Why is the V&A hiding a picture of Mohammed from its website?

The V&A has recently decided to remove an historic image of the Prophet Mohammed from its website. The image remains in the collection and will be made available to scholars and researchers by appointment.

I am not sure it is a very uplifting example, this censorship of the past, but they are certainly not alone in doing this.  Indeed over the last generation, a slow but efficient iconoclasm has been at work in Britain pruning images of the Prophet from published books, not just about the life of the Prophet but also illustrated surveys of Islamic Art.  It is extraordinary how successful this campaign has been, based not on any physical threat but on a deluge of orchestrated complaints by telephone and email.  And if you are the publisher of an Islamic interest book, receiving hundreds if not thousands of messages from your target audience telling you that this book would have been bought, except for the inclusion of an ‘offensive’ illustration – well this message certainly gets through to the marketing department.


Watching the spywatchers: Canada’s spy review board’s members free to have ties to foreign governments

“I think we need a serious review of the security standards and practices as they relate to decision-making in the Privy Council Office and the PMO, stemming from episodes like these,” said former CSIS intelligence operative David Harris, who now works for a counter-intelligence consulting company in Ottawa.

He called Dr. Couillard’s relationship with the Saudi government “completely inappropriate,” and said Canada must appear “absurdly soft-touched” for allowing even an advisory tie to a country that employs one of the strictest interpretations of Sharia law. Mr. Harris said there has been some speculation the country’s medical establishment is complicit in carrying out cruel judicial punishments such as amputations.

Last year, a Saudi judge reportedly asked several hospitals whether they would damage a man’s spinal cord as punishment for attacking another man. At least one hospital signaled it was willing. Dr. Couillard, an international healthcare advisor with SECOR in Quebec, did not respond to a request for comment on the Saudi health ministry’s alleged involvement in Sharia-based punishment.


Truth is an Essential Weapon in a War of Ideas

Michel Coulombe, Director of CSIS when responding to a reporter’s question about the absence of the word “Islam” in a report they had prepared on homegrown terrorism explained, “We prefer to talk about terrorism inspired by al-Qaida ideology”.

Really? I’d prefer that we didn’t have to talk about terrorist attacks at all but wishing won’t make it so and since that’s the case, I’d prefer that we had a CSIS Director who wasn’t afraid of properly naming the threat we’re facing.


The Time of the Assassins

The time of the assassins is upon us. And the true tragedy of the Arab and Muslim world today is that there is no organized, legitimate counterforce to oppose these murderers—neither one of governments nor of “moderate” Islam. Nor is there any refuge for those who want to escape the assassins.

Instead, there is only the grim promise of further disintegration


The Imaginary Islamic Radical

A radical terrorist will kill you. A moderate terrorist will talk to you and then kill someone else. And you’ll ignore it because the conversation is a sign that they’re willing to pretend to be reasonable.

Our problem is not the Islamic radical, but the inherent radicalism of Islam. Islam is a radical religion. It radicalizes those who follow it. Every atrocity we associate with Islamic radicals is already in Islam. The Koran is not the solution to Islamic radicalism, it is the cause.

Our enemy is not radicalism, but a hostile civilization bearing grudges and ambitions.


The Illegal Bergdahl Deal: Sordid Details, Troubling Implications

Leaders of the U.S. intelligence community and military were opposed to freeing five senior Taliban commanders in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl when the White House first began exploring the prisoner swap in 2011 and 2012. The U.S. military wanted to bring Bergdahl home, but releasing Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and Mohammed Nabi Omari was seen as too dangerous at the time.

James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, according to three U.S. intelligence officials flat out rejected the release of the five detainees, saying there was too high a risk these Taliban commanders would return to the battlefield and orchestrate attacks against Americans. Clapper was not alone. Leon Panetta, who was then the Secretary of Defense, declined to certify that the United States could mitigate the risk to national interests of releasing the Taliban commanders…Current U.S. intelligence and defense officials who spoke to The Daily Beast on Monday say the process for exchanging Taliban for Bergdahl this time was rushed and closely held, in some instances leaving little room for any push back against a policy clearly favored by the White House. “This was an example of forcing the consensus,” one U.S. military official said. “The White House knew the answer they wanted and they ended up getting it.”