Friday 22 July 2011

Jihad in our motherland: "Ban on Islamic dress sparked Uygur attack"

I take you past the South China Morning Post pay-wall....
And, from our "just-because-it's-a-local-Chinese-government-spokesman-said-it-doesn't-mean-it-isn't-true" department:
The spokesman also said: "In our point of view, these kind of women have been blindly affected by extreme religious thought."
"The black and loose robes enable potential attackers to hide their weapons and, hence, pose a security threat to the safety of the public," he said.
Right on, Comrade! 
Read the rest below the fold

Thursday 21 July 2011

Claudia Hammond doesn't mention Islam, in Ethiopian child brides case

Letter to BBC WorldService, World Have Your Say:

Summary comment:

Claudia Hammond's Health Check report of 20 July on Ethiopian child brides and the shocking health effects they suffer was interesting and disturbing.  

But I wonder why, amongst the reasons she explores as to why this practice persists in Ethiopia, she does not even touch on the single most important reason: Orthodox Islam.  

Marriage of pre- and pubescent children, especially girls, is countenanced, even encouraged, in orthodox Islam.  It is for that reason that the practice is, to use Ms Hammond's words so "deeply rooted in culture and society" in Ethiopia, and indeed other orthodox Islamic countries.  The practice is "deeply rooted" in Islamic doctrine, confirmed by Islamic religious and political authorities.

More background

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Mother Jones rather misses the point

Let it not be said that I post only articles critical of Islam!  I'm always looking at the other side to see if there's anything of interest.  On the Mother Jones blog Stephan Salisbury says "Muslim bashing" has failed US politicians ("Why Islam-baiting doesn't work").  But the piece is largely ad hominem, and misses a key point: that the concern is about the ideology of Islam, not individual Muslims -- for his article, while headlined "Islam-baiting" mostly talks of "Muslim bashing", a very different thing.  Thoughtful critics of Islam -- there are many such and many very knowledgeable -- make a clear distinction between the ideology of Islam and individual Muslims.
Mind you, Republicans, or the conservative right more broadly, don't do themselves any favours by having ignorant representatives such as Renee Ellmers arguing the point. Here, she gets flayed by Anderson Cooper, even though his left/progressive views, the usual dreary moral relativism, ought to be refuted easily.
I posted this comment at Mother Jones:
I wonder if Stephan Salisbury has himself read the core texts of Islam?  
I came to my own understanding of Islam by doing that first up -- reading the Koran, Sirah, Hadith, the Umdat, etc, -- not by taking a cue  from what Salisbury calls the "Islamophobic machinery fueled by large right-wing foundations, PACs, individuals, and business interests..." [I didn't even know about these when I first did my reading around the subject, years ago]
As for Sharia, I rely mainly on the Umdat, the Classic Manual of Islamic Jurisprudence, as a primary source.  
From all this, I've come to my own conclusion: that western values are indeed threatened from the rise of Islamism.  Others not of the Right see it too -- eg the One Law for All organisation in the UK.  
Merely to tie the issue of the threat of Islamism to the vote-grabbing opportunism of conservative  ("reich wing")  US politicians  and their "Muslim bashing", which has, according to Salisbury, largely failed, does not gainsay that threat.  
And to imply that Sharia is only a "threat" in quotes (ie, not really a threat), because "no one knows what you're talking about", when you mention "Sharia", is surely a non-sequitur and dangerous if it happens that Sharia really is inimical to the values of the west: as surely it is.
I have been long-time Labor (Australia) voter, hence don't see myself as right-wing, but it's a thing of the Left reflexively to label all critics of the ideology of Islam (nota bene: Not "Muslims") as "right wing Islamophobes".  In view of the comments policy on this blog, surely that ought to be out of bounds as pure ad hominem.

Monday 18 July 2011

Finger pointing at China

Xi Jinping, China's heir apparent
Sergei Karpukhin/REUTERS

"... a few foreigners, with full bellies, who have nothing better to do than try to point fingers at our country… China does not export revolution, hunger or poverty; nor does China cause you any headaches. What else do you want?"

That was China's leader-elect, Xi Jinping speaking in Mexico in 2009.  I buy into that argument: that China has done a lot for its people.  Since 1979, the beginning of the opening up of the economy, some 500+ million Chinese have been raised out of poverty. That's surely an increase in human rights for them.
I was in China in the late seventies, the fag-end of the Cultural Revolution and I remember the drab clothes and drab views -- nothing out of line was ever expressed.  Now we have a raucous, roiling society, in which you can say pretty well anything you want -- just don't call for the overthrow of the communist party. Sure, there are human rights abuses, jailing of dissidents, rampant corruption.
But compared with how it was, China today is like the light after dark.  It's a lively place, the internet -- despite restrictions -- is alive with a plethora of views and news.
My simple point: that China is not the horrid place it's painted by foreign politicians and media.  The people causing "headaches" as Xi puts it, are not China, but those in the Middle East which are Muslim, and the Muslim countries in South Asia.
China is part of the Hemisphere of Construction (that includes all of us more interested in building things, in going places -- in the world, in outer space -- in giving people a chance in life), vs the Hemisphere of Destruction, which are all those hewing to an ideology that values death over life (their words, not mine).
Postscript: How China could yet fail like Japan, Martin Wolf, Financial Times, June 14 2011

Sunday 17 July 2011

"Saudi Cleric: Islam Has No Minimum Age For Marriage"

This post is as interesting for who posted it, as for its content -- which is actually rather well-known, at least in anti-Jihad circles and in the world of Islam.  The poster is Law Professor Jonathan Turley, who's got a very heavy bio on his site and his blog was voted #1 "Legal Theory Blog" in 2009.
Interesting that it's not one of the "usual suspects" blogging it, or one of we horrid "Islamophobes" but more of a mainstream blog posting on the depredations of Islam.
Note the comments too: surprised or scornful that Islam should sanction the marriage of girls as young as nine, even unto today, for it was that "perfect example" Muhammad who did so.
Professor Turley has a slight disclaimer at the end: "...hope and trust that he [cleric Al-Arifi] is viewed as an extremist."  But it seems pretty cursory.

The Real Nakba

The real Nakba, the catastrophe, for Palestinians is not 1949 and the war their own leaders started and lost, but how badly they have been led by their "leadership", from Arafat to Abbas.
"31 Opportunities for statehood squandered in favour of genocide."  They could have had a two-state solution waaay back in '37, but it was never enough to their "leadership" for whom nothing less than annihilation of Israel would be enough.  Never accommodation; always annihilation.
And even now, the Palestinian people would rather have jobs than bogus UN "statehood", on which their "leadership" is squandering even more time.  That's even as "6 in 10 Palestinians reject the two-state solution."
When asked what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s top priorities should be, 83% said creating jobs. Just 4% said getting the UN to recognize a Palestinian state, and only 2% said peace talks with Israel.
And yet pro Palestinians talk as if Israel (not the Palestinians, but Israel), must "urgently" put yet another peace proposal on the table, or it'll be "too late".

Jihad enablers in our own backyard... funding terrorism from the China motherland....

Justice Kapnick.  NYLJ/Rick Kopstein
Good on Justice Barbara Kapnick for allowing the case against the Bank of China to go ahead in the United States.  The nub of it is:
"Victims of terrorist attacks against Israel by Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad can proceed with a lawsuit accusing Bank of China Ltd. of knowingly allowing money transfers that funded the terror groups, a state judge in Manhattan has ruled."
Mind, knowing the Bank of China, as I do as occasional customer, I'd be more inclined to believe the old saying: "don't assume conspiracy, when simple incompetence can explain it."
Accepting that the Bank of China were informed of the Hamas link for the money they were transferring:  but did that get through to the right people? In time? In clear enough a manner (remember it's called "Chinese whispers"!)  Their systems are antediluvian, I assure you.

N.Y. Judge Allows Exploration of Bank of China's Alleged Role in Terrorism, from, July 18.

Misogyny is charitable; opposing it isn't: Ex Muslims speak out

The redoubtable Maryam Namazie is head of One Law for All, the organisation that stand for what it says: that is, one law for Britain, one law legislated by parliament, and applied without fear or favour throughout the green isles.
Standing up for this principle would have seemed odd a while ago, for it would have been taken as given: of course the law of the land was the law for all.  But now it needs to be stood up for -- support for this basic principle of all democracies in the west is needed now in response to one thing, and one thing alone: the push for Sharia law.
Think that's not on the cards? Think again. It already is: there are some 87 Sharia tribunals in the UK, which affect Muslims and non-Muslims alike and which do harm to the rights of women and children in particular.
The OLfA report with details of those harms is here.
Maryam is also head of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain: brave people who have put their names and photos on their website and their Manifesto here.
In her most recent letter to supporters, Maryam talks of the craziness of the UK government's giving Charitable Status to groups promoting Sharia - with all its misogynist, murderous provisions -- while secular groups such as the Council of Ex-Muslims is not permitted that status.  As she says
There is something fundamentally wrong when the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain can’t get charity status but the Sharia Council legislating misogyny in its sharia courts can.
Below is her letter in full:

Thursday 14 July 2011

Google alerts -- Islam (vii)

Part of short-term series: Today Three, all C(ritical):

The PJ Tatler » Priest Fights Fire with Fire Against Islam
By Raymond Ibrahim
Priest Fights Fire with Fire Against Islam. When it comes to debating Islam, which is more successful: articulating your position through a secular or religious paradigm? Read about the courageous Father Zakaria Botros—the man al-Qaeda ...
The PJ Tatler
The Influence of Radical Islam, Propaganda, The Internet And Home ...
By jmchenry (Profile)
In combating terrorism, the intelligence and justice communities face new threats from internet based recruitment and American based radicals. One of the.
EXCLUSIVE: “Sister Wives” Lawsuit is Front for Islam, Sharia ...
By Debbie
It's about Islam, Muslims, and Islamic terrorists, who make up a good portion of the clientele of the plaintiffs' lawyer in this suit, Jonathan Turley. Make no mistake, Turley–sleazebag lawyer for Islamic terrorists, including Islamic ...
Debbie Schlussel

There should be more Philo-Semites in the World

I've realised that I'm a "philo-semite":
"Philo-Semitism (also spelled philosemitism) or Judeophilia is an interest in, respect for, and appreciation of the Jewish people, their historical significance and the positive impacts of Judaism in the history of the western world, in particular, generally on the part of a gentile."
I learned the term after listening to the BBC Worldservice "Witness" program, which this morning was about the Crusades, specifically the first one, in 1096.  Being the Beebs, of course the Crusades came out looking terrible: it was all the fault of the Christians, who went on murderous rampages, leaving the streets flowing in blood to the knees, only beaten back by the brave Muslim warrior Saladin.  The true story of the Crusades, and especially the first one, is rather more of a reaction to the Islamic invasions from Arabia to Europe.  Still, leave that aside for the mo....
The Beeb's guest was Simon Sebag Montefiore author of "Jerusalem, the Biography", due out in October 2011.  It's on my Wish List.
Looking up Mr Montefiore and his book led me to a review by Antony Beevor in the Guardian, which says it is "...a remarkably objective account of the holy city's turbulent history".  Given the Grauniad's bent, their saying it's "objective" is rather like expecting our little dog Nikki to be objective about a cat, but again, still.....
It's not a bad review, though rather too "he said -- she said" in its tone; especially about the pre-'49 shenanigans in the Levant.  "A cycle of mutual fear and violence", for example.  As if it was the fault of both sides... rather than the fault a Muslim hysteria, whipped up by the horrid mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Huseini, the nasty nazi-lover and murderously genocidal hater of jews. Read "Icon of Evil", for the full documentation of this.  But for Beevor, Al-Huseini is skipped by, and you'd think he was just a local nationalist.
Back to the term!  Philo-semitism.  About half-way down Beevor's review of "Jerusalem: the Biography":
"...The necessities of war in the Middle East encouraged the British to make promises to the Arabs that they had little intention of keeping, while philo-semitism in Lloyd George's cabinet led to the Balfour Declaration, raising Zionist aspirations."
Well, that's sure changed in the intervening decades hasn't it?  It would be hard to find a philo-semite in the UK government now.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

"Move to link Koran with core Australian values"

Oh, what a good idea!  Bonzer!
I've read the Koran -- several times, in different translations -- and the one thing that doesn't jump out at me is just how... Aussie its values are.
Maybe I missed something.  So I went back specifically seeking that "fair go and tolerance" the imams are tasked with finding... and found..... nope, not a one, not a verse, not a surah.
(I did find plenty of verses, though, telling Muslims to hate the infidels; to attack the infidels; to terrorise the infidels.... what to do with those, oh bright ones in the Aussie multicultural bureaucracy?)
And note how much money they (The Australian Multicultural Foundation) will give to this program: $A 55,000.  Gee, that'll go a long way... not!  Mosques in Australia would get that much daily from Saudi Arabia.  And not exactly for promoting Aussie or western values...
This program really just shows how clueless are those in charge of "Muslim integration into mainstream society".
Further: they take it on themselves to lecture what "the right Muslim voices" are.  But the "right" voice may be the one that calls on Muslims to be separate from its surrounding infidel society:
"take not the disbelievers for your friends". [K: 04:089]

Monday 11 July 2011

Creationism and Evolution: à la Doonesbury

Classic! The inimitable Doonesbury.  (Click to enlarge)

"An illiberal consensus", Condell on the UK left media

At 3:15The Guardian and the BBC are both pillars of a kind of British metropolitan multi-culti middle class left wing prickocracy whose days are numbered....”

Sunday 10 July 2011

"DSK Affair's Missing 62 Minutes"

Fascinating stuff!  And worth reading Epstein's "reckoning" of the time line.
As one of the commenters said: "the followers of cancelled daytime soaps are migrating to the Daily Beast's blog".
Before making such a momentous decision, hotel officials might have decided to consult other concerned parties. A call, for example, might have been made to the French Consulate or Embassy. (DSK, after all, was a former minister and head of the IMF.) If so, word likely would have quickly reached the Elysée Palace or its DCRI intelligence service. Or a call might have been made to superiors at the Accor Group in Paris. If so, the information may have also reached the Elysée Palace. The French newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur reported this week that suspicions were circulating that someone from the Accor Group at some point alerted Ange Mancini, Sarkozy’s Karl Rove-like coordinator of information in the Elysée. A spokesman for the Accor Group called this report baseless. (The Sofitel executives I queried declined to comment on any calls made.) So we do not know who, if anyone, was consulted by the accuser’s handlers at the Sofitel during the 62-minute gap./Snip.  More...

Saturday 9 July 2011

Richard Dawkins on Islam

One of the great Atheists of the world, an equal-opportunity critic of all religions, nevertheless singles out Islam for particular approbrium: rightly, of course, because it is indeed sui generis.  It is unique amongst world religions in having a doctrine, theology and jurisprudence which mandates war against unbelievers.  Or, in the rather more robust language of Dr Dawkins:
Islam deserves criticism on account of the logical consequences of its dogma, namely, that the murder of fellow human beings is to be rewarded with sensual pleasure in a hedonistic ‘Paradise’- a concept born in the fantasies of an Arab rebel some fourteen centuries ago. The religion of Mohammed is a dangerous system when the teachings and example of the ‘prophet’ are believed and followed.
In the video below, he minces no words. All of what he says about Islam, is factually true.  Islamapologists like John Esposito want to see the muzzling of any criticism of Islam on the basis that it's "hate speech" and "bigoted".  But it is not bigoted to criticise a supremacist religious ideology that seeks to dis-empower women and extinguish gays and jews from the world; aims which are clearly and repeatedly stated by authority figures in Islam, reflecting accurately those calls in core Islamic doctrine.  If Esposito and his ilk would spend rather more time on looking at the house of Islam, of getting it in order, of expunging its own violent and supremacist aims, then we'd quickly see the reduction of "Islamophobia".
Back to the prof, the inimitable Richard Dawkins:

"Assimilation's Failure, Terrorism's Rise"

Quite remarkable that the left-of-centre New York Times should carry an article on July 6, critical of multiculturalism in any way, for it's been an article of faith on the left that multiculti has been an unalloyed good thing.

In "Assimilation's Failure, Terrorism's Rise" Kenan Malik sees the harm the policy has brought to societies in which it's been practice.  He distinguishes between:
(i) Multiculturalism as "mass immigration", which he says has been "a boon to western Europe" (surely an arguable proposition, especially from a working-class perspective), and
(ii) Multiculturalism as policy, which he argues -- quite persusively -- has empowered more conservative elements (aka "radical" or "extremist"), particularly in the Muslim community.

I think there's a lot in this analysis, especially in the critique of multiculturalism as policy.  There's been rather too much of a tendency in the Jihad-watching community to blame multiculturalism for the rise of radical Islam, and an implicit assumption that if it's done away with, radicalism will be dealt a blow.

Whereas, it's more like multiculti does not create, but rather enables, radicalism's development.  Less of a policy focus on these groups in boxes will certainly help, but won't solve the problem -- that's for another day and for a much more prolonged battle of ideas and ideology; the west's against that of fundamental Islam.

We face a potential problem here in Hong Kong, where some political parties are beginning to think it may be a good idea to appeal to the "Muslim community", as represented by their "community leaders". Yet, as Malik makes clear, in the UK that's led to the empowerment of the most conservative (ie radical) elements in that community, in those "ethnic boxes". Snip/ from Malik's "Assimilation's Failure, Terrorism's Rise":
The British government developed a new political framework for engaging with minority groups. Britain was now in effect divided into a number of ethnic boxes — Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, African, Caribbean and so on. The claims of minorities upon society were defined less by the social and political needs of individuals than by the box to which they belonged. Political power and financial resources were distributed by ethnicity.
The new policy did not empower individuals; instead, it enhanced the authority of so-called community leaders, often the most conservative voices, who owed their positions and influence largely to their relationship with the state. In 1997, the Islamist groups that had led the campaign against Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” during the 1980s helped set up the Muslim Council of Britain. Its first general secretary, Iqbal Sacranie, had once declared death “too easy” for Mr. Rushdie. Polls showed that fewer than 10 percent of British Muslims believed that the council represented their views, yet for more than a decade the British government treated it as their official representative.  More....
Kenan Malik, a British writer and broadcaster, is the author of “From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy.”

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Israel is not an "apartheid" state (ii)

I keep hearing this calumny, including from the most well-meaning and educated people.  But it's clear that well-read as they may be, it's not on the issue of apartheid South Africa and modern Israel.  There is simply no water to be held in the notion that Israel is an "apartheid state".  That's a Palestinian calumny and not true.
Another article on the issue....

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Google alerts -- Islam (vi)

Part of a short-term series.  Today's count: A= 3  N = 2 (none C(ritical) today)

Mike Ghouse: Islam, America and July 4th
By Mike Ghouse
Freedom is one of the most cherished values of humanity and I am pleased to share its arrangement in American and Islamic space. Both emphasize the freedom of conscience, justice and liberty.
The Huffington Post Full Blog Feed
Scientology and the Nation of Islam: A Heartwarming Independence ...
By Tony Ortega
There's nothing like the Fourth of July weekend to amp up our pursuit of happiness and help us reflect...
Runnin' Scared
Religion Clause: Bangladesh Constitution Amended: Secular State ...
By Howard Friedman
However, Islam was retained as the state religion and the Arabic phrase "Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim" (and its translation "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful/ In the name of the Creator, the Merciful") was made a part of ...
Religion Clause
NATO's Libyan War Is 'Like Fast Food,' Qaddafi's Son Says ...
Muammar el-Qaddafi's son Seif al-Islam said that the international intervention in Libya was motivated purely by a desire to control Libya's oil and gas resources. “They have one target,” Mr. Qaddafi said of the countries participating ...
The Lede
Three Optimists Look to Islam's Future » First Thoughts | A First ...
By Matthew J. Franck
At Public Discourse this week, an interesting trifecta: in Monday's installment, Michael Novak, in “Religious Liberty and the Development of Doctrine in Islam,” predicts: By the year 2020, rough and painful human experience will lead ...
First Thoughts

Sarah Shourd: 'All I did was cry and beat at the walls'

Check out Sarah Shourd in this video.  She's such a prim and proper poppet, a younger version of Julie Andrews.  In the full version of this video, she mentions support she's had from various "peace activists", among them Noam Chomsky, Muhammad Ali and Yusuf Ali.  Goodness me!  Apart from the boxer, who might be excused for being punch drunk, the other two are arch-haters of the west.  Chomsky has never met an anti-American sentiment that he didn't embrace, the latest one his suggestion, in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, that Al-Qaeda would now be justified in killing W. Bush.  Yusuf Ali, ex Cat Stevens, is infamous for calling for the hanging of Salman Rushdie, for his publication of a book.  Some "peace activists".  Yet for the likes of Ms Shourd, anyone who wants the destruction of Israel, is a "peace activist" up to and including the monsters in Tehran, for whom she has kind words.
From the BBC site:
Sarah Shourd was arrested when hiking with two other Americans on Iraq's border with Iran in 2009.
After 14 months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison she was released. But her fiancée and their friend are still there nearly two years on. They've had barely any contact with the outside world and although they were promised a trial, it still hasn't happened.
Sarah Montague spoke to her about her ordeal.

Charlie Rose: Inside Islam

I really enjoy watching Charlie Rose on a Saturday morning, live from the Bloomberg HQ in New York. He's a liberal, to be sure, but questions fairly and knowledgeably.  In this video, he's relied on a group of people all of whom are apologists for Islam.  I wonder if he will have knowledgeable critics in a later part of this series, which he's calling "Inside Islam".
A couple of quick points:
At 31:35 Charlie asks professor Miriam Cooke of Duke University:
"tell me what hopes you have, what you would like to see happen in the understanding of Islam.  What are your deepest and most profound hopes?".
And she answers: "I would hope that Islam could return to being just a religion" [ie to take out the political element].
And Charlie says "Well said".
What this reveals is two things: (1) that professor Cooke knows nothing about Islam and (2) that Charlie Rose knows nothing about Islam.
Right at the outset Islam was a political movement. The official Muslim biography of Mohammed, the Sirah, makes that clear.  Ayatollah Khomeini, the revered, said "Islam is politics".
Her colleague Abdeslam Maghraoui is in a bind, because he knows that what she's said is nonsense, but he covers for her well, essentially making the point that Islam and politics are intrinsically bound.  Political Islam is a major force he says. Well, yes.
All the guests make the point that Islam is not monolithic.  To be more accurate: they make the point that Muslims are not the same the world over (surely true) and that therefore (this is where they go wrong) that Islam is not monolithic.  They should recall Turkish PM, Erdogan's comment that "Islam is Islam", there is no "moderate" or "immoderate" (sic) Islam.  If Muslims are different around the world -- and they surely are -- that tells us nothing more than that they hew to their religion (the ONE Islam), more or less strongly.  Just as you would not have said about Soviet Russia that Stalinist communism was fine, just because you met some nice and tolerant Russians.
John Esposito: talks about contextualising Islam. That is, by doing so, contextualising with Christianity, you would get over many of the "misunderstandings" about Islam. Right.  He says, for example, that in response to the criticisms that Mohammed was a warrior, he would answer "what about Joshua".  Huh?  Two things: (1) Joshua is not the equivalent of Jesus.  He is not to be compared to Mohammed, the last prophet.  Jesus is the right comparison, and he was thoroughly peaceful, in contrast to Mohammed.  (2). Even if you allow the comparison with Joshua, then also "so what"?  You now have two warrior types.  Does this tu quoque argument forgive the murderous actions of Mohammed?
Others in this dodgy crows include Ingrid Mattson, Sherman Jackson, and even the reasonable sounding Jen'nan Read. For example, Ms Read scorns the idea that Muslims have an identity as Muslims first, and only then as Americans.  But that's precisely what poll after poll shows: that the identity as believers in Islam is first and paramount for Muslims right around the world.[*]  See Islam in figures.
There's some reasonable discussion at the beginning about the possibility of reform of Islam. That's what we all hope, but the doctrine is not on the side of the reformers. See the issue of bid'ah, innovation, which is not allowed in Islam.  Frowned upon as blasphemy and blasphemy in some places is punishable by death (vide Pakistan).

[*Update (6 July 11): Jen'nan Read says that "contrary to popular conceptions", most Muslims in the US are not Arab, but Asian.  I'm not sure what point she's making here, unless it's an implicitly racist one: that Asian Muslims are somehow less to be feared than Arab ones.  In any case, she's wrong about the figures.  As I have shown and sourced here: the figures for ethnicity of US Muslims are 30% each for Arab, South/Central Asian and African/African-American, 2% European, 2% South East Asian and 6% Other. The "South/Central Asian" are mostly Pakistani.  The African are mainly Somali.  Source, p4.
Inside Islam with Abdeslam Maghraoui, Miriam Cooke, John Esposito, Shawkat Toorawa, Kecia Ali, Rashad Hussain, Ingrid Mattson, Ebrahim Moosa, Jen'nan Read and Sherman Jackson.

Chinese media: a refreshing change of pace

I agree with Mark O'Neill, below, from his "New faces" of 1st July.  I watch Chinese TV (and Russian and Al-Jazeera), when I'm at the gym -- they don't have cable, just free-to-air....

"...In the past four years,  Beijing has spent billions on media to reach the foreign audience - adding TV channels in Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic to the English one launched in 2000, and the Mandarin channel for overseas Chinese. The programmes are presented by well-groomed and highly trained foreigners as well as Chinese, many of them educated abroad with a good sense of how to appeal to their audience.
"China Daily has just expanded its Asian edition, with new content on Asian issues and for distribution in Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Singapore and India, giving it a pan-Asian reach.
While budget cuts are forcing the Western media to close foreign bureaus around the world, Xinhua and other Chinese media are opening new offices everywhere. Voice of America and BBC World Service are cutting services, while China's international radio is increasing them. As Chinese diplomatic and economic power expands, so the journalists who work in these offices have better access to the business and political leaders of foreign countries, giving their programmes more appeal.
"They are restricted in covering Taiwan,  Tibet, Xinjiang and other sensitive issues. But they provide better coverage than the Western media do on issues that are not sensitive - the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran, the Middle East, Africa and South America - because they are more objective."
Mark O'Neill worked as a Post correspondent in Beijing and Shanghai from 1997 to 2006 and is now an author, lecturer and journalist based in Hong Kon

Saturday 2 July 2011

Google alerts -- Islam (v)

Part of a short-term series.  Today, C(ritical) = 2 and A(pologist) = 1.

Islam: the ongoing Sunni Islamic inquisition |
By Lee Jay Walker
6/30/2011 Islam: the ongoing Sunni Islamic inquisition Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times SUMMARY: The history books tell us that.
Radical Islam Passing through Greece | EuropeNews
By pk
Radical Islam Passing through Greece. World Press Review 30 June 2011. By Ioannis Michaletos. Greece is an E.U., NATO and Eurozone country that has traditionally strong links with the Islamic world due to the geographical proximity with ...
Islam Will Find Its Own Way to Freedom « Public Discourse
By Mustafa Akyol
Islam Will Find Its Own Way to Freedom. by Mustafa Akyol. July 1, 2011. With extremism losing momentum, there is hope that the Muslim Middle East is beginning once again to embrace the liberalism of early 20th-century Islam...
Public Discourse

As if Greece didn't have enough troubles....

Not just keeping afloat on a rising tide of debt, there's now a report of Greece being used as a staging post for international Islamic terrorism and a "breeding ground of radicals".  From Europe News, 30 June:
Greece's geographical placement, in addition to the wider culminations in the Mediterranean that have unfolded over the past year, has sounded alarm bells over the peril of the country being used as a regional logistics hub for international Islamic terrorists and a breeding ground of radicals amongst the communities of illegal immigrants from Islamic countries.
Read it all....

Friday 1 July 2011

"Cameron brought up real fears". Letter on Islamism and bigotry in Europe

They ran my letter in today's South China Morning Post under the headline above.  
This issue brings to mind moves by some parties in Hong Kong to target the Islamic vote, a move that could encourage the "segregated communities" Cameron highlights.
Cameron brought up real fears

In February, British Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech in which he set out his views of radicalisation and Islamist extremism. Virginie Guiraudon has called his speech an example of "official xenophobia" ("Face of bigotry", June 23).
With this smear on Mr Cameron, she signally fails to note his key message: that "passive" or "hands-off" tolerance of segregated communities allows the promotion of radical Islamist ideology by "young dynamic leaders who promote separatism". The truth of this observation is beyond reasonable dispute. David Cameron is not a xenophobe.
It is not xenophobia to state that a genuinely liberal country believes in and promotes certain values, including, as he says: "freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality". How can anyone, left, right or centre, be against these fundamental rights, and by what possible stretch could they be called "xenophobic"?
Yet in her article Ms Guiraudon makes not one mention of the ideology of Islamic extremism, of its deep-rooted bigotry, which we see in many parts of Europe.
Why else does she think the majority of Europeans are voicing their concerns, including heads of government? No, it is not blind bigotry, as she claims.
It is genuine fear that in tolerating the intolerant, in being passive towards bigotry, Europe is in danger of losing the very tolerance and liberal values it has spent centuries developing.
Yours etc...

Sharia Law advancing in the UK

The growth of Islamic finance comes as other aspects of Sharia law are becoming enshrined in the British legal system. At least 85 Islamic Sharia courts are now operating in the country, almost 20 times as many as previously believed. A recent study by the London-based Civitas think tank titled "Sharia Law or 'One Law for All'?" found that scores of unofficial tribunals and councils regularly apply Islamic law to resolve domestic, marital and business disputes, many operating in mosques. It warns of a "creeping" acceptance of Sharia principles in British law.
Somewhat belated efforts are now being made to push back against the spread of Sharia in Britain. Under a new bill introduced in the House of Lords, the lower chamber of the British Parliament, on June 7, Islamic courts would be forced to acknowledge the primacy of English law.
The Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill would make it an offense punishable by five years in jail for anyone falsely claiming or implying that Sharia courts or councils have legal jurisdiction over family or criminal law. The bill, which would apply to all arbitration tribunals if passed, aims to tackle discrimination, which its supporters say is inherent in the courts, by banning the Sharia practice of giving woman's testimony only half the weight of men's.
The bill, proposed by Lady Caroline Cox-Johnson, and backed by women's rights groups and the National Secular Society, was drawn up because of "deep concerns" that Muslim women are suffering discrimination within closed Sharia law councils. Cox said she had found "considerable evidence" of women, some of whom are brought to Britain speaking little English and kept ignorant of their legal rights, suffering domestic violence or unequal access to divorce, due to discriminatory decisions made. "We cannot continue to condone this situation. Many women say: 'We came to this country to escape these practices only to find the situation is worse here.'"
The bill challenging Sharia law will be viewed as a declaration of war by many Muslims who view the institutionalization of Islamic law as a key component of their political strategy of Islamifying the West. In the words of Imam Abdullah al-Hasan of the East London Mosque: "Islam is here to stay in Britain."

See also: Sharia Law in Britain: a threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights.  

Niqabs and Burkas as security threats

I don't usually read "The Star" of the UK, but I came across "Spooks unmask burka death squads" recently. Are the figures right?  I don't know, except that the one of 2,200 people on a "watch list" is a figure revealed last year by MI6, and if anything I would guess it might be on the low side.

Daniel Pipes has been keeping count of the number of crimes committed by people -- men and women --- wearing niqabs or burkas.  It runs into the hundreds of cases and counting

Apart from security concerns, the two other main reasons to object to niqabs and burkas are:

1.  They are a symbol of oppression of women: both by their men, and by their peers.  OR, if not this, then,  necessarily...
2.  They are a symbol of the piousness of the wearer.  The more pious the wearer, the more adherence to the core doctrine of Islam.  The core doctrine of Islam is for Islam to be "triumphant" in the world.

Update: "Dance of the post-modern veils".  Steyn on the Oz burka case, in National Review Online, 21 June:
So, if I follow correctly, we can never establish the identity of the woman who falsely accused the police of demanding she remove her burka because to establish her identity the police would have to demand she remove her burka thereby rendering her false accusation true.
Update (II): Not only security concerns, or "mistaken" identity concerns, (or symbols of oppression or symbols of piousness), they're also rude!  Hugo Rifkind in the Speccie on 24th July 2010 "All women have the right to wear the burka, but they shouldn't -- it's just rude":  
Security concerns aside, of course, women should have the 'right' to wear the burka, anywhere they like. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an inherently repellent garment, the wearing of which, in Britain, is basically just rude. So stop it....

Israel is not an "apartheid" state

I lived in apartheid South Africa for a year in 1967 and had experience of its nastiness at ground level.  There is nothing to compare to the inclusiviness of democratic Israel. Robert Wistrich in Ynet news, "The Myth of Zionist racism", on 12 June:

"The apartheid analogy and the myth of Zionist racism are classic examples of cynical political warfare aimed purely at stigmatizing or delegitimizing Israel out of existence. Such fabrications totally disregard the context and content of South African apartheid, based on an institutionalized discrimination anchored in a formidable array of strictly enforced racial laws.

"From birth to death it was always skin color and statutory race classification that determined human and civic rights in white-controlled South Africa. The black majority (90% of the population) had no right to vote or to be elected; it could not freely choose its place of residence, work or occupation. Mixed marriages or even sexual relations across the race barrier were criminalized, there were separate benches in parks for whites and blacks, separate buses, hospitals, libraries, restaurants, as well as segregated places of entertainment.

"Any person even casually acquainted with Israel’s vibrant democracy knows that there is not even the remotest comparison between its free and open society and the grim reality of South African apartheid. But then ideological delegitimization and slanderous misuse of the apartheid analogy is not about the “criticism” of Israel, let alone “learning the lessons of history” or achieving freedom for the Palestinians. The objective is not to help solve an intractable national conflict (made even more difficult by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism) but to demonize Israel as the embodiment of ultimate “racist evil” – an accusation designed to remove any moral grounds for its existence."...

Read it all...