Thursday 28 February 2013

Islam in Africa

The Malian version of Islam has been practiced since the 11th century. It has only recently been targeted by foreign elements who seek to impose their own stricter and often violent interpretation onto the country’s population. Specifically, Wahhabism, which espouses a fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran and condemns anything considered to be an innovation, has only spread to Africa from Saudi Arabia in recent decades.

Interesting article.  Read more here.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

You only had one job...

Via David Thompson's blog, this lovely series.

Norwegian Wood

Lars Mytting at his home in Elverum, Norway. His best-selling book,
“Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood — and the Soul of Wood-Burning,”
inspired a TV program about cutting, stacking and burning firewood.  NYT.
For some reason, this article tickled me.  Imagine, a country that has a bestseller called Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood — and the Soul of Wood-Burning
And a reality show based on it. Of which one commenter says:
“I’m not being ironic,” the viewer continued. “For some reason, this broadcast was very calming and very exciting at the same time.”  A show which includes a fire burning in real time.
Strangely, I can imagine that.... and also this...
"...the fire on “National Firewood Night” burned all night long, in suspensefully unscripted configurations. Fresh wood was added through the hours by an NRK photographer named Ingrid Tangstad Hatlevoll, aided by viewers who sent advice via Facebook on where exactly to place it.
"For most of the time, the only sound came from the fire. Ms. Hatlevoll’s face never appeared on screen, but occasionally her hands could be seen putting logs in the fireplace, or cooking sausages and marshmallows on sticks."

More examples of Bloggers being in front of the curve on matters Islamic

I've written before of how you'd know more about what's going on in the Islamic world than if you simply follow the Mainstream Media (MSM).

A couple more recent examples:

Acid Attacks:

BBC's Zeinab Badawi's Hard Talk of 15th February (here, but only for 12 months) interviews Dr Mohammad Jawad who is doing wonderful work for Pakistani women disfigured by acid attacks.
From the BBC introduction:
Zeinab Badawi talks to renowned British plastic surgeon Dr Mohammad Jawad, who has helped reconstruct the faces of women disfigured by acid attacks. He has featured in an Oscar-winning documentary about his humanitarian work in his native Pakistan. His high public profile has helped raise awareness about the life-destroying nature of acid attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere in Asia but can it bring about real change and action to help bring down the level of such violence against women?
At one point Dr Jawad says that he discovered the acid attack problem just a few years ago.
But if he'd followed the anti-Jihad bloggosphere, he would have known about this at least as long ago in Robert Spencer's  2003 post, a good 8 years before he did from the MSM.  But whereas Spencer would have been labelled as an "Islamophobe" for revealing this Islamic practice (and it's exclusively an Islamic practice), now that it's the BBC reporting it's "goodness me, what a shocking thing"....  Just think how many more women this very nice doctor could have helped, if he'd read Spencer and not been blinded by spurious claims that they're hate sites and Islamophobic.

Afghani police rape and kill young "chai boys":

BBC's Panorama episode of last week "uncovered evidence" of the practice of Afghani police raping young boys (called "chai boys"), and in some cases killing them if they tried to escape. (here, but only for 12 months)
Again, if you had been reading the anti-Jihad bloggosphere, you would have known about this at least as long ago as  2008.  This site reports it in its post "Thursday night is boyz night", and notes, correctly -- as the only-just aired Panorama episode proves -- "Police rape of young boys ignored". Yes, quite.  Until now, that is, and since it's the BBC, we can now say ""goodness me, what a shocking thing"....  Before then, the website that reported the practice five years ago would have been denounced as "Islamophobic".

An older example:

Muslim persecution of Christians in the Middle East:

Raymond Ibrahim has been blogging about this for many years, here.  But the MSM only reported on it as recently as 2011, eg, Jeff Jacoby "In Egypt, a new pogrom".

Saturday 23 February 2013

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Memo to Iran's regime: it's not Hollywood, it's you....

... who makes Iran look bad.  Or who makes "Iranians look stupid, backward and simple-minded in this movie [Argo]".  No, it's not Hollywood, and it's not the Iranian people, it's you, the Islamic theocratic government of Iran who does this.
Courtesy of New York Times' Alert on Islam, we learn: "Stung by 'Argo', Iran backs Conference Denouncing 'Hollywoodism'".
Some choice quotes:
A self-described “specialist in anti-Iranian and anti-Islamic films,” he [Mehdi Tondro] fumed over scenes of angry Iranians storming the gates of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979.
You mean like this?:
These are "angry Iranians"...

... this is them storming..

... this is the American Embassy in Tehran...

.... and this is those mobs storming the gates.
I haven't seen Argo (yet), but you don't need to be a "hollywoodist", or spin this up at all, to make it nice drama.  For what are these pictures if not "angry Iranians storming the gates of the American Embassy"?
Then conference attendee E. Michael Jones:
 ... an American and the editor of Culture Wars, a conservative Christian magazine, said he was impressed by the way Iranians had managed to ban all exhibits of sexuality from their society. “There was a reason Iranians burned their cinemas during the revolution,” he said. “Their desexualization of their culture has been so efficient; I am truly impressed by that.”
You mean "desexualization" like the stoning of women ("Iran's grim history of death by stoning" from the BBC) and hanging of homosexuals? ("Iranian Gay Men To Be Hanged for Sodomy" from Huffington Post).  And burning cinemas is supposed to be a step forward in human culture, something you're "impressed" by?

Surreally, we also learn that:
Mr. Abbasi said popular TV series like “The Simpsons,” “Lost” and “South Park” were part of a ploy to present famous Hollywood directors as new philosophers, pushing “a mix of ideologies,” which all accumulated in “Hollywoodism,” he said.
Right, got it.
Of course, all this is complete nonsense. Of a kind with Ahmadinejad's various Holocaust denial conferences.
On a lighter note, comments from Amil Ami, an Iranian Muslim apostate, who reminds us that Islam was foisted on non-Arab Persians, with their long history expunged after the invasion of Islam.  He points out the difference between the youth of today's Iran and their Islamist theocrats.
There's a lovely video on Ami's post above, on the hopes and aspirations of Iran's youth.  A youth whose demonstrations against their Mahdist government was so sadly ignored by the Obama administration.  Ami's other comments in the post are worth a read too, as is his own interview, the third down of his embedded videos.

[BTW: note that I've quoted from the New York Times and the Huffington Post, both left-of-centre sites, to preempt any criticism that this might be the ravings of "right wing Islamophobic" websites and the like.  These are Mainstream Media...]

Sunday 17 February 2013

Immigrants and Bureaucrats in E.U. Capital: letter from Europe

Quote, from New York Times:
.... what has made his [Lucas Vander Taelen] 2009 article so noteworthy is that he is a politician from the Green party, a former deputy in the European Parliament and now an elected representative of Brussels’s Dutch-speaking population to the Flemish Parliament, which governs Flanders, in northern Belgium. By criticizing the behavior of young immigrant youths, he found himself cast out from the unspoken confines of Belgium’s politically correct — or “bien pensant” — circles.
“I got furious e-mails from orthodox leftists, who wanted to denounce me to the commission on racism,” he said. “I didn’t respond. Everyone who knows me knows I am not a racist.”
But there were other reactions. “I got enormous support, with thousands of e-mails. Even now, people say ‘thank you’ on the street, on TV and radio,” he said. “Obviously, I touched a chord.”
What tripped the wire for Mr. Vander Taelen was a series of threats and acts of violence against a Brussels art gallery that had displayed a work by a French-Algerian artist, featuring a pair of red high-heeled shoes, strategically placed on a prayer rug.
Then and now, an unapologetic Mr. Vander Taelen makes a larger point that goes beyond bad behavior to values — and the need to impress upon Brussels’s immigrants, many of them Muslims, respect for concepts like the separation of church and state, women’s equality and freedom of speech. [end quote]
Interesting that this article should appear in the "paper of record", the New York Times, not usually known for raising anything unpleasant if it's to do with Islam, the "religion of peace"....
Things must be getting bad in Brussels, indeed the whole of Europe, for the Times to take note.  I imagine it must be rather worse than what the article describes as "low-decibel tension of life with North African immigrants in the heart of the Belgian capital".
For "young immigrant youth" from "North Africa" read also "Muslim": West to East in North Africa: Morocco and Tunisia: 98% Muslim, Libya 97%, Egypt 97%.  I mention this because Vander Talen describes his daughter and his being spat at and called "many bad things", when they venture into these immigrant areas, and it's Islam that calls on its adherents to separate themselves from the infidel and to look down on them.  This is known in Islam as "The Doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity".  Eg, "Let not the believers take unbelievers for their friends in preference to believers." [K 3.028].

Article, behind paywall.  Or: Pdf.

Saturday 16 February 2013

The aim of Islam in America

Click to enlarge
I've finally come across the original article quoting the then chairman of CAIR* (Council of American Islamic Relations), Omar M. Ahmad, stating clearly the aim of Islam in the US.  This is especially significant in that CAIR is the "go-to" outfit for the US government when it wants to find out what the "Muslim street" in the US thinks about any issue.
Here is Ahmad's key statement from the article:
Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant, he said.  The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth, he said.
This is entirely consisted with the core doctrines in Islam -- the Koran, the Hadith and the Sirah, or life of Muhammad.  It's also consistent with the aims of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which CAIR is an American representative.
Pour memoire, the motto of the Brotherhood, is:

Allah is our objective
The Prophet is our leader
The Koran is our law
Jihad is our way
Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

Islam and Islamism: are they one and the same?

On this question -- are Islam and Islamism the same, or is the latter a "hijacking" and "perversion" of the former -- this article -- "Fractures on the Right" -- by David Solway is terrific.
The comments are worth a read, too.

Aftermath of revolution

Was wondering recently about the outcomes of revolutions.  Considering that the so-called "Arab Spring" has not so far led to Jeffersonian Democracy, but chaos -- Libya, Syria (ongoing), Tunisia (new chaos) -- or new incipient demagogues (Egypt).  China had its revolution, and while the outcome, positive or negative is arguable, I'd say it was in the negative overall, especially in the forty long years 1940-1980.
On the Arab uprisings, the bloggosphere -- eg, the likes of Ibrahim, Spencer, Pipes -- has been more correct than the mainstream media (MSM), in predicting the outcome.
Or, "at least so far", the optimists in the MSM would say.  Look the the American Revolution, the French. Both were chaotic for decades, even centuries, before they proved their worth.  Give the "Arab Spring" more time, their argument goes.
In a recent post on Crooked Timber, "Does anyone ever get the revolution they asked for?" there's a long discussion of this issue, with not much definitive conclusion, as I read it....  If anything, the answer of these left-of-centre commenters is rather that the answer to the question is "no"; though less certain if that's to the upside or downside.
In an article in the International Herald Tribune yesterday, "Aftermath of revolution" [paywalled] by Michael Albertus and Victory Menaldo, there's the following:
Since the end of World War II, there have been roughly 50 major revolutions that have either toppled autocratic regimes or led to significant political reform in "flawed" democracies.  For those revolutions that have occurred under dictatorships, only about a third have resulted in transitions to democracy. [My emphasis]
Still, they end with an optimistic forecast....
As with all revolutions, to remain on a trajectory toward democracy requires continued popular pressure an all those with the capacity to hijack democratic aspirations.  This suggests that street protests in these countries are far from over.  In the long term, this instability may pay off in the form of democracy.
Or may not..... I'm not so sure, meself.  In the case of the Arab uprisings, there's the extra issue of religion: the new dictatorships are going to be Islamic, as the bloggosphere has consistently and -- so far -- correctly predicted.  These, for what one sees from the history of the Islamic theocracies, are robust, and long-lasting.  Too bad for their peoples and their non-Muslim minorities.

Friday 15 February 2013

"Government ignores eco-friendly solution to waste management"

Letter to South China Morning Post:

Your February 14 edition carried two references to more modern technology to deal with Hong Kong's waste management than the MBT ('mass burn technology") currently being considered by the government.
In his letter ("Government ignores eco-friendly solution to waste management"), Don Johnston of Green Island Cement again proposes the "Eco Co-Combustion System", which he claims is less than half the price of MBT, with any residue ash being used in cement production.  Key advangates: cheaper, higher capacity, less final residue.
Howard Winn's Lai See column mentions Clear the Air's submission to LegCo for the use of plasma gasification technology, claiming that MBT is "dinosaur technology". Key advantages of plasma gasification: cheaper, greater capacity, residue can produce jet fuel.
While either of these proposals would appear to be superior to the government's MBT solution, I am not an expert in any of them, and I presume most of your readers are not either.
Given the importance and cost differentials of these various proposals, could your editors consider asking for a more detailed articles on your "Insight" page from each of Mr Johnson, Clear the Air and the government?  
if the government sticks to the MBT option, we the taxpayers would really like to know why, and why these other apparently more modern, cheaper and cleaner solutions are not suitable for Asia's World City.

Beware of Errant Asteroids....

Due in our neighbourhood today....
More here...

Thursday 14 February 2013

Chinese leaders must keep a brash and reckless PLA in check - or risk war

Chinese leaders must keep PLA under the thumb, or....    SCMP photo
Further to the more sanguine assessment on the likelihood of Sino-Japanese war by Trefor Moss, here, yesterday's article in the South China Morning Post --  Chinese leaders must keep a brash and reckless PLA in check - or risk war --  points to the danger of miscalculation leading to a Japan-China war, because of the poor control of China's armed forces by the civilian political forces. [pdf here, if the above link not accessible]

And, same day, Frank Ching -- a long-term and reliable observer of China -- echoes the point, in A garbled foreign policy does China no good. [pdf]

Worrying stuff, living as we do in the heart of the region....

Wednesday 13 February 2013

The Sweetest Valentine's gift....

a.k.a. "Dear Valentine, I Hate It When You..."
HAVE you decided what to get for your valentine this year? You could try something classic, like chocolates. Or something blingy, like earrings. Or sexy, like lingerie.
But if you really want to improve your relationship, you should give your loved one an i.o.u.  More...

Saturday 9 February 2013

Saudi Hypocrisy At Its Best

The always reliable Raymond Ibrahim on Saudi Arabia's "interfaith dialogue" initiatives vs its treatment of non-Muslims in Saudi.  With plenty of links to the latter, in "Saudi Hypocrisy At Its Best".
In the US, Saudi has funded the majority of mosques, with at least five studies (including one by a moderate Muslim imam and one by the New York Police Department) showing that they really do promote hate ideology.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

The "newspaper of record" breaks a story... two years late

The New York Times has finally caught up with the fact that the Imam behind the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque", Feisal Abdul Rauf, is a fraud.
In its article of February 5, Donor, Citing Fraud, Sues Imam Tied to Mosque Near Ground Zero, the NYT notes that a Mr Deak had donated money "to a project to combat anti-Muslim sentiment".  Instead, says the suit, Rauf used the money for personal real estate, lavish trips and a luxury sports car.
But if you'd followed the bloggosphere, you would have known about this over two years ago....
And... to combat such alleged "anti-Muslim sentiment", wouldn't the Imam have done better -- instead of hammering the messengers (the likes of Robert Spencer, Raymond Ibrahim, Daniel Pipes, -- to have directed his energies to denouncing his violent co-religionists: those who endlessly, if often fruitlessly, seek to bomb innocent civilians in the US, or who have carried out over 20,000 terror attacks since 9/11?
How much would alleged "Islamophobia" reduce if instead of propaganda (and fraud), Imam Rauf concentrated on the "Five points to Moderate Islam"...
Spencer has comment here.

Monday 4 February 2013

Rise of Islamic Converts Challenges France

The Sahaba mosque in Créteil, a Paris suburb, popular with those converting to Islam.
Photo: New York Times
From the "paper of record", the New York Times, this report of the rising number of converts to Islam in France.
This conversion business has always puzzled me in the sense of "I don't get it".  I've never really understood why people convert(*) to the religion if they've read the Trilogy (aka the Trinity), the core documents of Islam.  Unless they convert without having read the Trinity, because they convert for the sake, say, of marriage: Muslim men, for example, are forbidden from converting to another religion, so a woman wanting to marry a Muslim must convert.  And maybe she does so without much due diligence... [Later: Melissa Kite ponders the issue of conversion to Islam for the sake of marriage, in "Britain's new Muslims"]
The NYT article suggests another reason: converting to be better socially integrated in the French neighbourhoods where Islam is dominant.  It is a kind of "reverse integration", says Giles Kepel, an expert on Islam and les bainlieues, in the article. This in itself says something about Islam: of its strong overt appearance, the "whole of life" aspects of its ideology, which compel near neighbours to covert for the sake of peace in their lives.
I live in a neighbourhood here in Hong Kong that is quite strongly Christian; neighbours hang out banners assuring me that "Jesus is Love", or that he "Saves" (me, presumably).  On Sundays a steady stream of churchgoers passes by our place.  But I never feel in the least that I'd be better off "integrating" by converting from my atheism to Christianity.  With Islam, by contrast, and as the article notes, the social pressure in a Muslim neighbourhood to convert is strong, verging on compulsion.
This increasing rate of conversion to Islam has its downsides: French anti-terrorism officials, according to the article,
... have been warning for years that converts represent a critical element of the terrorist threat in Europe, because they have Western passports and do not stand out....  Converts "often need to overdo it if they want to be accepted" as Muslim, and so veer into extremism more frequently that others, said Didier Leschi, who was in charge of religious issues at the Interior Ministry.....
There you have it: to be better "integrated" into substantial areas around Paris, les bainlieues, you need to convert to Islam, and to be a really good Muslim, you have to turn to terrorism.... To show your cred, man....
I wonder if that rather revelatory implication has dawned on France's Interior Ministry.  And if so, what they plan to do about it.
(*) The Muslim term for converts is "Revert".  The reason is that in normative Islam it is considered that everyone is actually born a Muslim, but is misled into believing another religion, such as Christianity or Buddhism (or Atheism too, I guess).  Hence, when the conversion to Islam happens, it's considered reverting to one's origin at birth, which is as a Muslim.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Another busy year for "One Law for All"

It has been another busy year for One Law for All and we thank you as always for your support – without which, our vital work would not be possible. We are particularly grateful to our 100 Club regular donors.
Sudanese ex-Muslim and One Law for All activist Nahla Mahmoud has spoken eloquently on Channel 4 about the discriminatory nature of Sharia and the urgent need for our campaign.
Whilst 2012 has been a year of ups and downs in the fight against sharia and Islamism and in defence of secularism, equality and rights, there is every reason to be optimistic as we enter 2013.
The public debate on sharia is changing and this is no more evident than at our speeches and speaking engagements. University societies the length and breadth of Britain are increasingly speaking out for secularism and human rights. Moreover, a Bill to reign in the power of sharia in Britain has passed two readings in the House of Lords, sharia bodies have been exposed as being abusive to children in 'marrying' young girls to old men, forced marriage has been discussed in Parliament with a Government commitment to criminalise the practice, and One Law for All continues to grow and to influence this debate - including in our vital opposition to the far-Right and its attempts to hijack the issue of sharia law to further its own racist agenda. A summary of our 2012 activities can be seen here.
Plans for 2013
With your help, One Law for All will continue to lead the fight against sharia in Britain and elsewhere, and for equal rights for all, including by supporting the Equality Bill and speaking across the country and internationally to raise awareness and mobilise support.
Moreover, we plan to release a report entitled: “Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left”, which accompanies our previous report “Enemies Not Allies - The Far Right” and highlights those who support and provide cover for Islamists and pro-sharia advocates. We also plan to issue a report and hold a seminar on the failures of multiculturalism in the area of child protection. We will be organising debates with Islamists and the Far-Right and issuing a call for papers on Sharia law across Europe too.
December 2013 will mark our fifth anniversary; we plan to celebrate with a huge concert, including with finalists of our “Songs for Freedom” music competition organised by Shelley Segal. We are inviting musicians and songwriters to create and submit their original material for the competition.
Support us!
Clearly, much has changed in the public debate on Sharia law and equality as a result of our campaign. If you can, please continue to support us in our essential work. To donate to One Law for All, send a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal. You can also commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to donate or join the 100 Club here.
Also, if you shop online, please do so via the Easy Fundraising’s website. It won’t cost you anything extra but can help raise much needed funds for One Law for All.
Thanks again for your invaluable support. We look forward to continuing to fight for human rights for all in 2013.
Warmest wishes
Maryam Namazie
Anne Marie WatersSpokespersonsOne Law for AllBM Box2387, London WC1N 3XX, UKtel: +44 (0) 7719166731email: onelawforall@gmail.comweb:

Friday 1 February 2013

Richard Dawkins on "Islamic Barbarians"

The inimitable Dawkins sticks the boot in to the "barbarians" who burnt the books in Timbuktu... irreplaceable ancient texts.
He cops it on Twitter from the apologists.
He also cops it from the anti-jihadists, in this post.  Some say he's only just "come to his senses".
But he's long been a stern critics of Islam, as Meeker points out in the comments:
Dawkins, though an equal opportunity critic of all religions, saves particular opprobrium for Islam.
Take this, for example, in 2011:
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.
There's more from Dawkins and a video of his talk here.