What do you do when the Saudis [more properly, computers in Saudi Arabia] shut down your blog?
I dunno. It occurs to me that maybe I should retaliate. But how would I do such a thing? Not buy gasoline? Nah, that wouldn’t work. Gasoline is fungible, which means it comes from all sorts of countries — Saudi Arabia being only a small percent. Besides, if I buy from companies known not to buy Mideast oil, I end up funding Hugo Chavez. (That’s a hell of a way to punish the Saudis.)
Instead of retaliation, how about doing some basic reporting? There’s a Saudi madrassa in my neighborhood which has recently applied for a permit to expand. Here’s what they want to do:

Appeal No. 3975
Applicant: Foundation for Islamic Education
Property: 1860 W Montgomery Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085
R 1 Residence District
Election District #6
The Foundation for Islamic Education seeks a special exception under ?155-11 S(4), ?155-11 S(1)(e) and/or 155-11 X to expand its existing religious and educational institution use for the following:
? A licensed Elementary School for grades pre-K through 8 with 93 students and 13 faculty/staff personnel, with a future enrollment up to 130 students.
? A 6-week summer camp program for up to 25 children, ages 4-12.
? Increase the number of retreats permitted to 10 per year with no more than 2 per month.
? Increase the Friday Juma Prayer session to allow up to 150 attendees.
? Increase Sunday School classes to allow up to 160 students.
? Increase various Holiday attendance to allow up to 400 attendees.
? Increase staff residence to allow the 6 current individuals/families to remain and allow accommodations for a security guard, gardener, maintenance supervisor, VAHS principal, Islamic Arabic teacher, and provide two guest rooms for lecturers.
The Foundation also requests that if it is determined that any additional parking spaces are required that the Zoning Hearing Board waive up to 50% of the required spaces as permitted under ?155-95 AA(4) and/or grant a special exception under ?155-95.1 to hold the additional parking spaces in reserve.

Maybe I should go check out the paperwork.
I think I might as well put on a suit and go down to my local planning department.
Hey, if they won’t let me blog [whoever “they” may be], I might as well do something!
Besides, according to Tom Maguire, the MSM complains that bloggers do too much sitting around, and they need to rely on shoe leather.
The problem is, I hate bureaucracy.
UPDATE: I just returned, having wasted an hour to discover that no one can find the file, and that the person responsible won’t be in until next week. Why am I not surprised?
I guess that’s what they mean by the term “shoe leather.” To be a “real” reporter means spending a lot of time running around for nothing. Chasing down Google leads on the Internet would probably be more productive.
On the Internet, for example, you can find out stuff you’d never learn about from a bureaucrat, because, assuming you asked questions, (as Howard Kurtz would have us do), the bureaucrats would most likely not know. And if they did know, they probably wouldn’t tell you.
If you ask the Internet, on the other hand, it will generally tell you whatever is there.
And when you find something, if you save it on your hard drive, it will always be there — even if the links expire.
Like this story:

A Home in America
Displaced for decades, ethnic minority Turks settle in the Philadelphia area. The language is daunting, the regulations burdensome, but finally they’re making a home in this country.

Some live in dormitories on the grounds of an Islamic center tucked along the Main Line, and a few live amid the farmhouses of Lancaster. But many more are close to Russian canteens in the strip malls of the city’s Northeast.

The “Islamic center tucked in along the Main Line” would be the very Foundation for Islamic Education now seeking the zoning change. (Here’s a peek inside their dormitories.)
As the website proudly proclaims, it’s run by the American Open University. It’s probably worth noting that the Washington DC area director of American Open University was deported and the Fairfax madrassa raided last year.
It occurred to me that the least I could do would be to take a look at their local zoning file. That, it seems to me, is what any decent reporter would do anyway. Even though I’m not a “real” reporter, I just have this funny feeling (dare I call it a “reporter’s hunch”?) that if I didn’t look at the file, no “real” reporter would.
The problem is, they haven’t let me see the file. That creates a feeling of (ugh!) responsibility.
Not sure I like this “reporter” stuff at all . . .
MORE: What’s pasted below consists of old links which I found in 2004, along with some of my usual gratuitous unprofessional commentary.
AND MORE: Men’s News Daily has a writeup of the DOS attack titled “Conservative Blogs Suffer Cyber Attack Originating in Saudi Arabia.” Little Green Footballs, Captain Ed, and Power Line (and of course yours truly) were among those affected.
AND MORE (4/29/06): Michelle Malkin discusses the attack in more detail, and lists many more blogs which were affected. Adds Michelle,

We are all affected by cyberterrorist tactics, wherever they may originate.

We should all be concerned about the ideological motive too.

From a Google cache which expired long ago:

The American Open University
Don’t let the name deceive you. Study great Islamic courses via correspondance. Material by Sheikh Ali al-Timimi and Sheikh Jamal ad-deen Zarabozo amongst others, is used. Accredited by Al-Azhar.

Material by Ali al-Timimi? Who might that be? And why was the web site shut down so I have to provide a Google cache?
At least they can’t stop me from sharing what’s in today’s (September 24, 2004) Philadelphia Inquirer:

Va. man charged as leader of jihad group
Ali Al-Timimi is accused of inciting young Muslims in the U.S. to train for holy war and aid the Taliban.

Among the man’s “teachings”?

According to court documents, Timimi said at the Sept. 16, 2001, meeting that the Sept. 11 attacks heralded the “final battle between Islam and the infidels as foretold in the Koran.”
The indictment also alleges that Timimi sent an e-mail to supporters after the Columbia shuttle disaster of February 2003, suggesting it was “a good omen” that “Western supremacy (especially that of America) that began 500 years ago is coming to an end, God willing.”

Here’s a tidbit from the Washington Post on Timini’s connections with the “American Open University”:

When Timimi’s Fairfax house was searched by the FBI this spring, items seized included Khafagi’s personal papers, which Timimi was holding for safekeeping. The two had been IANA’s representatives to the 1995 international women’s conference in Beijing, where IANA argued against Western feminism and defended female circumcision, which is practiced in some Islamic societies.
Investigators at multiple federal agencies are trying to sort out the network’s seemingly innumerable links, some of which lead back to the same nondescript office building at 360 S. Washington St. in Falls Church. It is there that Timimi used to lecture at Dar al Arqam, the same religious center frequented by another internationally known Salafi imam, Jaafar Idris. His lectures, like Timimi’s, are posted on extremist Web sites around the world, including IANA’s.
Idris is president of the American Open University in Fairfax, a “distance learning” center that uses the Web to promote Salafi teaching. The university has received funding from IANA, according to tax records.

NOTE: The above mention of Dr. Idris by the Washington Post was called “hate speech” by the Muslim Civil Rights Center.
One of the guys already in prison is Mohammad Aatique of Norristown, PA a leading expert on cell phone technology:

Aatique’s specialty was mobile phone technology, and his master’s thesis was on ways in which cell phones could be adapted so emergency 911 operators could pinpoint their location if a person dialed for help.
“He was a very nice guy ? very sincere and a very serious student. He did good thorough work,” said Aatique’s thesis adviser at Virginia Tech, professor Brian Woerner. “To be honest, I am very shocked and saddened.”

Aatique’s thesis can be read here.
More on the Aatique-Timimi connection. (And here.)
The spiritual leader of both the local madrassa (the Foundation for Islamic Education) and the American Open University is AOU’s founder, Sheikh Jaafar Idris. (He was deported in July, and so his links to the other schools are tougher and tougher to track down. Conspirators work that way.)
Here’s what he says about secularism (which he wants to defeat):

Contemporary Western, secular societies are the clearest examples of the shifting, self-contradictory nature of jahili civilization. From one angle it views culture and the values it rests upon as a relative, variable phenomenon. However, from another angle it characterizes some values as human values, views their violation as shocking, and punishes their violators severely. The sources of this problem are two fundamental principles which democratic secular societies rely upon. The first is majority rule as a standard for right and wrong in speech and behavior; the second is the principle of individual freedom. These two principles will necessarily conflict with each other if they are not subordinated to another principle that will judge between them. Secularism, by its very nature, rejects religion, and in its Western form it does not consider fitrah (innate values) a criterion for what is beneficial or harmful for humanity. It has no alternative but to make these two principles an absolute standard for what behavior is permissible and appropriate, and what isn’t. The contradiction and conflict between these two principles is showing itself plainly in some of the current hot issues in these societies. Those who advocate the acceptance of homosexuality and the granting to avowed homosexuals equal rights and opportunities in every aspect of life, including military service, base their argument on the principle of individual rights. They see no one as having the right to concern themselves with what they call their “sexual orientation.” The same argument is made by supporters of abortion. You frequently hear them say incredulously, “How can I be prohibited from freedom of choice in my own affairs and over my own body? What right do legal authorities have to involve themselves in such personal matters?” The only argument their opponents can muster is that this behavior contradicts the values held by the majority of the population. Even though the basis for many people’s opposition to abortion is moral or religious, they can’t come out and say so openly, nor can they employ religious or moral arguments, since secular society finds neither of them acceptable. If we accept that there is no basis for values except individual or majority opinion, and that it is therefore possible for all values to change from one era to another, and from one society to another, this means there is no connection between values and what will benefit or harm people in their material and spiritual lives, which in turn means that all values are equality valid and it doesn’t matter which values a given society accepts or rejects. However, this means that all behavior considered abhorrent by secular societies today, such as sexual molestation of children and rape of women for which it has serious penalties, are considered repulsive only because of current inclination, which might change tomorrow, so certain serious crimes may become acceptable, based on the principle of individual freedom. The reason a secularist is confused when posed with certain questions is that his repugnance toward such crimes is not really based on these two principles, which have become the only accepted bases for argument in societies dominated by secularism; the real reason for it is the remnants of the moral feelings he still possesses from the original nature with which Allah endowed him, and which linger on in spite of his secularism. Perhaps the confusion of the secularist would increase if he were asked for what reason he had given such precedence to these democratic values, until he made them the standard by which all other values and behaviors are judged. If he says his reverence for them is based merely on current personal preference and inclination, or on cultural chauvinism, he will have no reply to one who opposes him on the basis of his contradictory personal preferences, or because the norms of his society differ from those of the other. The flimsy foundation of values in secular societies makes them liable to turn at any time against all the values they currently hold dear. It also paves the way for them to descend to their practices of the occupation and colonization of weaker nations. There is nothing to make them refrain from doing so, once one of them stands up and announces that there is a nationalist benefit to be gained by it and a large number of fellow citizens believe him. His policy proposal becomes official policy, based on the standard of majority approval. It is, however, as you can see, an approval based on nothing more than greed. This has been the justification for every transgression in history. In fact it is the basis on which any animal attacks another. Personal freedom and majority rule are not, then, the fundamental values on which secular culture is based. That is because freedom entails choice, but it is not the criterion for that choice. I mean that whoever is given the freedom to choose needs a standard that he can use as the criterion for his choice. Likewise, majority opinion is not itself the standard; it is merely the result of many individual choices made on the basis of some standard. So what is the basis for the choices of a free individual and a free society in the secular system? It is, without the slightest doubt, those whims and desires which have taken the place of the real Deity.

And here he is on atheists, whom Idris believes are polytheists:

….atheists do believe in creators, albeit they do not recognize them under that appellation. This is so because atheists, in their endeavor to find alternatives to God for explaining the existence of the temporal things we see around us, invent some imaginary entities and give them some of the essential attributes of God.
Thus materialistic atheists used to believe in matter as such a god. But this matter-god of theirs is not the matter with which we are familiar in our daily life; it is something that is eternal and everlasting, hence the statement, which used to masquerade as a scientific fact, ?matter is neither created nor destroyed.? But when you ask them to point this eternal and everlasting matter you discover that they are only chasing a will-o?-the-wisp. The matter that we can recognize and to which we can point is matter in the form of the large heavenly bodies, in the form of earthly physical things, and in the form of the constituents of these things: molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, photons, etc., none of which is eternal. Atheistic materialists used to believe in an eternal matter behind all such material things which come and go, but the advent of the ?big bang? theory shattered all hopes in the existence of such matter. Scientists now believe that everything?matter, energy, even space and time?had a beginning. In fact they speak about a moment of creation of all these things.
…..all atheists are in fact polytheists, or mushriks. A mushrik, according to Islam, is one who believes in a god or gods besides, or to the exclusion of, the one true God, or who worships such gods, even if he also worships the true God. That perhaps is the reason why the Qur?an never talks about atheists, but only about mushriks (or polytheists).

Do the American fundamentalists who denounce Allah know that along with the atheists, they’re mushriks? Interested readers can listen to both Tamimi and Idris denouncing mushrik Falwell and all other mushriks here. Here’s an excerpt from Tamimi’s “They have lost the war” (transcribed as quickly as I could type):

“We need to rally to the call… by trying to enter into discussions with these unbelievers. Show them the wickedness of their ways. Say unto Pharoah a kind word that perhaps he might repent. A large number of Christians have shown that they are angered by these attacks on the Prophet. We need to bring these people to court for slander. They have insulted Allah. They have insulted the believers.”

Why can’t these mushriks unite?
Here’s Idris on democracy:

Democracy has not found in its entire history the popularity it now enjoys. Most Western thinkers since the Greek period have criticized, and even refuted the idea. The criticism reached the extent that one modern British philosopher declared that if we were to cast a democratic judgement on democracy itself, based on the number of thinkers who voted in its favour, versus those who did not, it would be defeated.

Sheesh. No time for apostasy.