Laura Mansfield

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Update: It appears CAIR cares

Within an hour after the article appeared on this Blog calling the Muslim community to task for its silence regarding Hurricane Katrina, the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR) updated their website. A special thanks to the folks at CAIR who are on my mailinglist for their rapid response to this entry. What a shame that they had to be publicly asked to do so.


What the terrorists learned from Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans just showed the world the following:

1. The US is incapable of evacuating more than 50% of even a medium size city with 48 hours notice. Evacuation plans do NOT take into consideration those who cannot evacuate because of no cars, no money, etc. Why weren't school buses and public transport mobilized to evacuate the city? Other cities need to add this component to their plans TODAY.

2. The "shelters" are nothing more than disasters waiting to happen, ie SuperDome. 12 hours after power went out at the SuperDome, the people were on the verge of rioting. Toilets haven't been flushed since Monday morning. The roof has open holes in it. There is no A/C. People are being allowed to go out of the Dome for fresh air. Now - imagine a disaster where fresh air is not an option. There is no information being given to people - they claim the SuperDome has no public address system.
But why wasn't this considered in advance.

Why weren't chemical toilets/portapotties brought in? The place is an epidemic waiting to happen.

Why hasn't ANYONE rigged up some sort of device to pump water in to flush toilets? I saw a science fair project by a 12 year old who rigged up a bicycle to generate power to operate a light bulb. I'm sure some enterprising 15 year old could rig up a device powered by bicycle power to run fans for increased ventilation, and run pumps to flush toilets.
They've got lots of bored manpower in a shelter - let the people feel like they are contributing rather than sitting around getting bored, restless, and agitated.

Yes, I know that flushing toilets assumes you have water. The FIRST thing you do in the face of an imminent disaster is fill EVERY container in existance with water. Was that done?

3. Our transportation infrastructure has serious vulnerabilities - i.e.
bridges, tunnels, etc. Major arteries in and out of New Orleans are down and the city is largely cut off by land from the rest of the country. New Orleans isn't the only city with those problems - imagine tunnels and bridges around NYC. Not a pretty thought. Cities who can be cut off by water need to IMMEDIATELY make sure that any disaster plans include use of boats etc for transport in and out of the city after a disaster.

4. Four years after 9/11 we STILL have SERIOUS communications issues. Law enforcement, FEMA, the military, and the rest of the agencies responsible for maintaining/restoring order in New Orleans have been on national TV complaining about problems communicating with each other.

Folks, the jihadis and other enemies of America just got a dry run that gives them intel that is of an absolutely frightening magnitude. Our weaknesses are visible to the world. We have shown we are a wounded giant.

Yes, there are positives. A lot did go right in the planning. Things could have been a lot worse.

But these issues HAVE to be addressed - IMHO it's a matter of national security.



Does Anyone CAIR?

Does Anyone CAIR?

The devastation inflicted on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina has horrified Americans. It seems that every news reports portray a bleaker picture of the region. Private individuals and corporations, as well as churches, synagogues and other religious organizations throughout the nation are pulling together to try and speed relief to the impacted area.

It seems like the disaster, and how we can help victims of the disaster, are first and foremost on everyone’s mind, as it should be.

But once again, more than 2 days since Hurricane Katrina tore through the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the silence of the American Muslim community is deafening.

As of 10 pm ET Wednesday night, the website of the Council for American-Islamic Relations has no mention of the disaster. The news is not full of Islamic leaders joining in the relief efforts – those efforts are left to churches, synagogues, and private charities.

But what about the Muslims of the region?

A quick search shows at least ten Islamic mosques in the New Orleans metro area. Most are certainly under water. Certainly there are Muslims affected by the disaster. Hopefully most evacuated; but the odds are that some of those pulled to safety by rescue crews were Muslim, and certainly some of the 10,000 or more sheltered in the SuperDome are Muslim.

The silence certainly isn’t because Islam doesn’t encourage charity. includes the following explanation of the obligation Muslims have regarding charity:

The Prophet said, "Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is an act of charity." The Prophet also said: "Charity is a necessity for every Muslim."

He was asked: "What if a person has nothing?"

The Prophet replied: "He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity."

The Companions of the Prophet asked: "What if he is not able to work?"

The Prophet said: "He should help the poor and needy."

The Companions further asked: "What if he cannot do even that?"

The Prophet said: "He should urge others to do good."

The Companions said: "What if he lacks that also?"

The Prophet said: "He should check himself from doing evil. That is also an act of charity.

It would appear that the Muslim community has a religious imperative to join in and help with relief efforts in New Orleans.

According to the words of the Prophet Mohamed, only those who are unable to work or contribute in any other way are allowed to simply encourage others to do good, or prevent himself from doing evil.

We’re waiting for the Islamic Communities to join in this relief effort. But the question is: do they CAIR?


Friday, August 05, 2005

Our British friends do express themselves well!


Thursday, August 04, 2005

August 4, 2005. New tape from Ayman Zawahiri released on Al Jazeera this morning

In the tape, played on Al Jazeera TV at approximately 8 am ET this morning, Zawahiri mentions the London bombings, and claims that more are on the way. He claims that the destruction of London will be felt again in London, and will also be felt in the United States.

Some preliminary observations:

1. The black turban worries me. Zawahiri traditionally wears a white turban.

2. The position of the gunsight is proximate to the body, rather than away from the body. That has in the past been correlated with attacks within 2-15 days after the airing of a tape.

3. In the portion of the tape I have translated so far I have seen NO mention of the death of King Fahd. That indicates to me that the tape was made prior to the announcement of the death of Fahd.

A full translation and analysis is underway.

Clieck here to listen to the 2 minute, 3 second excerpt from the tape at the Al Jazeera site