Monday 30 March 2015

The big Islamophobia lie: A shameful new assault on Charlie Hebdo

Interesting that this sane and sensible discussion of "Islamophobia" was carried in Salon, usually an Islamopologist site....
Every once in a while, the faithful of one or another denomination collude to impose on us a spectacle ostensibly meant to be serious, but which turns out to be farcical. Pretty much all major evangelical gatherings or religious talk shows meet this description, hosted, as they inevitably are, by sanctimonious sermonizers who can be merely antiquated and ridiculous, if in a venomous sort of way (Pat Robertson comes to mind), or outright fraudsters (recall Jim Bakker), or even just plain old hypocrites (Ted Haggard). They reliably spout odious piffle, fleece their credulous flock and get off in most un-Christian ways. But for rationalists, at least, all this usually amounts to little more than something to be laughed at and quickly forgotten. Oh, the humorous ephemera of faith!In the United Kingdom, however, a different situation obtains, and it is no laughing matter. For the past 30 years, church attendance has been plummeting; one can almost speak of the death throes of Christianity there. But Islam is decidedly in no need of a requiem. Since 1982, at least 85 Shariah councils have dispensed their peculiar form of “justice” to an unknown number of the country’s almost 3 million Muslims. Islam has even begun extending its tentacles into British law enforcement. A body called the National Association of Muslim Police has worked tirelessly, says its website, to promote the hiring and promotion of Muslim officers, “tackle Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime,” and lastly, “assist with countering terrorism.” In theory, the keeping of law and order should be an objective, unbiased task; exactly how adding a confessional element will help the cause of justice in the U.K. remains to be seen.
But there’s more....  [here]

If you insult my mother and I punch you, what do you think should happen?

The South China Morning Post usually runs my letters, but not the one below... I think they'd had enough of the issue of "Freedom of Speech", in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.  They've moved on to the plastic bag levy.
The letters editors may also have been a bit squeamish about the forthright criticism of the Pope, though surely he deserved all that, for his unconscionable incitement to violence.

Still, I post it here, for the whatever, the record, I guess, as I can't fault my logic....

If you insult my mother and I punch you, what do you think should happen?  That's right, I should be arrested for assault.
Your insulting my mother is rude and in bad taste (she's 95, after all, and blameless). But my punching you is assault and battery: a criminal act. 
This clear distinction (bad taste vs criminality) seems to elude not only Su Yuen-ching ("Right to insult doesn't make it free of fallout", Letters, 27 February), but also Pope Francis, who Su praises as "one of the kindest people in the world”.
It was Francis, lest we forget, who said that anyone who insulted his mother should “expect a punch”.
For my part, I find it not at all admirable, but repulsive, that the spiritual leader of the world's largest religion should suggest a *punch* in response to insult: it’s criminally and morally wrong.
The Pope’s comments supporting violence was his response the Charlie Hebdo murders. This makes them worse, and irresponsible in the extreme. No matter how much his office may have tried to "walk back” this Papal punchiness, Francis' comments excuse, or at least mitigate, the murder of cartoonists for their "insult" of Islam. I don't see how else this can be read.
And this is the broader problem in ceding free speech rights to the offense takers. There's always another offense to be taken. And always another level of violence that they can rise to. Saudi Arabia took offense to a blogger. They sentenced him to jail and 1,000 lashes. Bangladeshis took offense to an atheist blogger . They hacked him to death. Jihadis took offense at Charlie Hebdo. They killed them.
These are all of a type. If you write something and I take offence, I can punch, or whip, or jail or kill you. Yet in response to this, many of your letter writers have said that it's free speech that must be constrained so that we don't "cause offence". Not that the criminals should be brought to account.
Very well. But then those same letter writers must understand that giving ground to offense takers is to excuse the multitude of criminal sins against free people.  They may deny it (“tolerance”, “respect”, “don’t offend”), but it’s an inescapable result of their brand of logic.
+++++  [include or not the following….]
I suspect your readers may be tiring of the debate in these pages between a free speech fundamentalist such as myself and those who would limit it.
So, for my part, this is the last I'll say for now, as you've been good enough to publish two of my letters on the topic so far.
I'll leave with an observation from Oscar Wilde: "I may not agree with you say, but will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself."

Friday 27 March 2015

Jamie Oliver is posh. And Nigel Slater is just pretending to be gay

I came across this spoof some time ago and found it amusing. I'm watching Nigel's Simple Suppers which reminded me...

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Tuesday 24 March 2015

Teaching Doubt - The New Yorker

Religious beliefs vary widely, of course—not all faiths, or all faithful people, are the same.
But it seems fair to say that, on average, religious faith appears to be an obstacle to understanding the world.

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Amnesty International: some alliances are more impartial than others | openDemocracy

On the ongoing idiocy of Amnesty International, which seems to have lost its way -- or been taken over by Islamist apologists.

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Designing Private Cities, Open to All -

Interesting article. I've lived (more than three years) in Rome, Sydney, New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. In all, the local services have been government councils.
Now I live in a part of Hong Kong which is a privately designed and privately run "city" of 17,000 on Lantau Island.
And I can say this: we are better run, more efficiently run and more economically run than any of the places I've lived in.
Private cities are the way to go.
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Monday 23 March 2015

Why Islam Needs a Reformation

“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.
Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.
[The rest]
[Archive version]

Lee Kuan Yew: speaker of Hard Truths, even on Islam

Lee Kuan Yew died earlier today.  He was a truly great man, father of Singapore, polymath, tough politician, "ruthless pragmatist" as the BBC called him this morning.
He was in no way a bigot, and ruled a polyglot multicultural city-state. But he witnessed and experienced the increasing religiosity of his country's Muslims.  He'd grown up with many Malay Muslims, had many as close friends. He lamented how they became increasingly self-alienating, a result, he said, of Iran's revolution of 1979 and of Saudi Arabia, awash with petri-dollars, supporting Wahhabism throughout the world (and I think he's right on those primary causes of the current Islamic resurgence):
"The generation that worked with me - Othman Wok, Ramin Ishak -- that was before the wave came sweeping them; that generation integrated well.  We drank beer, we went canvassing, we went electioneering, we ate together.
"Now they say 'are the plates clean?' I said 'You know, same washing mating'. Halal, non-halal and so on.  I mean they are all division.  The are distinguishing me from you: 'I'm a believer, you are not'...
A few other select quotes from "Hard Truths" (p217-258):
"If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religions and who has family ties in Malaysa in change of a machine-gun unit, that's a very tricky business.  We've go to know his background.  I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I didn't think that, and I thin even if today the Prime Minster doesn't think careful about this, we could have a tragedy".  
[Brings to mind Nidal Hasan, doesn't it? But, of course, the US government couldn't acknowledge that 'Hard Truth']. (p222).
"Lee... does not see the difference between great piety and a desire for exclusivity" (p223)
"I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam." (p228).  And "Islam is exclusive." (p230) 
[Not that the host society won't integrate them, mind, but the Islam encourages its adherent not to integrate]

His greatest move was to ensure that Islamism would not imperil Singaporean society by ruling that there would be no foreign (read: Saudi) funding of mosques in Singapore and no funding of foreign "preachers".
"It's the surge of Wahhabism and the oil money that funds it [Islamism].  The Saudis have been building mosques all over the Muslim world and to the mosque, they send their preachers.  Here, we build our mosques and we don't need their preachers.  Our situation is less severe." (p234).
"We don't need their money or their preachers". (p236) 
 Should we not follow that example?  If we want a "less severe" situation?  After all, in Australia, we have a worrying number going off to join ISIS.  And in Hong Kong, we have reports of ISIS trying to recruit local Indonesian domestic helpers to their hideous ideology.  Ban all foreign funding of mosques and foreign imams.

Security gaps, isolated Muslims may explain why Australia a hotbed of Islamic State recruiting

Hass Dellal, executive director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, which promotes awareness of cultural diversity within Australia, said that history might make Americans more resistant to Islamic State recruiting.
Dellal also said public discussion of issues around radicalization and extremism is more balanced in the United States than in Australia, which effectively banned Middle Eastern Muslims from immigrating until the 1970s.
What does Dellal mean?  Does he mean that if Australia had not banned Muslim immigration to Australia until the 1970s, we would have less ISIS recruiting, because they, Muslims, had been around longer and were more numerous?
But the evidence in the west, in Europe and the US, is that the problem with Islamic radicalism is with second and third generation Muslims, not with the original immigrants. So, if we'd had earlier Muslim immigration to Australia, we would, logically, have more of the second and third generation and more of a problem, not less.
In the US, Muslims are around 0.7% of the population and in Australia 2.2%.  Three times more, per capita.
The issue is numbers.

Is blatant Islamophobia becoming mainstream inside the GOP?

A very Islamopologist article at the Washington Post.
Do they [conservatives] really think that using the word “Islamic” more to talk about threats to the United States would make those threats easier to defeat? Who knows?
Well, we do know.  Godwin's law notwithstanding, we must talk about the Nazis. Churchill was well aware of the threat in the 30's, though few agreed with him and the result was war. No doubt, when the Tommies and Grunts were fighting Germans, they didn't think of the ideology.  Nazism, to them, was irrelevant; they had to fight and kill the enemy.
But had their political leaders in the UK taken earlier notice of Nazi ideology, they might have been earlier to be clear on its supremacist aims, and -- perhaps, perhaps only -- managed to avoid the later carnage.
So, similarly, we must acknowledge that the ideology of Islam is a motivator for the likes of the Islamic State and Boko Haram.  Obama's refusal to acknowledge this can only complicate the fight.
How can it be bad -- or "Islamophobic -- to call it for what it is: motivated by basic tenets of Islam the Islamic Trinity?
Sun Zi: "know your enemy".

Saturday 21 March 2015

Who can blame China for Asian bank move?

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Tuesday 17 March 2015

The Graham Wood article: "What ISIS really wants"

Been much quoted in the web-osphere.
Here's the original link and here is the archived link.
And here is Sam Harris talking to Graham Wood.
Basically: ISIS is Muslim, even if most Muslims don't agree with it, and even if ISIS doesn't agree with most Muslims.  They're Muslim nonetheless....
And that's important for understanding their motivations and hence how to counter them.
As I write this, I'm listening to a BBC4 program Moral Maze, discussion the three Muslim girls who have headed off to join ISIS.  They're wondering about their motivations.  How about.... Islam...?
And how about: let's not worry about them, but not let them come back to the UK?...

Imam: ISIS wicked, barbaric – and antithesis of Islam

"Wicked", yes; "barbaric", yes; "antithesis of Islam", no. (an e.g. from professor Daniel Pipes).
But the real reason to post a link to this article is that it's a lesson on how to be an apologist for Islam.  Islamopolgia 101, if you will.
It's all there: Islam just the same as Christianity and Judaism; the Bible is just as violent as the Koran; Islam as the "religion of peace"; Islam "hijacked" and "perverted" by those who claim to act in its name. And so on.
Though none of this apologia bears even a modicum of scrutiny.
Christianity has a Trinity, which to Islam is heretical and blasphemous.  It is "shirk".
The Bible has its violent passages, but they are descriptive of a time, told by Moses, whereas the Koran's calls to violence are the commands of Allah, for all time.
The Bible has been reinterpreted over time -- Biblical exegesis -- whereas any reinterpretation of the Koran is heresy and punishable by death.
Islam has not been "hijacked" by ISIS.  It's its deep motivation.
The comparison with the KKK, please.. give me a break.  KKK was never really Christian, and today accounts for a few thousand crazies, ever fewer,  whereas Islamist crazies are in the hundreds of thousands, and growing.

Monday 16 March 2015

Australian Preacher Incites to Jihad against the Jews: "They Are the Most Evil Creatures of Allah"

Viciously bigoted anti-semites in Australia.  Of which religion? Guess...

Pope says Koran is a book of peace and Islam is a peaceful religion | Daily Mail Online

For the Pope to consider the Koran a "book of peace", can only mean that he hasn't read the Koran.
For the Koran is, quite simply, the most violent, supremacist, sectarian, homophobic and misogynist book that you could ever read.  In a word: it's a shocker!

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Saturday 14 March 2015

Terry Pratchett in quotes: 15 of the best | Books | The Guardian

Thinking of Charlie Hebdo and the murderers who thought they knew the truth...
The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it. – from Monstrous Regiment
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Countering Islamic Extremism by Peter Singer - Project Syndicate

The Islamic State *IS* Islamic! No matter how much Obama may tell us the Emperor does have clothes...
[quote] PRINCETON – Last month, US President Barack Obama hosted a three-day summit on "Countering Violent Extremism." That term has already spawned a new abbreviation, "CVE," used no fewer than 12 times in a Fact Sheet released by the Obama administration on February 18.
The Fact Sheet also uses the term "violent extremism" 21 times. How many times do, terms like "Islam," "Islamic," or "Muslim" appear? Zero. There is not even a reference to the "Islamic State." That entity is referred to only by the initials "ISIL." [end quote]

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Theocracy with a Human Face : Sam Harris

Asim Qureshi, the not-so-stealthy jihadist, has been all over the media recently. Here's the conclusion of Sam Harris' comments, with the vid with the oleaginous Qureshi:
In Greenwald's world, any worry that groups like CAGE and CAIR are covertly advancing a deeply illiberal Islamist agenda is just more anti-Muslim bigotry. In the real world, this is a perfectly reasonable concern supported by facts.
Look again at the dissembling of Qureshi. Listen to all his seemingly sane and balanced talk about the "disenfranchisement" and "unnecessary targeting" of young Muslim men, about "cycles of violence," and about jihad's being nothing more than the universal principle of "self-defense." And then realize that this voice of moderation believes that in a properly constituted caliphate, gays, apostates, blasphemers, and adulterers will be stoned to death, Jews and Christians will be forced to pay a protection tax, and all other non-Muslims will live as slaves.
This is theocracy with a human face. Where are the real liberals who will oppose it? 

Friday 13 March 2015

The Secret State vs. Enemies of State - Taki's Magazine

Why on earth should the British police apologise for the three teenage girls going to ISIS?
Had they been more intrusive before they would have been accused of unfairly targeting the Muslim community.

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Wednesday 11 March 2015

Mods vs Choppers :: SteynOnline

Which covers, towards the end, the outrageous award of "Islamophobe of the Year" by the UK's Islamic Human Rights Commission (yeah, I know...), to Charlie Hebdo. Remember them? It was supposed to be "je suis Charlie". It never really was. Now, a rash of UK worthies, supporting the IHRC, have made clear it's not.
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Muslim community rejects the State’s criminalisation of Islam and condemns moves to silence legitimate critique and dissent

The one that jumped out at me from the list of whines in the link below is this one:
5) Similarly, it is unacceptable to label as 'extremist' numerous normative Islamic opinions on a variety of issues, founded on the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), implying there is a link between them and violence, using such labels as an excuse to silence speakers. 
When "normative Islamic opinions" based on the Koran and the Sunnah (ie the Hadith) call for lopping off the heads of infidels, for killing apostates, for beating disobedient wives, we're not to think that's "extreme"? Maybe it's not, to the list of worthies at the end of this mega moan.
But for the rest of us, let's keep ourselves clear. Calls to violence in the Koran and the Sunnah are going to lead pious Muslims to be violent. Oh, *that's* why so many are!
(H/t Harry's Place)
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Later: Fasdunkle nails it in the comments at Harry's Place:
"The whole thing could be boiled down to 2 points:
1) Do not limit what we say and do
2) We wish to limit what you say and do"’s-criminalisation-of-islam-and-condemns-moves-to-silence-legitimate-critique-and-dissent/

The Left's Mess in Venezuela

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Fathom – Anti-Judaism, Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism

This is partial answer to Miriam Margolyes' ludicrous claim on Australia's ABC QandA on 3 March, that people "hate Jews" because of Israel. Actually, the anti semitism in Europe is now Muslim-based, for there's a long history, going back to the origin of Islam, of Islam's hostility to Jews. No doubt hatred of Israel is part of the equation, but only a part. If Israel were driven into the seas tomorrow, Jew hatred would continue. That's clear from Islamic doctrine and the manifold statements of Muslim spokesmen everywhere.
Islam's hostility to Jews derived from Muhammad's hostility to Jews: they had laughed at his message, that he was the latest and the last of god's prophets.
There's one thing about Mo that we know for sure: he couldn't take a razzing... (Female poets poking fun at him take note).
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Thursday 5 March 2015

Decapitation and Capitulation - Taki's Magazine

The always politically incorrect Taki...
"Islam is not a peaceful religion, but a murderous one, and most Muslims wish us dead. The quicker we get used to the fact, the better off we'll be."

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Tuesday 3 March 2015

Our "ally", Saudi Arabia, honours the repellent Zakir Naik

The oleaginous Zakir Naik has been award a top prize for "services to Islam", by the equally repellent Saudi regime.
I'm a bit of a demon for punishment about this stuff, so over the years I have watched a number of YouTube videos of Naik preaching.  He's quick, smart, charming even (in his oily way), and certainly knows his Koran, which he quotes with facility.
He's also in favour of:

  • Killing homosexuals, 
  • Killing apostates from Islam, 
  • Waging terrorist against non-Muslims, 
  • Not allowing churches in Muslim countries, 
  • Having sex with slaves.  
  • He's also a 9-11 Truther, though that's maybe the least of his repellent views.

And yet, our so-called "ally", Saudi Arabia, seems fit to award their top prize to him.  For "services to Islam", no less.
And that's after they decided to imprison and publicly whip a critic itself, just days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
These two repellent characters, Naik and Saudi, deserve each other.  But do we deserve them?
Why, one would think that the Saudi regime held the US, the west, in contempt!

Monday 2 March 2015

There Are 13 Countries Where Atheism Is Punishable by Death - The Wire

Surprise, surprise, all are Muslim countries.
And in all but one, you will also face the death penalty if you become an apostate, that you no longer believe in Islam.

To Hell With Silence

A Clash of Cultures at Charlie Hebdo > Joseph S. Spoerl

On blasphemy and its punishment by death in many Muslim countries.

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Is ISIS Islamic? - CNN Video

The wonderful Asra Nomani nails it here. "You have to name it to tame it"
ISIS IS ISlamic.

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Why the survey of British Muslim attitudes is so profoundly disconcerting - Comment - Voices - The Independent

Large minorities, majorities in some cases, don't think that Islam is compatible with western values and sympathise with Islamists.

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'Jihadi John': The bourgeois terrorist -

Again and again we see that Jihadi terrorists aren't the poor and disenfranchised. They're well to do. Middle or upper class.
Same with all the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorists. All were professionals with fine jibs.
What must happen for Obama and co to acknowledge this truth, which must be faced if we're ever to deal effectively with the threat?.

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davidthompson: Apparently, Maths is Hard

Oh Dear, and Natalie Bennett is an Aussie!

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Sunday 1 March 2015

They sought paradise in a Scottish field — and found hunger, boredom and mosquitoes » The Spectator

Somehow I missed this in my favourite Speccie...
"...designs for living always end in tears, or worse. From the Russian Revolution to Jonestown, programmes for human happiness come a cropper. It's best to muddle along as we are, not because human beings are morons or suckers, or traitors to the cause, but because life is meant to be messy, muddled, contrary, comic. In any event, when the balloon goes up, I have my plan ready. I shall hide in the stockroom at Morrison's (Strood branch), spending what's left of eternity scoffing their individual fruit pies."