met the guy..), who I see is right on it here. … APpropriately so, too. This is MSM at its “best” — and if I had time, I’d look up the background of every single person interviewed here, above. Oakland has one of the highest homicide rates in the country (4th or 5th, last I heard) and I know that man of those include DV deaths, with or without “restraining orders” on.

The San Diego “Family Justice Center” appears to have been Casey Gwinn’s personal retirement plan. Others have quickly caught on — but then again, conflicts of interest in nonprofits getting referral business from the courts isn’t exactly a new concept. Nor is nepotism or cronyism, which to me, this sounds like more of. They issue restraining orders — which no woman can require to be enforced, nor is she guaranteed any remedies if failure to enforce results in death to children. Generally speaking. I doubt that this is on the FAQ sheet going in the front door. Despite the word “Family” all over the place, I saw no mention of the extensive “family law” system or “Family court Facilitator’s Offices” where clients with kids will likely end up sooner of later. Not their problem. …


Why THINK when one can just LINK?

From the Partners & Sponsors website of the home Family Justice Center page:

Partners and Sponsors



With almost 60 Centers in operation and over 100 Family Justice Centers in the planning stages in the United States and the around the world, the National Family Justice Center Alliance is honored to be working with the following agencies to identify topics and speakers for our annual Conference.

A Call to Men
American Domestic Violence Crisis Line
American Prosecutors Research Institute
AVON Foundation
Battered Women’s Justice Project
California Partnership To End Domestic Violence
The California Endowment
Chadwick Center for Children & Families, Rady Children’s Hospital
Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence

Dress For Success
European Union Family Justice Center Alliance
Family Violence Prevention Fund
Feminist Majority Foundation
FJC Legal Network
Forensic Healthcare Consulting
Gavin de Becker & Associates
Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community
Mental Health Systems, Inc.
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Criminal Justice Reference Service
National District Attorneys Association
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National University
Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, United States Department of Justice
Office on Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice
Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
Relationship Training Institute
San Diego Domestic Violence Council
Sexual Assault Family Violence Investigator Course
Taiwan Association of Social Workers
The Verizon Foundation
Vital Voices
Wynn Consulting
YWCA San Diego

Working together, the International Family Justice Center conference is rapidly becoming:

  • The primary training venue and learning exchange opportunity for professionals working in Family Justice Centers
  • One of the best conferences for substantive training on domestic violence, sexual assault, children exposed to violence, and elder abuse.
  • The gathering place for academics, practitioners, policy makers, and national leaders to set the course for the future of the Family Justice Center Movement

And in fact, for just about anyone except those affected by these policies.

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

December 31, 2010 at 2:16 pm

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