Friday, October 14, 2005

Good old-fashioned scholarship

Juan Cole demonstrates here that some simple scholarship can expose a fake:

The Arabic text of the recently released letter alleged to be by Zawahiri (al-Qaeda's number two man) to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq raises questions for me as to its authenticity.

And the Mandarin means simple:

Adding to the salutation "the peace and blessings of God be upon him [Muhammad]" the phrase "and his family" would be an insult to Zarqawi and to the hardline Sunnis in Iraq.

If "our guys" faked it, are we really that ignorant of the differences between Sunnis and Shiites? Given what passes for knowledge of China and Tibet in our government circles these days, the Mandarin is not optimistic.

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