Thursday, 16 September 2004

Islam in China

The BBC had an interesting story today on Islam in the Ningxia province, “the heartland of Islam in China.” Chinese Islam is, according to the story, more progressive than the variety found in the Middle East. There are even a few female imams.

Beijing's tight control over religious practice means Chinese Muslims have been isolated from trends sweeping through the rest of the Islamic world.

According to Dr Khaled Abou el Fadl from the University of California in Los Angeles, that means that ancient traditions like female jurists – which have been stamped out elsewhere – have been able to continue in China.

“The Wahhabi and Salafis have not been able to penetrate areas like China and establish their puritanical creed there,” said Dr Khaled Abou el Fadl.

Endorsement of the day

Kofi Annan: Not helping John Kerry

You’d think—or at least want to hope—those “foreign leaders” who want John Kerry to be elected in November would be politically smarter than Kofi Annan, who decided to sex up his complaint that the conflict in Iraq was “not in conformity” with U.N. resolutions today by calling it “illegal” in an interview with the BBC World Service. If, as unnamed Annan critics allegedly charge in the New York Times account, the U.N. secretary-general is “trying to influence politics in important member countries, notably the United States” (presumably to help Kerry), I think he is making a big mistake on two fronts:

  1. Kerry’s dubious claim that he can bring in allies that the Bush administration can’t is undermined by Annan’s statement. No country not in Iraq now will sign on to an “illegal” occupation and stabilization force. Of course, non-participants (most notably, the French) already severely undercut this claim when they stated they foresaw no circumstances under which they would participate, but this adds another nail to the coffin of Kerry’s Iraq policy (such that it is).

  2. Annan’s “cowboy talk” unnecessarily increases tension between the United States and the U.N., at a time when congressional goodwill toward the organization is cratered. Furthermore, since no responsible American government will ever concede that the Iraq invasion was “illegal” (a charge not even made by Howard Dean), it will further erode official U.S. support for the U.N.‘s pronouncements on the “legality” or “illegality” of actions and for the U.N. process in general.

Meanwhile, of course, the Security Council fiddles while Darfur burns; perhaps Annan’s attention should be more focused on bringing the U.N. together to stop the genocide in Sudan rather than rehashing past disputes.

How far we've fallen

Doug at writes:

Vandy at Ole Miss on Saturday, so keep your fingers crossed. I smell an upset brewing.

What’s truly scary is that the Rebels are 0–2 and still favored by a touchdown. (Mind you, even if I did bet on sports, I wouldn’t go within a mile of this one.)


Today’s free book in the mail: Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America by Mo Fiorina. It looks promising, is not obscenely overpriced, and might be a fun supplement for either Public Opinion or Intro in the spring.