Showing posts from April, 2012

Child Brides: do you think Islam could have anything to do with it?

On BBC TV yesterday an excellent and disturbing report on Child brides in Bangladesh, called "Wedding Breakers".  The "breakers" refers to the efforts of women and one remarkable young boy (10 years old) to stop the practice of marrying off young girls in Bangladesh as young as ten.  The figures are shocking: one in five girls in Bangladesh is married before 18 -- the legal age for marriage -- and the results are a life of virtual slavery, no education, early pregnancy and the danger of fistula -- permanent incontinence -- which makes them outcasts even in their own families. There are said to be over 1 million girls with the condition -- it's operable, but only a tiny fraction have the money for the operation.
The causes in the BBC program were said to be a combination of (1) economic: the younger the girl is married off, the less dowry has to be paid.  As she approaches even the tender age of 20, she is so costly to marry off that many, especially in the cou…

"The Savage Lands of Islam"

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has ruled that ten year old girls can be married off, because in his words, "Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age.” The Mufti, who also recently called for destroying churches in the Arabian Peninsula, is descended from Mohammed Wahhab who gave birth to Wahhabism and his descendants have controlled the Saudi religious establishment, which has given them control of Islam around the world. For all his power and influence, the Mufti is blind and hasn’t seen a thing in the last 52 years, an apt metaphor for his entire religion.  Read more at EuropeNews.

"The Jihadist Roots of the Norway Massacre"

Raymond Ibrahim is a thoroughly sound and knowledgeable commentator on matters Islamic.
In this interesting piece, he fleshes out the jihadist "inspiration" in Breivik's murderous spree in Norway.
His final para sums it up:
"...whereas Breivik's goals may have been anti-Islamic in nature, his actions, those things which we are rightly judged by—in this case, terror, murder, and planned beheadings—were jihadist in essence."

Amnesty International is clueless

Letter to BBC:
Amnesty International calls on western media et al to stop “stereotyping” Muslims.

But shouldn't the first people called on to do this be the leaders and spokesmen (always men) of Islam. They are the ones saying “Freedom go to Hell”, calling on Muslims to “Behead those who insult Islam”, to claim that “Islam shall rule the world”, to live separately — by their own desire --  and have nothing to do with the Infidels, etcetera, etcetera.... All these are regular fare in the media.

These may (or may not) represent the majority of Muslims. But they’re the ones we hear about. What?... are we supposed to ignore them?  (but.. but... wouldn’t ignoring them be “Islamophobic”?..)

Then, when we read the Koran and Hadith,  we learn that these spokesmen are simply representing their religion as it’s written. As it’s practiced in Islamic countries, like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

One expects — or is not surprised by — this sort of nonsense from Amnesty International, a once proud and …

No! to the Skek Kwu Chau incinerator!

My letter to the South China Morning Post...
UPDATE: Who knew one letter could change government policy (heh!).  Very next day, April 21, we have the headline, "Bureau ditches $HK15 billion incinerator funding bid".
Back to the letter of 20 April:
Environment Minister Edward Lau asks “why do we have to wait” for funding of his Shek Kwu Chau waste incinerator. What is the opponents’ Plan B, he asks. [article below the fold]
Well, there are simple answers:
We have to wait because we want the government to consider the better Plan B options that have already been proposed by SKC opponents and which should rightly be Plan A options.
These include plasma gas pyrolosis which is approved for use in Europe and North America.  This technology has minimal toxic emissions, is more efficient in creating recyclable fuel and other materials, takes up less space, is less unsightly, and quicker yet no more expensive to build in processing an equivalent amount of waste.  Green Island Cement…

Arab Christians are being driven from places where they have lived peacefully for centuries

Two things about the article, "Out of the east", in the Spectator of 7 April:
1.  Bloggers like Raymond Ibrahim and Daniel Pipes have been writing about this for years and in detail since the "Arab Spring".  If you want to know the latest, the most detailed about any issue, the blogosphere is where it's at.
2.  Where is the outrage?  700,000 Arab Muslims were allegedly "driven" from their homes by Israelis in 1949 (well, not really, but let's stipulate they were), and the outrage is a daily issue on the news.  But over a million Christians have been driven out of Iraq alone since 2003, and nary a peep.
And consider this comment by a Grand Mufti of Islam, about Churches on the Arabian Peninsula: "... it is necessary to destroy all churches of the region". What if an Archbishop had said that of mosques in Europe.  Imagine the outrage.  Imagine the outrage at the Grand Mufti's statements.  Can't?  Well, no, because there is none.

Australia and China Rising

Interesting talk-starters from an old colleague of mine, given to a luncheon of his Club in Sydney, below the fold.
My comments here:
I’m not surprised your talk was a “big hit”.  An elegant (as ever!) and stimulating thought-starter.

I remember White’s thesis in the Oz media a while back, perhaps via The Australian's Greg Sheridan (for whom I’ve a lot of time) and seem to recall the firestorm of criticism — “soft on China” and all that.

For my part, I think I’d be plumping for a version of Option 2: but even “softer” --  China as an Ally.  They were allies during the War, after all.  There are worse that the US considers “allies” (Pakistan, Saudi, eg).  China is part of the “construction” world, that is, its focus is on building its economy, trade, improving the lot of its people, building science and infrastructure, and the rest of it -- pragmatic in other words.  It is no longer any existential threat to the west as the Soviet Union was in the Cold War.

This may be idealistic, p…

"PLA is target of Bo media blitz"

The Bo Xilai story is running hot and there's plenty in the international Mainstream Media.  I thought I'd post some clips from the South China Morning Post, of reports by its own reporters, as they provide some interesting angles and are behind a paywall.
Below the fold, with thanks to Teddy Ng and the SCMP...

"Defending Muslim Law From Those Invoking It"

From the New York Times, more duplicitous nonsense about Sharia. This one trying to excuse it, based on the argument in a new book "Heaven on Earth" by Sadakat Kadri, who is said to be "nearly as multicultural as one man can get without falling over". And he's a Harvard graduate to boot.  Goodness me, how should I not swallow him whole!...
Well, here's one immediate giveaway:
"Stoning for example, is not mentioned in the Koran as a punishment for adultery."No, it isn't.  But it's in the Haditha, which have scriptural authority only slightly less than that of the Koran.  And there's plenty of scholarly discussion as to why a verse on adultery, which was originally slated to be in the Koran -- so say Islamic scholars -- was dropped from the final version. (and, uhm, why something should be "dropped" from the Koran which is said to be the "uncreated and inerrant" word of Allah, we shall simply slip past...)
More: Stonin…

"Koran Giveaway in Germany Has Some Officials Worried"

It shouldn't.
The more people read the Koran the better. The more they will then know of the supremacist, sectarian, anti-semitic, homophobic and anti-infidel nature of the core document of Islam.
Story here.

"Leaders signal accord on Bo"

Interesting article in local newspaper, the South China Morning Post, below the fold.
My earlier post on Bo, to whom I -- personally -- owe much.
One of the criticisms of Bo is that as a "leftist", he had "sent down" some 300,000 cadres to the countryside, to "rusticate" and learn from the masses, a policy associated with Mao Tse-tung (known as , "Shang shan xia xiang", or, literally "to come down from the mountain and into the village").
But of all the policies of Mao that were crazy, this was not one.  Even China's new leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, says that his years in the countryside had left him with an indelible impression of the needs of China's majority (then) rural population.
And I can speak from personal experience -- in the seventies when I was studying Chinese in Peking, we were "sent down" to the coutryside for a time of study "with the masses, and from the masses", and of all the classes…

HK workforce ranked 'best in Asia'

South China Morning Post
Wednesday March 14 2012

HK workforce ranked 'best in Asia'

Austin Chiu and Dennis Chong
Hong Kong's workforce is the most productive in Asia, a report says, helping the city rank as the fourth most competitive in the world.

US science pays a price for being right

I wander around some left-of-centre sites quite often, like Crooked Timber, where I came across a post by John Quiggin, an Aussie professor, who went to my alma mater, the Australian National University.  It was about an alleged genetic basis to conservatism/Republicanism.
He would be torn apart by those same conservatives, no doubt, for saying this.
More interesting was that he was torn apart by the commentors (over 190 at last count), and has had to raise the white flag: he'll have to repost in a more considered way, he says... The issue was one that I thought would be pretty much confined to the pages of an academic site like CT, but no.. there was mention of it in our very own South China Morning Post, by the alert Alex Lo, which I reproduce below the post, as it's behind a register-wall [here]. I guess that Alex comes to it via Huffpo, rather than CT, as there was news of the study there as well. Interesting that "faith in science" is quite low in the US across th…

Thoughts of a convert to -- and apostate from -- Islam. By Abdul-Quddus

Here. [could have done with a touch of editing for the post, but still and interesting read]

With hindsight, I perceive the quintessential factor sustaining my Islaamic faith to be fear. 
Surprisingly, the greatest challenge that threatened my servitude to Allaah came, neither from criticism by Islamophobic orientalists nor polemics by Neo-conservative Christians but, from Muhammad’s holy book itself.
To my discovery, the Islaamic deity was actually the generic anthropomorphic Sky Father abound in popular mythology. He was afflicted with psychological infirmities such as megalomania, melancholy, and malevolence. Allaah suffered from ambivalence, claiming to be ar-Rahmaan, ar-Raheem (The Most Merciful, The Most Beneficent), while simultaneously being malicious or fastidious...
 The same disillusionment I experienced as Buddhist and Christian began to now emerge while a Muslim. I found it difficult to believe in angels, jinn, or talking trees. My mind clustered with doubts an…