Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Obama enables Islam

He may not be a Muslim (I don't think he is), but Obama sure does like to enable it, even or especially its more radical ends...
Another great article from Middle East watcher Raymond Ibrahim, who closely researches and translates Arab media:
"World Leaders Lambast Obamas 'Failures', in the Middle East".
... Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, indirectly point to the Obama administration’s failures in the Middle East.  This occurred during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, in the context of the Presbyterian Church of the USA’s recent decision to divest from Israel in the name of the Palestinian people.
After pointing out that “Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East”—and nary a word of condemnation or concern from the Presbyterian Church—Netanyahu said:
You know, I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference.  And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor-plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.
While not directly mentioning the U.S.’s role in these three nations... the obvious is clear: 1) the U.S. played a major role “liberating” two of these countries—Iraq and Libya—and is currently supporting the freedom fighters/terrorists trying to “liberate” Syria; and 2) in all three nations, the human rights of non-Muslims, specifically Christians, have taken a dramatic nosedive, evincing the nature of those the U.S. helped empower.

Monday, 28 July 2014

More nonsensical moral equivalence on Islam

Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church USA withdrew $21 million worth in investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government’s actions “harm the Palestinian people.”
Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church’s move. Netanyahu responded:
It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.
It’s difficult—if not impossible—to argue with Netanyahu’s logic. Indeed, several points made in his one-minute response are deserving of some reflection.

Why I don't criticise Israel

From the inimitable Sam Harris.
Israel is losing the PR battle.  But there's a difference in intent here.  The intent of Hamas is to kill all Jews.  The intent of Israel is to stop the indiscriminate bombing of Israeli civilians.
Sam Harris asks: what would each side do if it could do what it wants?  Hamas would kill all Jews.  Israel would live in peace with peaceful neighbours.  There's a clear moral dichotomy here.
I recall a summary of Israel-Palestine:
"If Palestinian lay down their arms there will be peace; if Israel lays down its arms it will be annihilated".
But what of the West Bank?  Again, if Palestinians had taken on Gaza and focussed on economic development -- instead of bombing Israel -- the west bank issue would already have been sorted. Why should they give over more land, when the land they've already given is used as a base to kill its people?
Sam Harris:
And again, you have to ask yourself, what do these groups want? What would they accomplish if they could accomplish anything? What would the Israelis do if they could do what they want? They would live in peace with their neighbors, if they had neighbors who would live in peace with them. They would simply continue to build out their high tech sector and thrive.
What do groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and even Hamas want? They want to impose their religious views on the rest of humanity. They want stifle every freedom that decent, educated, secular people care about. This is not a trivial difference. And yet judging from the level of condemnation that Israel now receives, you would think the difference ran the other way.
This kind of confusion puts all of us in danger. This is the great story of our time. For the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children, we are going to be confronted by people who don’t want to live peacefully in a secular, pluralistic world, because they are desperate to get to Paradise, and they are willing to destroy the very possibility of human happiness along the way. The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

GM scaremongering in Africa is disarming the fight against poverty

Guardian article here.
As my fellow authors and I note in a Chatham House report, opponents have waged effective campaigns against GM technology based on misinformation and scaremongering.
[like Prince Charles and his uninformed (uninformable..) ilk]

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Man Who Wasn't There

BBC radio today had a guest who claimed that the Sudan apostasy case was nothing but a family spat which "got out of control". Nothing to do with Islam, you know...
But if Islam didn't have a doctrine that apostates must be killed, there would have been nothing for the "family spat" to draw on.  Yet it does have such a requirement.  The Umdat al-Salik, the classic manual of Islamic jurisprudence, makes it clear: any person who apostasies from Islam must be killed. (o8.1)

And, the inimitable Steyn: "The man who wasn't there".

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Let spoiled airlines fund third runway, not the public purse

Letter to South China Morning Post:
As usual, Jake nails it.  (Let spoiled airlines fund third runway, not the public purse, Jake’s view, 22 July).
The spruikers of a third runway demand that we taxpayers stump up at least $200 billion to pay for a third runway at Chek Lap Kok. 
That’s $ 30,000 for every man, woman and child in Hong Kong.  Or nearly $200,000 per taxpayer.
Surely the proponents of the third runway owe us an explanation: why they don’t increase the efficiency of the airport, before demanding that we spend vast sums on more concrete? 
We are told by various sources that efficiency of the airport has dropped dramatically in recent years, as more narrow-bodied aircraft flying to secondary airports are allowed landing slots.  These should be weeded out, to focus on wide-bodied jets servicing key cities. 
Why not address that issue first?
Can the Airport Authority come clean on this issue?
Yours, etc,
Peter F...

Battle lines drawn in Hong Kong

One iron rule I learnt when working as a diplomat in China was this: never ask a question if it will only provoke the answer you don't wish to hear. [Tim Collard, SCMP, 22nd July 2014] 
As a diplomat myself in China, I agree 100% with Tim Collard.
Hong Kong now divides now has a clear divide ("one divides into two" -- yi fen wei er -- as Mao Tse-tung said).
1.  The pan-democrats, or the "crash and burn" lot: who want prospective Chief Executive candidates to be chosen by the public
2.  The rest of us -- the silent majority -- who say that's not allowed in the Basic Law of Hong Kong, and who care to keep what we have than to risk a confrontation with China.  The candidates should be selected by a nomination committee.  We'd rather not "ask the question" (for public nomination) when we know the answer will be bad.
I'm rather on Collard's side on this...
His opinion piece is below the fold

Friday, 25 July 2014

Islam again show its uniquness

Courtesy PEW research
82% of countries that require their Head of State to believe in a particular religion are Muslim....
(Pew tries to muddy the waters and make the percentage lower, by including those countries that require a belief in no religion, which seems rather not germane).
I've also included Indonesia as requiring its Head of State to be Muslim, for that is the effect of requiring adherence to monotheism, where Islam is 88% of the populations.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Jihadist Islam is a Graver Threat than Global Warming « Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel

The Rabbi makes many fine points...

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Why would the Pope speak this way about Islam?

...our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
Why does Pope Francis say this?  It's patently untrue, for the Koran is chock-full of calls to kill Jews, Christians and other infidels.
This is part of the Pope's Evangelii Gaudium, in which he talks of "inter-faith dialogue".  But does he get anything in return, from any Islamic leader?  Why no, he does not.
A much more robust statement not he persecution of Christians in Muslim countries would have been rather more germane and better received.
[A little late on the scene, but interesting nonetheless, and with recent comment, from here]

Friday, 18 July 2014

"Iraq Is Not Our War Anymore. Let It Be Iran’s Problem."

...what he said was, “If you really want to fuck Iran, let ’em have Iraq.”
I'm rather in the "keep-out-of-it" camp in relation to the Middle East.
Here's a bit of polemic on that side.

Do Israel's critics think there are not enough dead Jews?

It's what we -- my son and I -- were thinking just the other day. That critics of Israel's counter-attacks on Gaza are basically saying "Hamas is too inept at killing jews; Israel is too efficient at protecting its population from their missiles.  So Israel should stop trying to defend itself and let Hamas get on with missiling Israel, given how inept Hamas are"....
Melanie nails it rather better.

Yay, Yay USA... or Amerika the Evil

How I am like a Muslim...

We're both equally low on the popularity index in the US: me an Atheist, and they, the adherents to Islam.
"Jews, Catholics & Evangelicals Rated Warmly, Atheists and Muslims More Coldly" [more]
(no doubt this will send the apologists of Islam into a frenzy of "Islamophobia"...)

"Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant...."

Omar Ahmad - Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant
"Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."
- Omar Ahmad
Founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

I've noted this before.  CAIR is the go-to Muslim organisation for the US government, and markets itself as a Muslim civil rights organisation.  But that statement above is still its driving force.

Arab World Holds Hamas Responsible in Latest Conflict

Finally, not even the Arab world can put up with the hypocrisy from Hamas -- the organisation, mind, that wants to kill all jews in the world, wherever they be...
The Palestinian Authority’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council even acknowledged that Hamas is committing war crimes by targeting civilians and contrasted that with how Israel is following international law by warning residents before strikes so as to minimize civilian casualties.
The article...

And the US public feels the same, god bless 'em..

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Here’s What the U.S. Has to Do to Deal With the Mad Middle East

The Muslim world’s turned upside down. Washington must forge new alliances to meet the jihadi challenge. One of its partners should be Iran.
Another interesting article from the Daily Beast's Leslie H. Gelb.

"Dick Cheney’s Awfulness Is Here to Stay"

Why does the former veep keep saying unhinged things—as he did Monday about Iraq? Because he believes them. And Rand Paul notwithstanding, most GOP insiders believe them, too.
Interesting article by Michael Tomasky (who also wrote this, yeah!)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Christians should marry Muslims to tackle Islamophobia, says peer

Rather startling that the good peer and QC should find nothing to trouble him in the doctrines of Islam, to which two of his children have converted...
What's wrong here?  What's going on?
Another in the "I don't get it" category.
Hugh Fitzgerald's take, here.