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Showing posts from April, 2016

How moderate are moderate Muslims?

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Posting the whole of Rod Liddle's article from last week's Spectator, as it seems to be under a paywall, but only sometimes (which I don't quite get).

Anyway, not a good week for promoters of the "moderate muslim" fallacy and that we'll all be right in the end. We may not. The ICM poll is still reverberating.
******* How moderate are moderate Muslims?There is an ocean between what British Muslims believe and what the rest of us believe
‘What’s in the news this week?’ I asked my wife as she browsed the first newspaper we had seen for a whole week, having hitherto been blissfully disconnected from the rest of the country, without phones or the internet. ‘Muslims, largely,’ she replied, flicking from page to page, ‘a bit on in-and-out, but mainly it’s the Muslims.’ Oh, good. A perpetual optimist, I had rather hoped that during our week away the frequently promised Islamic Reformation might have taken place and peace and enlightenment spread all those many mil…

Terrorist organisations: Islam is top of the pops

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In 2010 I put together an excel sheet of all the officially designated terrorist organisations in the world and calculated how many were Islamic.  At that time it was 98%.
In August 2015 I updated the sheet and these were the headline figures:
Total: 127 (141 on Wikipedia, but I removed the ones no longer active)Total religiously-based: 89 (77% of total)Islamic as % of Total: 72%Islamic as % of religiously-based: 93.3% I've just done another update and the headline figures are:
Total: 157 (176 Wikipedia page, inactive removed)Total religiously-based: 124 (79% of total)Islamic as % of Total: 75%Islamic as % of religiously-based: 94.4% Here's a clip of the summary of the latest figures:


At the risk of belabouring the obvious, a few observations:
Terrorism organisation numbers are up, with religiously-based organisations up even more as a proportion of the total.Islamic terrorist groups are the large majority of all terrorist groups. Of the religiously-based ones, Islamic terrorist…

It's official: the greater the Muslim % of the population the greater the gender gap

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The South China Morning Postreported on the 27 April that Saudi Arabia was still not ready to lift the ban on women driving (just contemplate that for a moment: women are not allowed to drive!).
/Snip:
Saudi Arabia isn’t ready to end the world’s only ban on women driving, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, arguing it’s not just a matter of ending strictures imposed by the kingdom’s austere form of Islam.
Allowing women to drive is “not a religious issue as much as it is an issue that relates to the community itself that either accepts it or refuses it,” said the 30-year-old prince, who has amassed unprecedented powers since his father, King Salman, ascended to the throne. “The community is not convinced about women driving” and sees negative consequences if it’s allowed, the prince said on Monday after outlining a plan to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil.  [my emphasis] That got me thinking. Can it be that it's not a matter of religion (Islam)?

So I did a bit of re…

Churchill on the respect for all "religions"...

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In February 1945, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was in Egypt and wanted to discuss with the Saudi King ibn Saud a definitive and lasting settlement between Arabs and Jews .
Churchill was told that the King would not allow drinking or smoking in his presence. Churchill recorded:
"I was the host and I said that if it was his religion that made him say such things, my religion prescribed as an absolute sacred ritual smoking cigars and drinking alcohol before, after, and if need be, during, all meals and the intervals between. Complete surrender." Churchill by Himself, p353. [Oh for such straight-talking by today's politicians!]

LATER:More of Churchill's views on Islam.

The Spread of the Gospel.... and Islam

Why the Left Loathes Western Civilization - Dennis Prager

This strikes me as a spot-on analysis. Worrying, what's more.
It's what happens when an ideology ("all are equal"), trumps intelligence and plain common sense.

A Hong Kong Judge’s Warning

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This article in the Wall Street Journal is just the latest in a recent string of actions by Beijing, squashing down on Hong Kong's basic freedoms: freedom of press, freedom of speech, the rule of law.
Some of the comments on this article I find ignorant and mocking.  It really is the rule of law, freedom of conscience and freedom of the press that are the basis for Hong Kong's wealth and openness, and these were operational well before Hong Kong became entwined with China from the early 1980s.

Why I renounced Islam - an ex-Muslim 's Critique of Islam

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Omar Makram is spot on.  Watch and watch again.
Some timestamps:
0'27": "The best cure for religion is studying the scripture"..... Reading is what made me an atheist"
1'18": "Hadith more violent than the Koran"
2'25": The level of violence in the Koran is unacceptable to me"
2'45": "The Koran is incompatible with human rights"
3'25": "Mohammad as a historical figure is a fucking awful person"
5'20": "I might as well believe in werewolves or vampires, or Greek gods"

I found all these in my readings of the Koran and the Hadith.  What I don't get is why people should convert to Islam, after reading the scripture. Either these people haven't read the scriptures, or they have and they find them congenial (hence explaining whey so may converts become "radicalised" jihadis).
Less common is the conversion from Islam to atheism, as Omar explains in the above vid…

Electric shock – Tesla cars in Hong Kong more polluting than petrol models

Hi Mark,
Yes, I saw that.  It was front page in the local South China Morning Post, a couple of weeks back.
Today, there's a counter-argument in a letter to the editor: Cheers P/Forse
Electric cars still the greener option by far I refer to the article, "Electric shock – Tesla cars in Hong Kong more polluting than petrol models" (April 13). The Bernstein report quoted in the article presents a distorted picture, skewing the data to fit the author's investment portfolio. Not surprising, given the report's author's oil and gas background and investments. The most outrageous distortion is the choice of HK Electric in the estimation of carbon intensity, while completely excluding CLP, whose carbon dioxide emissions are 30 per cent lower. CLP generates three-quarters of the electricity, and powers 70 per cent of the electric vehicles, in Hong Kong. Correct that one distortion, and the report result is reversed. Bernstein uses artificial fuel economy figures; produ…

What’s Really Killing India’s Smokers - WSJ

Here's yet another one of the many Things I Don't Get. That otherwise sane and sensible people can simply ignore scientific evidence. These are many of the same folk who urge, say, climate skeptics to "follow the science".  Or who, in the case of GMOs, staunchly refuse the abundant scientific evidence that they're perfectly safe. (The "scientific consensus", as they would say in the case of climate science).  And in the case of e-cigarettes, they refuse to accept the science that vaping is 95% safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes.  This article exposes this idiocy at work in India. And, I'm sad to say, it's also at work in Australia. And in the WHO, headed by our very own Margaret Chen of Hong Kong. Shame on all these intelligent fools.  /Snip: "That vaping is as risky as smoking is a popular falsehood in other countries, notably Australia and Canada, and is spreading in the U.S. In 2014, the WHO "invited [countries] to consider prohibitin…

Rethinking the Global War on Drugs - NYTimes.com

About time too. (There's also an article from the WSJ of 2012, that argues the same case: if newspapers on the left and on the right agree on a policy, we're getting close to something that may be workable).
/Snip:
"At the urging of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, world leaders met at the United Nations in a special session last week to discuss saner ways to fight the drug trade. They did not get very far toward a shift in approach. Nonetheless, there was a consensus that investing in health care, addiction treatment and alternatives to incarceration would do more to end the drug trade than relying primarily on prohibition and criminalization."
Read on>>
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/25/opinion/rethinking-the-global-war-on-drugs.html?referer=https://www.google.com.hk/


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Zones of influence - China in Africa

We had a brief discussion on Dallinghoo about China in Africa.
Here's a short video I came across today in the latest Economist about China's special economic zones in Africa. Interesting I think.
Cheers to all!
http://growthcrossings.economist.com/video/zones-of-influence/


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Is Hillary Clinton Dishonest? - NYTimes.com

I hate Hilary. Hate, I say.
The one-word reason for my hate? Benghazi.
In that murderous incident, Clinton showed a shocking lack of character, a shivering lack of spine, a clear lack of of care; while yet she exhibited fulsome dishonesty: the violence and killings were "due to an anti-Muslim film". No they weren't. They were due to a resurgent Al Q'aeda.
Still, in the interests of fairness, here's an article by Nicholas Kristof that claims a fact-checking firm finds Hilary the most honest of the candidates on both sides.
If that's true then she deserves some recognition for that, even from a Hilary-hater like me.
Read on >>
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/opinion/sunday/is-hillary-clinton-dishonest.html?_r=0&referer=https://www.google.com.hk/


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Italy’s universities bow to Islam and boycott Israel - Arutz Sheva

Italy colludes in its own demise.
With that bane of civilization, Saudi Arabia.
The two comments to date are ignorant.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/18772


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Did Time magazine bum you out? The internet debunks mag’s claim that you owe $42.998.12 for the national debt - Salon.com

It's in Salon, but still..... The US is NOT insolvent and won't be anytime soon. Correction: won't be anytime, period.
A national economy is not like a household one. The US national debt is treated like cash. If it were paid down it would suck the air out of the international financial markets.
http://www.salon.com/2016/04/14/did_time_magazine_bum_you_out_the_internet_debunks_mags_claim_that_you_owe_42_998_12_for_the_national_debt/


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I Love Islam | Frontpage Mag

The education of young Muslims in the United States:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/262591/i-love-islam-dr-stephen-m-kirby


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Mideast Teachers Reveal How Islam Erases Christianity from History | PJ Media

Saudi TV Broadcaster Calls Out Islamic Apologists For Terror | Clarion Project

What Do Young British Muslims Think About the Caliphate? | Clarion Project

Some lazy thinking here. But dangerous in its ignorance and sheer bigotry.
http://m.clarionproject.org/videos/what-do-young-british-muslims-think-about-caliphate


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"No one should be shy of learning Chinese"

Later: printed in the Financial Times 25 April, 2016, as above headline.

To the Financial Times:

Sir,
I thought Jeremy Paxman's article a refreshingly robust case for English as the global language ("Voila!", April 8). He is spot on.
Another language that repays study is Chinese. I speak as one who learnt Mandarin Chinese, to interpreter level, as an adult. My mother tongue was Italian and I've spoken passable French and German in my time. So I agree with Alan Watson who says that knowledge of a "starter" European language is not a necessity for learning Chinese. (Letters 14 April).
 [Indeed it may well be a hindrance in learning a tonal language with ideographs, which nonetheless has a very simple grammar -- simpler than all European languages].
My point is this: that English is the global language. And Chinese is a hugely helpful language in most of Asia: China itself, of course, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, much of Malaysia, Thailand and Indo…

The Dirty Old Men of Pakistan - The New York Times

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The Dirty Old Men of Pakistan

Memoona, the victim of an acid attack in a family feud, in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2011. Credit Insiya Syed/Reuters
Karachi, Pakistan — IN the world we live in, there is no dearth of pious men who believe that most of the world's problems can be fixed by giving their women a little thrashing. And this business of a man's God-given right to give a woman a little thrashing has brought together all of Pakistan's pious men. A few weeks ago, Pakistan's largest province passed a new law called the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act. The law institutes radical measures that say a husband can't beat his wife, and if he does he will face criminal charges and possibly even eviction from his home. It proposes setting up a hotline women can call to report abuse. In some cases, offenders will be required to wear a bracelet with a GPS monitor and will not be allo…

What’s a European Liberal to Do? - NYTimes.com

The Left (finally), or at least some of the Left, maybe finally gets it about fighting for the fruits of western enlightenment culture, and its superiority to the culture of Islam. That's right: superiority.
Sylvie Kauffmann discusses the issues.

(On this point listen also to Sam Harris' podcast -- "Ask me anything 4").

Shock Poll: 23% of British Muslims Want Sharia Rules in UK | Clarion Project

Article with a great embedded video by the liberal Sunni Muslim Raheel Raza, discussing the concentric circles of Muslim views:

The inner circle of JihadisThe next circle of IslamistsThe outer circle, the largest, of Muslims who are neither murderous Jihadis nor supremacist Islamists, but who nonetheless hold decidedly illiberal views, the like of: apostates from Islam should be killed, thieves should have their hands cut off, adulterous women should be stoned to death, girls should be genially mutilated, and so, drearily, on. 
These last the so-called "moderate" Muslims.

Murder Suspect Admits Killing Shopkeeper Because He ‘disrespected’ Islam | Godless Spellchecker's Blog

Stephen Knight makes pretty much all the points I was going to when I read about this Muslim-on-Muslim murder.
Namely, that despite the murderer making it crystal clear that he did it in to protect Islam, the "nothing to do with Islam " brigade will be out in force looking for any reason but Islam.

Harry's Place » Trevor Phillips – what do Muslims really think?

Following on from post immediately below, some interesting comments both ATL and BTL, in Harry's Place

More than half of Muslims want gay sex to be outlawed, ICM poll reveals | Daily Mail Online

One for the Polls label.
Nothing in here to give comfort to the open-minded UK.

"Profiling ideology the best way to combat terrorism", letters 10 April

Letter to South China Morning Post [288 words]:
Trust a professor of social sciences to befuddle us with a word-salad of jargon only to close with a glimpse of the obvious. 
Professor Sundramoorthy runs through a long list of "sociodemographic profiles" which could create a terrorist, before landing on the "ideology of terrorism". (Profiling ideology the best way to combat terrorism, letters 10 April)
But this is only a glimpse of the obvious, for nowhere does he say what that ideology is. He fails to name the one clear connection between all these terrorists — that they are all votaries of Islam. There are plenty of poor and disaffected youth in the world.  But only those who believe in the sanctity of jihad and the certainly of martyrdom (those virgins in paradise) can be tempted to strap on a suicide vest to kill innocents.
Sundramoorthy is not alone in this failure to name the obvious link in modern terrorism. Plenty of other observers name a myriad causes — grieva…

Apostasy not a right, Muslim lawyer says | Malaysia | Mobile | Malay Mail Online

From allegedly moderate Malaysia, where an allegedly tolerant version of Islam is practiced, we have clarity on Islam's view of apostasy: namely, not on.
What an abuse of the freedom of conscience and freedom of thought enshrined in the international covenant on human rights to which Malaysia is a signatory.
Of course to a Muslim Islam trumps all man made laws and to say otherwise is yet another crime: blasphemy.
Oh the horrors of Islam.

A question of character

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The South China Morning Post carried my letter yesterday on the recent kerfuffle in Hong Kong over simplified vs traditional Chinese characters.  Some in Hong Kong think that having subtitles on some TV programs is an attempt by mainland China to exert its sovereignty.

Stephen Fry on political correctness and clear thinking

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Via the Why Evolution is True blog, Stephen Fry makes sense on the Rubin Report

A Jewel in Syria Where ‘Ruins Have Been Ruined’ by ISIS - NYTimes.com

Jihadist have often said, mocking we western infidels: "we love death more than you love life". That's true, no doubt, but whereas the jihadism is proud of it, we infidels should see it for what it is: a sick vision.
Same for the ISIS official who claims proudly that what they have "created" in Palmyra is "sand and destruction".
That's the contribution of Islam to the world: love of death... "sand and destruction".
/Snip
Our enemies are so stupid," Mohammad Salem, an Islamic State official, said from the outskirts of Palmyra, which lies beside the modern city of Tadmur. "We captured a whole town and houses from them, and they recaptured sand and destruction." Read on...

A Heavenly Hike Through Ancient Japan - WSJ

We did this pilgrim's walk in Japan in September 2014 and loved it.  As Peter Neville-Hadley says in his last sentence: "our reward is a calm and beautiful rural Japan that few foreigners see." /Snip: It's a short, stiff climb on steps of tree roots and boulders to Wariji-toge, or Straw Sandals Pass. Here we are, all highly engineered walking boots, high-tech breathable fabrics and wrist-borne health monitors, catching our breath at a spot where pilgrims with few possessions would once have paused just to replace sandals shredded by the climb. Fresh footwear was always available from farmers en route.During the 11th and 12th centuries, Japan's emperors made more than 100 pilgrimages along this route to the Kumano Sanzen, the three great Shinto shrines on Japan's remote Kii Peninsula. At its late-16th-century peak the trek was so popular that "like ants on the Kumano pilgrimage" became a common description of crowds.Read on...

"It takes a network to defeat a network". Or, why Islamic extremists are not a "tiny minority"

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In the South China Morning Post today, Niall Ferguson, the Harvard History professor, writes that
"... we stand no chance whatsoever of defeating Islamic State (IS) if we fail to understand the significance of its being a true network".   It's a good article, well worth the read and contemplation.
I want to highlight two points in it.
First, the PEW research Ferguson quotes: that IS has:
"... a minimum of 63 million supporters -- and that is based on opinion polls in just 11 countries." I've fact-checked that figure, and it's correct: except that on the latest population numbers of the eleven countries from Geohive, the figure is now 67 million.
That's bad enough.
But consider that those figures include both muslim and non-muslim population in those countries.  The PEW report reveals that the muslims in those countries are 2.3 times more "favourable" to IS than the non-muslim populations.
Thus the average number of muslims saying they hav…

Why it's right to be anti Islam

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I have on my coffee table a copy of the Koran.  I keep it there so I can flip through it at random, to see if there's anything nice and uplifting about it.  This, mind, after I've already read it in its entirety twice and more.
I have found nothing in the Koran (whether on full reading, or flipping through it), and less than nothing in the Hadith (the sayings and actions of Mohammed) that is uplifting and noble.  Nothing that suggests an ideology for humankind to progress.
In short, I have found nothing, nothing at all, in Islam to make me like it, to draw me towards it. Quite the opposite in fact. I have found, in its core doctrines, shocking sectarianism and violence done to the ideas of free speech, freedom of conscience, equal treatment of women and minorities.
And that's what Pat Condell gets at in this video:

The Invasion of Europe

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Pat Condell skewers Mad Mutti Merkel.  And the Eurocrats who are breaking the law, by allowing the ongoing migrant flood.

Why Don’t More Muslims Denounce Barbarism? | Observer

This article has been sitting on my desktop for some time.  Preceding that silly hashtag #Muslimapologies, there was a poem, or rather a "poem", by a Muslim, called, IIRC, "Sorry" which was a passive aggressive listing of inventions allegedly made in the Islamic world. I had a close look at these at the time, and found that the vast majority of them were bogus.  In the meantime.... /Snip When ISIL started beheading men, crucifying Iraqi Christians and sexually enslaving teen girls, a Facebook page and Tumblr sprang up called #Muslimapologies. Now, you might think the people behind this movement were motivated to bring together the good, peace-loving Muslims to renounce the barbarism being done in the name of their common god and holy book.But no. The hashtag is a forum in which to assuage their sense of group victimization. The Huffington Post called "The Top Ten" such tweets, which ooze condescension and superciliousness, that would be, needless to say, p…

An Inordinate Fear of Terrorism? - WSJ

A few posts back I wrote about Obama's ridiculous moral equivalence: when he said that more Americans were killed in bathtubs than by terrorism. Perhaps so (in this year at least), but if left alone there will be ever more terrorist attacks while bathtub accidents are going to stay pretty much the same. Also we don't have to spend billions thwarting bathtub accidents as we do for terrorism.  Yet another case of Obama's puzzling blindness. (Another being his claim to be "proud" of not enforcing the red line against Syria. Proud!?) This WSJ Leader makes the point rather well.  /Snip "In 2014 the total number of deaths from terrorism increased by 80% when compared to the prior year," reports the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in its widely cited Global Terrorism Index. In absolute terms, that comes to 32,685 deaths from terrorism, up from 3,329 at the turn of the century. The economic cost, the IEP adds, is somewhere north of $52 billion, plus ano…

In Scrap-Metal Market, Buyers Have to Tell ‘Darth’ From ‘Vader’ - WSJ

Among the many things I did not know: /Snip Randy Goodman calls a customer in China, the 51-year-old scrap trader sometimes asks: Do you want Elmo, Shelmo or Zorba?The world's $100 billion trade in junked cars, refrigerators and other metallic goods hinges on 100 or so short, catchy terms. Candy: Heavy copper.Lady: Brass shell case.Thigh: Aluminum grindings.Not only does Mr. Goodman, an executive vice president with Atlanta-based trading company Greenland America Inc., know and use all these code words to sell scrap aluminum, copper and zinc around the world. He gets to make them up.