Saturday 30 January 2010

First the Minarets, now the Burka. What next?

That's the question asked by those against banning the Burka.  First we had the banning of new Minarets in  Switzerland: clearly religious discrimination.  Then we have the French putting limits on the wearing of the burka in the public space: clearly individual discrimination, "a serious invasion of personal liberty", says Sandeep Gopalan .  Echoing the inane comments by the "revert" in the vid below, Gopalan says:

"Ajami": an Israeli/Arab film

I used to think that "Cultural relativity" and "Cultural equivalence" were the same.  They're not.  Relativity relates to an understanding and appreciation of other cultures.  A good attitude.  Equivalence means saying that all cultures are equal, equally valid, equally deserving of respect, and so on.  Not a good attitude.  Yet it's almost a given in certain multicultural circles and in many educational jurisdictions.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

One Law for All

Below received recently, from, inter alia, Maryam Namazie who is convener of "One Law for All", which was established about a year ago in the UK, and which I wrote about here .
This group of women are certainly not backward in coming forward with an ambitious 10-point list of demands.  More power to them!
These are women, by the way, refugees from Islamic countries, who are fighting against Sharia encroachment in western countries (in this case the UK), on the grounds that that's what they ran away from; they don't want it to follow them.  Same goes for the issue of the burka, niqab, full-body-suit issue.  They point out that those who suffer most under Sharia, even in the Sharia courts in the UK (of which there are nearly 100!), are women and children.
The email from One Law for All follows:

Saturday 23 January 2010

Free speech under threat

A number of freedom-of-speech issues recently. Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician, was hauled before a court for the preliminary session of the "hate crime" case being brought against him.  He's asking for the right to bring experts before the court, to testify to the truth of what he says about Islam, but there seems to be doubt that he'll be able to do so: truth not being a defence, the charge being that he upset Muslims, that they are offended is enough to charge him, the truth be damned.  In Canada...

"99-year-old Granny isn't the problem"

Question: what do the 9/11 killers, the Shoebomber, the Heathrow plotters, the Pantybomber, the London Tube bombers, the doctors who drove a flaming SUV through the concourse of Glasgow Airport and the would-be killers of Danish cartoonists all have in common? Answer: they’re Muslim. Sometimes they’re Muslims with box cutters, sometimes they’re Muslims with flaming shoes, sometimes they’re Muslims with liquids and gels, sometimes they’re Muslims with fully loaded underwear. But the Muslim bit is a constant. What we used to call a fact. But America’s leaders cannot state that simple fact, and so the TSA is obliged to pretend that all seven billion inhabitants of this planet represent an equal threat.  (From Steyn in Mcleans)

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Hate crimes against Muslims down, while terrorist attacks up. Lexington article

Old friend and blog-reader and I got into discussion of Hugh Fitzgerald's recent piece on Dubai.  He claimed The Economist has "more balanced coverage, based on facts". I went looking for an article he mentioned -- a special on the Arab world --  and though I haven't found it, I did come across one by Lexington on 7th January , which I found tendentious and disingenuous, a truly "Dhimmi" piece.
PS: the piece on the Arab world I realised later that I'd read at the time and found it incredible that they managed to "analyse" the economic problems in the region without mentioning Islam, which would be rather like analysing, say, the Crash of '29 without mentioning Banks.  

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Exotic trees face the axe in Hong Kong

Tai Lam Country Park 1952 and 2009.  Look! It's got better!
North west Hong Kong.  I've walked it several times

South China Morning Post on 14th January:

Government workers are taking the axe to thousands of trees in country parks across Hong Kong this winter -- all in the name of biodiversity.

Interesting, as I read an article in the Oz press when down there over Chrissy, that said Australia should do the opposite.

Sunday 17 January 2010

"Eurabian Follies"

I don't normally like to give personal accounts of individuals I don't know, as it's just anecdotal, and one can't generalise from the anecdote.  But this one below gives life to something that I already know is a general issue: the increasing Islamification of nearly every country in the world with sizable Muslim populations.  There's macro evidence of this, in numerous studies, as well as the anecdotal evidence in the media.  This story is echoed by several people I've met here in Hong Kong in recent months who have escaped -- yes, "escaped" the word they used -- Indonesia and Malaysia for the same sorts of reasons given here by Rakesh Balram.....
I live in a prosperous coastal village in a southern Indian state. In 1973, when I was six years old….

Former special agents tell it like it is

I've been saying for some time what those who read about Islam in any detail all say: that while there are moderate and peaceable Muslims there is no moderate Islam. ...

Thursday 14 January 2010

Darkness Falls - Mark Steyn - The Corner on National Review Online

Darkness Falls - Mark Steyn - The Corner on National Review Online
Having praised Steyn in the immediately preceding post, came across this article, which seems germane: the Islamisation of Europe is not some far-in-the-future possibility; it's happening right now....

Swimming with the right-wing fishies

It seems that if you're concerned about Islamic issues, as I am, you have to share your cyberspace with people who -- for the most part -- also think the following:

Current Security Levels

In from cyberspace.  (Or, ah well, what's wrong with a bit of fun stereotyping....)

"The Tel Aviv Cluster"

David Brooks writes that Jews are a "famously accomplished group".  This contrasts (well, I contrast it, he doesn't) with the lack of accomplishments of Muslim Arabs, noted by Arabs themselves in the Arab Human Development Report, which I wrote about here .  As long as you have a culture which shouts -- which screams -- to Jews, to Christians, to all infidels:  "we love death more than you love life" and as long as they shout this without irony or self-examination; more, as long as they scream "you love life" as a curse, as a bad thing, as long as they have that attitude, as long as that's the default attitude of their culture, they're going to be a society of destruction, not a society of construction and invention.  How can it be otherwise?  And that world view -- of "loving death" -- comes directly, explicitly and exclusively from the Koran, from the Hadith and the Sirah of Muhammad, the blessed one.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

"Empowering Moderate Muslims"

Letter to International Herald Tribune (the New York Times in Asia):
Peter Alkalay and Larry Mollot call for “moderate Muslims” to stand up and forcefully condemn those who have “hijacked their faith” (Letters,  NYT, 13 Jan).  Problem is:

Tuesday 12 January 2010

"Intelligence still the best defence against terrorism"

Kevin Rafferty, we are told, travels 240,000 miles per year, and so, one assumes, that gives him special insight into how to handle aerial terrorism .  One way is to be politically correct, not to profile passengers he says, for to do so would "...antagonise more than a billion Muslims, whose help is vital to isolate and inform on the relatively few Islamic radical terrorists".

Muslim numbers in the US

Postscript to my post yesterday ("Massacre of the innocents"), I forgot to comment on the Muslimams' claim that there are 10 million Muslims in North America.  In fact there are some 2.4 million Muslims in North America:  1.8 in the US and nearly 600 thousand in Canada.

Monday 11 January 2010

Massacre of the innocents

"Massacre of the Innocents", 1611-12, by Peter Paul Rubens.  
This gloriously bizarre blancmange of bottoms and titties reminds me rather of the lovely Charles de Steubens painting that's the header for my blog.  And also brings to mind that if the pantie-bomber had succeeded, nearly 300 people would have perished on Flight 253 on Christmas day.  But how many of them would have been "innocents"?

The Merry Prankster gets it right

Stewart Brand is that rare thing, a greenie who gets it right; in other words, he agrees with me....
One of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters of "Electric Kool Aid Acid Test" fame, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalogue of 1968 --- remember that, you sixties hippies?  That great big, floppy, black and white, somewhat puzzling "book", what was it for, to sell us stuff, or to sell us concepts, communes, in any case, to sell us the sixties hippies westcoastamerica grooviness -- Stewart Brand now talks about how he and the green movement has got it all wrong about GM and nuclear power.  And promotes geoengineering.
I came across him most recently in an article, of all places, in the Financial Times .  In the video below he talks  at a recent TED conference about his  four "heresies" (put aside 18 minutes to check it out):
  1. Urbanise
  2. Expand Nuclear Power
  3. Grow Genetically engineered plants
  4. Start Geo-engineering to keep us kool...

Hmmm.... the applause at the end, seems rather polite than effusive, don't you think?  They may not be ready for the message.  Why don't they look at the science?....

Connecting the dots. Not...(II)

More articles claiming that it’s unreasonable to have expected the intel communities to have connected the dots on the pantie-bomber [yesterday's here ]. There’s so much intel out there, the view goes, that it’s virtually impossible to pinpoint one single guy as a candidate for aerial knicker-plosion. 

Sunday 10 January 2010

The twelve days after Christmas

Doesn't quite squeak in, but nearly.... have just come across this bit of post Christmas (ok "post holiday" if you wish...) cheer...

"Criticism of religion can be a risky business"

Neighbour and mate Peter S. has letter in today's South China Morning Post.  As an atheist of over 50 years' standing, I'm along for the ride on this, though I don't think all religions are the same, any more than all political parties are the same.

Connecting the dots. Not...

Malcolm Gladwell writes in 2003 of the difficulty of connecting the dots in potential terrorism cases. 
(Cartoon courtesy Appraise News )
(Hat-tip to PS for link to Gladwell)

"That'll teach them". Chugani on the pantie-bomber

Michael Chugani writes the “Public Eye” column in the South China Morning Post, always worth reading and I like his columns (pdf here).  Here, though, he seems to drift astray. 

Thursday 7 January 2010

Last round, gents, last round: the "beautiful trick" of Taqiyya

In the post below ("A lesson in Taqiyya"), I reference an article on the Islamic concept of Taqiyya.  Ibrahim quotes a story by Islamic cleric Al-Masri of a "beautiful trick" carried out by a Muslim as an exemplar of proper use of Taqiyya. A contributor fills us in on what that story was.  Thanks to Gravenimage .  Read it below:

A lesson in Taqiyya

This post is by way of being a reference, in this case, an article on the concept of "Taqiyya" or deceit, in Islam, by Raymond Ibrahim at the Middle East Quarterly.  I have a lot of respect for Ibrahim.  One of his books is, or should be, a must-read for western policy-makers, though it seems to have been read by virtually none.  That's  "The Al-Qaeda Reader"...

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Lawyer him up, or lock him up?

There’s a lot in the blogosphere debating the rights and wrongs of treating the knicker-bomber, Abdul Mutallab, as an ordinary “alleged suspect”, reading him his rights and having him “lawyer up”, which is what has happened under the Obama Administration.  It didn’t have to be that way.
He could have been held in military jail and treated as an enemy combatant.  Two views below.  Which is right?  I would have thought the first was right, some time ago: that is, that doing it Obama’s way was correct, read him his rights, make sure the US is seen to be living up to its values, that it’s taking the moral high road.  Now, I’m not so sure.  Hell, I’ll say it right out: I’m on the Krauthammer side of this one now. 
Surely we’re at war; otherwise why are we in Afghanistan and Iraq (whatever one thinks of the rights or wrongs of starting those wars), and so surely if one of the representatives of those enemies attacks us, we have the right to interrogate him.  And surely there’s space for interrogation that doesn’t go to waterboarding lengths.  My father interrogated Japanese prisoners of war in WWII and he told me they got plenty of info from them, without ever needing to torture, but sure as hell they didn’t give them lawyers.   See below, the liberal and the conservative views...
(I)  The liberal view
Michael Kinsley, “What’s our Line”  New York Times, January 5
…. So why not draw the line to put an Abdulmutallab or a Shaikh Mohammed on the “war” side and treat him as an enemy combatant? Well, first, recognize that this has become a judgment call so the answer is no longer obvious or mandated by logic. Second, recognize that the national border is a “bright line,” and if people captured within the United States are going to be treated as if they were somewhere else — provided that they are certified terrorists — things are going to get complicated quickly.  [comment: why?  I can't see the difficulty of treating differntly guys who would down a plane full of people, on the basis of the ideology they say makes them make war on us]
What about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in November? He was influenced by an Islamic cleric, but seems to have been fighting his own demons rather than participating in a larger plot. And he’s a citizen. What about Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber? What about the Columbine high school killers? Are they terrorists? Is American justice too good for them? [comment: what about them?? They're not jihadists and so are not our enemies; they are indeed common criminals and appropriately handled by that system.  That's not too hard to figure out; not too hard to make the "bright line" the one between the enemy -- the jihadists -- and ourselves]
American justice is not a “get out of jail free” card. Obviously guilty murderers rarely escape punishment here. We have nothing to be ashamed of, little to fear and much to be proud of in choosing to err on the side of treating captured foreign terrorists as we would treat any upstanding American who tried to blow up an airplane full of people. [comment: an “upstanding” American?? Who tries to blow up planes??]
Read it all
(II)  The conservative view
Charles Krauthammer, “A terrorist war Obama has denied”,  Washington Post, January 1.
….Obama reassured the nation that this "suspect" had been charged. Reassurance? The president should be saying: We have captured an enemy combatant -- an illegal combatant under the laws of war: no uniform, direct attack on civilians -- and now to prevent future attacks, he is being interrogated regarding information he may have about al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Instead, Abdulmutallab is dispatched to some Detroit-area jail and immediately lawyered up. At which point -- surprise! -- he stops talking.

Read it all.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Exploding Muslim Underwear is Planck's fault

Click on photo for full version (warning *** NSFW***)
Bernie Planck has some amusing takes on the pantie-bomber Abdulmutallab over at his site, from whence the above photo suggesting ways in which we can make sure that there are no more Muslim knicker-bombers.  Cheers Bernie!
(full disclosure: part of the reason for posting this, is that I wanted to see if I could make a cropped-photo link to the full-sized version, something Bernie has clearly mastered.  Little bit of fiddling with HTML, but got there and thanks again to BP for the destination URL for that)

Monday 4 January 2010

"Islamophobia is not a crime against humanity"

I wander over to the pro-Islamic website Loonwatch from time to time, and get involved in discussions on their boards.  The articles are often really poor, tendentious and deliberately (or obtusely or ignorantly) misleading.
A recent example was setting up of a straw man: "Islamophobic conspiracy theorists" are making up stories about Islam's aims for world-wide dominance and in doing this they're just as wicked as the Nazis who demonised and destroyed the Jews.   Hmmm...
The article is here .
My response, still "awaiting moderation" (what are they afraid of?).....

"No smoking gun" on Flight 253...

Got back to Hongkers, listening to good ol' Beebs radio and heard the tail end of a fellow saying that there'd been no firm intelligence that Abdulmutallab was going to try to bomb flight 253.  There was no "smoking gun, if you will", I heard him say.  I missed who it was, so assumed it must be a commentator, loosely using an ill-chosen, ill-fitting metaphor.  But no....