Update on the ISIS-generated collapse of the Norwegian government.

I guess ISIS – what’s left of it – can claim this as a major victory. The seasoned terrorist Norway now harbors – a person who refused to give medical authorities her dying child until she brokered a deal to get her own ass out of al-Hol camp – is so dangerous and degenerate and expensive and awful that Norway’s crucial governing partners pulled out of that country’s coalition in protest against the decision to let her in, and the government has collapsed.

Don’t hold your breath for the in-solidarity-with-this-poor-mother march through the streets of Oslo.

So, let’s review.

Point One: All women in al-Hol camp are, like this woman, innocent.

She continues to claim she’s innocent of the terrorism charges against her, while setting off the threat of a government crisis that was more real than ever Monday morning…

The 29-year-old woman at the center of the conflict, meanwhile, continues to claim that she had nothing to do with actual terrorist activities over the past several years. Newspaper Aftenposten has reported that she’s charged with traveling to the Middle East in 2013 and being involved first with the Al-Qaida-linked terror group Jabhat al-Nusra and later the Islamic State (IS).

She has told Aftenposten, however, that she merely was looking for a way to avoid being forced by her family in Oslo to marry a Pakistani cousin. She was born in Pakistan…

Born in Pakistan. Is she a citizen of Pakistan? Can she apply for Pakistani citizenship? And how plausible that in order to avoid a forced marriage she decided her best move was to join a terrorist organization that matched her with serial sperm depositors! For seven years. The women in al-Hol are the last holdouts of ISIS – she fought to the bitter end.

Point Two: ‘[H]er defense attorney has argued that it will be difficult to prove any actual terrorist activity.’ Uh, yeah. Why do you think countries don’t want terrorists back? I mean, aside from the obvious, which is that they’re terrorists. Because it will be difficult to prove any actual terrorist activity. I mean, haha, define your terms! One man’s ISIS fanatic is another man’s Aunt Bee! Plus listen – turns out things get pretty chaotic in seventh-century cults/war zones… Turns out people don’t keep records! I mean, maybe this woman kept a diary, like Earnest’s Gwendolyn, to have something sensational to read in the train! Today I whipped my Yazidi slave until she bled. The weather still continues charming. Let’s check it out during her custody hearing!

Point Three: ‘Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide reported that claims would be lodged against the woman to pay for her own travel expenses back to Norway.’ Travel expenses, security expenses, medical expenses, housing expenses, child care, court costs – we’re right on it! Her work as the camp IT specialist earned her massive bucks, some of which will go toward a villa in Palo Alto, but a portion of which will come right to us, the government of Norway. Don’t worry that your tax dollars are paying for your country to fly back, surveil, and house a Pakistani-born, veteran ISIS fanatic.

Something for UD to like, and something for Mr UD to like, in the New York Times Presidential Endorsements.

They’ve endorsed two candidates this time around: Elizabeth Warren (my pick) and Amy Klobuchar (about whom Mr UD is enthusiastic).

The ‘Fuck the Veil’ Movement Proceeds Apace.

Not that Iran cares about so many of its women – including a high-profile Olympics champ, who has defected to the Netherlands – very militantly casting off compulsory veiling. Put them in jail if they’re here; ignore them if they’re there… But swaddled masses yearning to breathe free can prove quite pesky if they’re truly able to… mass. We shall see. Indications are excellent. Even in places you’d never expect it.

Ho! Minibus.

Should provide interesting ultrapissed ultraorthodox viewing.

I know – losing all their chess players is the least of their worries.

Still – laugh with UD through this article about Iran’s absurd self-destructive tyrannies, and the spirited rebels who aren’t having any of it.

Some Good News with which to Start the Year.

1.) Austria’s Conservative and Green parties have agreed plans to extend a headscarf ban in schools … [Austria’s new Conservative/Green governing coalition] deal includes banning the headscarf in schools for girls up to age 14, an extension of the garment ban that applies until age 10 approved by lawmakers earlier this year.

If women want to cover, they can decide that for themselves; the business of forcing it on children is disgusting. Note too what UD has been saying for years: Opposition to compulsory covering of girls is one of the few issues on which left and right in many countries agree.



… “White Wednesday” and “My Stealthy Freedom” campaigns have seen women film themselves without hijabs in public in Iran, which can bring arrests and fines. [Even with the threat of jail] there have been signs of women increasingly pushing back against the requirement.

During a trip to Iran in July, an Associated Press journalist spotted about two dozen women in the streets without a hijab over the course of nine days. Many other women opted for loosely draped colorful scarves that show as much hair as they cover.

While there have been women fined and arrested, others have been left alone as Iran struggles with economic problems and other issues under re-imposed U.S. sanctions …

‘Even though the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of religion, this does not give carte blanche to people to do anything they want by claiming that it is religious practice.’

Lise Ravary, a writer for the Montreal Gazette, makes the simple, crucial argument UD‘s been making since Blog Day One: Despite Katha Pollitt’s lazy claim that “religion is what people make of it,” religion actually isn’t anything people might claim it is. All sorts of acts, ranging from socially destructive to barbaric, are routinely defended as religious, and secular societies have an obligation to scrutinize these acts and when appropriate call them legally out of bounds.

“When she wanted to get the party going, a very progressive lawyer friend of mine liked to argue that female genital mutilation is none of the state’s business and should be allowed under the Charter [of Rights and Freedoms],” notes Ravary, who shares UD‘s incredulity that any self-respecting state would let this progressive lawyer have her way. Few things are more subject to state concern than large-scale physical assault against children.

States similarly have the right – again, I’d say the obligation – to respond to the desire of the people to sustain their secular identity in social places where this seems important. Thus, the bill Ravary talks about, which forbids religious symbols, “applies only to public service workers in positions of authority, including teachers, police officers, prison guards and Crown prosecutors, while they are at work.” So this means no, you cannot wear a niqab and teach at the same time; and if you are unable to imagine life in the social world without your niqab on you at all times, you are going to be unable to teach in the Quebec public sector. This is of course true of many other localities, including France and England.

Liberal Drug Laws – Narco State?

The high-profile arrest, in Dubai, of a spectacularly murderous drug lord based in the Netherlands, prompts a BBC article which touches on a disturbing possibility: Liberal drug laws (which UD, as an old hippie, tends to go for) attract the cartels. “… 59% of [the Dutch believe] the Netherlands [is] now a narco-state.”

[A] report commissioned by the mayor or Amsterdam in August described the capital as a “Valhalla for drugs criminals .” … The Netherlands has in a sense created the perfect environment for the drugs trade to flourish. With its extensive transport network, its lenient drug laws and penalties, and its proximity to a number of lucrative markets, it is an obvious hub for the global narcotics flow.

‘[Justice Robert] Mainville, for his part, said it would be “imprudent” to assume the law would be declared unconstitutional, since several other western democracies have successfully enacted similar legislation.’

The Court of Appeal upholds Quebec’s secularism law.


[A]s an image, the blacked-out face of a woman, the alleged obscenity of a woman’s face and hair which must apparently be hidden from view to please God, is not conducive to the post-religious value of democratic equality and democratic engagement.

‘[T]he preacher suffers from a “mental illness” and has been responsible for simple assaults on previous occasions.’

The Magic Kingdom: Where a violent demented man pursues a fine living as an Islamic preacher who throws shoes at women on the street if they’re only wearing a hijab and abaya.

“If a woman reveals her face and allows men to smell her perfume, she is an adulteress,” he spoke at the top of his lungs.

Ladies of the world! Saudi Arabia is currently making a big tourism push! Remember to pack black gloves, black tights, black flats, a hijab, an abaya, a chador, a burkini, a niqab, a burqa, Moccasin Joe, and a helmet.

Andrew Sullivan on Boris Johnson

[He] moved the party sharply left on austerity, spending on public services, tax cuts for the working poor, and a higher minimum wage. He outflanked the far right on Brexit and shamelessly echoed the left on economic policy.

This is Trumpism without Trump. A conservative future without an ineffective and polarizing nutjob at the heart of it. Johnson now has a mandate to enact this new Tory alignment, and he will be far more competent than Trump at it. Unlike Trump, he will stop E.U. mass migration, and pass a new immigration system, based on the Australian model. Unlike Trump, he will focus tax cuts on the working poor, not the decadent rich… [If Boris succeeds,] he will have found a new formula designed to kill off far-right populism, while forcing the left to regroup.

The political sweet spot in the next few years will be a combination of left economics and a celebration of the nation-state… If Johnson succeeds, he’ll have unveiled a new formula for the Western right: Make no apologies for your own country and culture; toughen immigration laws; increase public spending on the poor and on those who are “just about managing”; increase taxes on the very rich and redistribute to the poor; focus on manufacturing and new housing; ignore the woke; and fight climate change as the Tories are (or risk losing a generation of support). That’s where the GOP will have to go if they want to recover from becoming an authoritarian cult.


Also: An interview before the election with Nimco Ali.

An honest and thoughtful take on the burqa from Brandon Robshaw.

It’s rare – because politically incorrect – for academics to admit that burqas pose a real problem in intellectual settings. Instead they end up saying the most moronic shit about the glories of teaching silent invisible women. So bravo Robshaw for stating the obvious but still socially unacceptable: Burqas make teaching pretty much impossible. Good on Robshaw, too, for disposing of the whole Islamophobe thing.

If someone offers arguments why the burqa should be banned, you can call them an Islamophobe if you like – you might even be right – but you haven’t engaged with their arguments. Even if the arguments are advanced without sincerity, they still need to be judged on their merits. Someone else who decidedly wasn’t an Islamophobe could come along and advance the same arguments, and then what could you say?

We’re getting there, folks.

A Powerful Critic of Poland’s Reactionary Government…

… endures legal harassment from the same. Background, and a protest letter, here.

“Crucially, because Muthana’s 18-month-old son was born outside the US and the father was a Tunisian ISIS fighter, the question of whether Muthana is a US citizen determines her son’s citizenship, too.”

This Vox piece is the best summary of Hoda Muthana’s situation I’ve seen; it predates a judge’s recent ruling that she is not in fact an American citizen. Certainly the details in my headline suggest that, along with requesting Yemeni citizenship (her father was born in Yemen), Muthana could approach Tunisia on behalf of herself and her son.

Furthermore, ISIS remains wealthy; it is certainly in a position to give Muthana and her son money to buy citizenship in any number of countries that trade citizenship for hard cash. She might ask private wealthy sympathizers (from the Gulf states?) to give her money; or a Go Fund Me page might be set up by family and friends for this purpose.

The only full-throated defense of welcoming Muthana back to the States that I’ve seen is Noah Feldman’s sober warning that revoking her citizenship will “set a terrible precedent for others whom the government might try to strip of their citizenship in the future.”

To which ol’ UD says: Well, there’s precedent and there’s precedent. How often, in fact, has the US government revoked a person’s citizenship? My sense is that it happens exceedingly rarely. And why? Because it’s exceedingly rare that a US citizen voluntarily leaves the country to become a terrorist in an organization at war with the US, an organization that carries out mass murder all over the world, and in its own territory tortures, takes slaves, and publicly beheads. As her first act abroad, Muthana filmed herself burning to ashes her despised passport; and as her second act she broadcast international propaganda calling for the extermination of Americans. This series of acts Feldman characterizes as “offending public sentiment.”

The next time a U.S. citizen abroad offends public sentiment, you can expect the government to start looking for ways to pull his or her citizenship. That prospect is worrying to say the least.

Yes, the next time some old hippie in France burns the American flag you can expect… Really? Muthana did much more than hurt our feelings; she tried to fucking kill us. UD‘s beloved Christopher Hitchens said it best: My enemies are the theocratic fascists… I want to destroy them. In the case of Hoda Muthana we want to keep her out of our country rather than destroy her.

Feldman points out that this desire originated with the politically liberal Obama presidency; his administration was the first to tell her no. In this extreme case of indeed virtually unprecedented degeneracy and obvious threat, public sentiment is not offended; it is united in being justifiably terrified and disgusted.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE