Wednesday 31 August 2016

Burkini bias

You just had on your World Service the French outfit "Collective Against Islamophobia" (CCIF), decrying French attempts to ban the burkini sur les plages de la France.
How about someone speaking in *support* of the ban? Instead of featuring only the anti-ban crowd, including the victimhood mongers of the CCIF.
There is a case -- even a liberal case -- for a burka and burkini ban. Why don't we hear that case from the BBC?
Speak to professor Gad Saad for example.
Also: you ought to drop the term "Islamophobia" and don't speak to outfits with that term in their name. It's a crock.
Promote instead the term "Anti-Muslim bigotry".
The reason is that we ought to able to criticise the *ideas* of Islam, without being called Islamophobes. The problem is bigotry to individual Muslims as people. That's unacceptable, and needs to be called out with the accurate term of "anti-Muslim bigotry".
For example: we should be able to critique the *idea* of religious garb of whichever religion without being called a "whichever-phobe". But if we're rude to someone wearing religious garb, then that's anti-whichever bigotry.
Yours Sincerely,
Peter Forsythe
Hong Kong
+852 9308 0799

Sent from my iPhone

"Islam not responsible for 'honour killings' and female genital mutilation, experts say". SBS 28 August 2016


Islam is indeed responsible for these horrid acts.  Your headline might more accurately have read: "Islam enables religious murders and FGM"

  • "Honour killings".  Islam enables them: Killing offspring for the sake of "honour" is "not subject to retaliation" according to Islamic jurisprudence. (Umdat al-Salik O.1.2. p 583).  91% of "honour killings" are in Muslim countries. [Ref]

  • Female Genital Mutilation: Islam incites and enables it: female circumcision is "obligatory" according to Islamic jurisprudence. (Umdat al-Salik E.4.3. p59).  FGM most prevalent in Islamic countries [Ref]

Professor Sahar Amer, your "cultural expert", misquotes the Qur'an [5.32] when she says:

"In the Qur'an it says very clearly, that if you harm on a single human being, it's the same as if you had killed all of humanity."

In fact, the full text of that verse in the Qur'an says pretty much the opposite.

You have been punked by professor Amer.

Click here for more detailed critique and references.

Peter Forsythe
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong
+852 9308 0799

Sahar Amer punks the SBS on "honour" murders and FGM

Qandeel Baloch was strangled by her brother. For "honour".  He believes
he'll go to heaven, as Islam tells him.
Sad to see Australia, my own country, promote lies about Islam. [Reference at the end].  

What's in it for the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), an Australian government supported broadcaster, to publish these lies?  Lies to excuse Islam? Lies to exonerate Islam from any responsibility for the mayhem done in its name?  [Answer at the end].

SBS rolled out a "cultural expert", professor Sahar Amer, to tell us the following:
"... action is needed to dispel 'misinformation' that Islamic teachings incite acts such as ‘honour killings’ and female genital mutilation."
Clever sub-head, because Islam does not, quite, "incite" these acts. But it certainly enables them. (correction: Islam enables both, and positively "incites" FGM)

Both "honour killings" and FGM were indeed cultural practices in Arabia and South Asia when Muhammad came along and foisted Islam on the region. And what his Islam did was to accept and enable these practices. 
Note that the picture (above) which heads the SBS article is of Qandeel Baloch who was murdered by her brother.  He said he did it for "honour", that he was "proud" of what he'd done because he would "end up in heaven". Which religion told him that? Why, Islam, of course. 

Honour killings: If you kill your daughter because she married the wrong man or because she's a bit too westernised there is no penalty in Islam. That is in the authoritative manual of Islamic jurisprudence, the Umdat al-Salik, authorised by Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the oldest and most respected University in the Islamic world:
"The following are not subject to retaliation: ....[my emphasis]
    ... 4) a father or mother for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring". (Umdat al-Salik O.1.2. p 583)
Female Genital Mutilation: this is positively supported in Islam.  
"Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women." (Umdat al-Salik E.4.3. p59)
Professor Amer quotes (just a part of), the Koran 5.32, in support of her assertion that "honour" murders are not Islamic:
"In the Qur'an it says very clearly, that if you harm on a single human being, it's the same as if you had killed all of humanity.
"The terrorists are clearly not listening to the Qur'an's message, which is to be very peaceful. Islam believes that you should never be forced to do anything they cannot understand rationally."
This is a plain lie.  The full context is the exact opposite of what Amer says above.

There's plenty around the internet on this verse, and I've known about its duplicitous misuse for a long time.  Here's an example, from the solid and knowledgeable David Wood :
... [Sura] 5:32 is the most ripped-out-of-context verse of the Qur'an in the West. Muslims (and even news organizations) often refer to this verse in order to show that Islam teaches murder is wrong and saving lives is the prescribed action for all people.
But this is absolutely not what this verse says. In fact, it says almost the exact opposite: that Muslims can kill those who are their enemies! ....
Here is 5:32 in its context, with all words included (emphasis DW):
5.32: On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. 
Salient points:
1 - It explicitly states that this was a commandment to the Children of Israel, i.e. the Jews! This is not a commandment to all people, and it certainly should not be misused as if this is Allah's command to Muhammad's people.
2 - Even if this were a command to the Muslims, there's still an escape clause: "unless it be for murder or spreading mischief in the land." If someone is "spreading mischief", he can still be killed....
... As if this weren't obvious enough from the verse itself, the Qur'an further expounds this point in the very next verse. 5:33 says
5.33: The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter. 
This verse is referring to the Muslims, not the Jews anymore, as we can tell in the shift from past tense to present tense. And here, the punishment for mischief is clearly prescribed: execution, crucifixion, mutilation, or at the least, exile. This is the command given to the Muslims. Quite clearly, it does not teach what the Muslims proclaim it teaches; in fact, it teaches almost the exact opposite.
So, what's in it for the SBS to be an apologist for Islam?  What's in it for the Australian government-supported broadcaster to downplay nasty practices enabled by Islam?  Most charitably, they have been taken in by Saher Amer.  They simply don't know.  Moreover, being the nicely multi-culti outfit that they are, they are no doubt more than happy to run anything that sheds a good light on Islam.  They really, really want to believe that Islam really, really is the "Religion of Peace".
As for Sahar Amer?  Well,  she's a scholar at Sydney Uni, with interests including Islam . If I know the background to the [in]famous Sura 5.32, if I've known about it for many years and if I know what its true context is, and if I know how it has been misused and misquoted, then so must Amer.  It's simply inconceivable that she does not. Conclusion: she is simply duplicitous. She's simply trying to make Islam look good (as all good Muslims must).

And, lo! she punks the SMS. Well done Sahar!

The SBS article: "Islam is not responsible for honour killings and female genital mutilation..."  SBS, 28 Aug 2016

US is taking a step backwards by developing ‘smarter’ nuclear bomb | South China Morning Post

The counter argument to this Leader in today's South China Morning Post, is below the fold. I find the WSJ's article by Matthew Costlow more convincing than the SCMP editorial. 
I guess we're all nuclear policy experts now!
In any case, it appears that the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon program in question here is going to go ahead, whatever our local paper thinks. Unless Obama unilaterally cans it as a valedictory decision, which is what the WSJ piece argues forcefully against. 
The SCMP editorial says the B61-12 bomb (which I assume is the LRSO weapon the WSJ refers to) is going to cost US$ 1 trillion over 30 years. Sounds a lot, but it's barely 0.17% of annual GDP. 

Monday 29 August 2016

Tropes about Islam

This is really "Taking the Myth, 101".
Long. Solid. Good reference.

Sent from my iPhone

Countering the Pontiff of Terror

I've written before about the infamous, the egregious Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Islamist cleric who has over 40 million followers in the Muslim world.  He calls for the suicide murder of Jews, the killing of homosexuals, of apostates, of blasphemers, the beating of women.  In short, he's a nasty individual, at least judged by our liberal western mores. He is sectarian, misogynist, homophobic: the whole panoply of nastiness we find in the nooks and crannie of Islam.
In the article below, Mr Rada, the Egyptian ambassador to the US calls for Qaradawi and his ilk to be shut up, to be marginalised, to be challenged.
The ambassador is right.
His final para calls on the "international community" to "destroy the intellectual fuel that justifies the evil of terrorism."
He's right about that too.
Pity that Rada gets to this conclusion via a ritual denial of any problem within Islam.  People like Qaradawi, says the ambassador, have "held Islam hostage and desecrated its vision...". They have "perverted the message of Islam and distorted its values".
Nowhere does the ambassador explain how the representations by Qaradawi are "desecration" or "perversion" of Islam.
Still, just as one must hold one's nose and vote for Hillary, one must hold one's nose, and agree with the ambassador: ignore the apologia and take home the main message:
Stop the poison of Islamists like Qaradawi.
Countering the Pontiff of Terror

Who should rule Syria? Nobody

The best article I've seen on the mess in Syria. Understand this article and you have some grasp about what is, and what could be, in Syria. 
For a change the West has hooked up with the right guys, according to Spyer -- the Kurds. And we should keep supporting them.
I'm right on board with that, as the Kurds seem to be the only sane minimally group around, with clear and reasonable aims to have their own homeland. Of course our alleged ally, Turkey, is busy bombing them, as they fear Kurdish separatism. (The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own homeland). While Iran supports Assad, because he's kind of non Sunni, an Alawite, kind of like almost a Shia. And everyone hates ISIS. 
This clip sets out the four main players. Who should be reduced to three by the dismemberment of ISIS, says Spyer -- an aim that seems to be the only thing that the other three agree on.
These four players are:
Assad government
First of all, it is important to understand that 'Syria' as a unitary state no longer exists. A rebel commander whom I interviewed in the border town of Kilis in June told me: 'Syria today is divided into four projects, none of which is strong enough to defeat all the others. These are the Assad regime, the rebellion, the Kurds and the Islamic State.' This is accurate.So the beginning of a coherent Syria policy requires understanding that the country has fragmented into enclaves, and is not going to be reunited in the near future, if at all.
Who should rule Syria? Nobody, Jonathan Spyer, The Spectator, 20 August 2016

Sunday 28 August 2016

The radicalisation of Islam in Malaysia - Nation | The Star Online

Dr Ahmed, a Malaysian scholar of Islam, warns of radicalisation of Malaysian Muslims. Due largely, as we've often said, to horrid Saudi Arabia and their funding of schools worldwide teaching Wahhabi Islam.
Is Dr Ahmed an "Islamophobe", one wonders? We infidels are always called out for Islamophobia when we point out the same, obvious, thing.

The radicalisation of Islam in Malaysia - Nation | The Star Online

Burqini support: Protesting in favour of religious repression

Tehran 1970s and now. See others here.
It's nonsense to say that wearing a burqini is a matter of "freedom of choice".  (Tug of War Over Faith Played Out On Beaches, August 28).  It reflects instead the wishes of elderly Islamic theocrats.
When Khomeini overthrew the Shah in 1979 he demanded that Iranian women wear the hijab. Thousands of them took to the streets in protest. They were quickly crushed and Khomeini called them "Islamophobic".
The results have been dire for Muslim women worldwide.  In the Middle East of the seventies I rarely saw a veil-covered woman. In the 2010s I rarely saw an unveiled one. And the burqini is just another way of veiling.
Can we seriously believe that's because of "freedom of choice"? Of course not.  It reflects the growth of more assertive Islam. 
Burqini supporters trash the aspirations of Iranian women who fought their theocratic patriarchy, but were crushed by it.  Burqini supporters trash the aspirations of today's secular Muslim women who object to religious coverings, but are mocked for it. 
Knowingly or not, Burqini wearers and their sartorial fellow travellers support a theocratic gender-based cover-up. And calling we critics "Islamophobic" echoes the theocratic patriarchs. It is, in effect, protesting in favour of religious sartorial repression.
Where is the feminism, the liberalism, the toleration in that stance?

RELATED: Professor Gad Saad, interviewed by Dave Rubin, at minute 38, re the fetishising of the hijab.


Saturday 27 August 2016

Australia’s Ambivalence Makes It Vulnerable - Richard Fontaine

Half way through reading this insightful essay by Richard Fontaine, I put the paper down (yes, paper) and wondered: what should Australia do? What if I were still in the Aussie government, as I once was.: What advice should I give on this issue?
The issue? 
How to balance Australia's already dominant, growing and complex economic relationship with China against our longstanding alliance with the United States in all its manifestations, strategic, military, economic, amidst growing tensions between the two? How to stay unscathed or even prosper?
I thought that we need to be on the right side of history here. Support the recent Law of the Sea findings about the South China Sea -- support American "freedom of movement" sailings. Be wary of and push back against burgeoning Chinese hegemony. Remembering that America has One Big Idea (Freedom), and China has None (other than "Stay in Power") -- it has a mercantilist leadership with a win-lose mindset. 
Australia needs to know what's the worst that China could do if it were displeased. Remembering that they're not at all loathe to push their increasing weight around. To do this we need our diplomats to be very well plugged in to Beijing power brokers. And we need all sorts of informal, quiet, discreet channels at all levels, with all sorts, to work at finding out what's on Beijing's mind -- to the extent that one can know the "mind" of a foreign government. 
We need to make up our minds where we arms in other words, to be less ambivalent. 
Well, Richard Fontaine comes to pretty much the same conclusion in this provocative and interesting essay. He does so rather more felicitously than I just have, tapping away at my iPhone. 
Related is the recent Australian decision not to allow China to own a part of our power grid, the company Ausgrid. This has been criticized -- you guessed it -- as "racist". It is nothing of the sort. It is the correct decision*. China has just too long a record of bullying if it doesn't get its way, or if someone does something it doesn't like -- meeting the Dalai Lama, for example -- that simple act can enrage them. Imagine if they had our Aussie electric power in their pocket. They'd have us by the short and curlies. 
The full  article is below the fold, with thanks to the Journal, and also here.

* [By the way, if anyone reads this and doesn't know me, and thinks that I'm being bigoted or racist anyway, I plead this: that I've lived, studied and worked in China since 1976, live in Hong Kong, read, write and speak Chinese and am married to a Chinese. I'm not sure that immunizes me, but still I'd rather see the argument tackled than ad hominem unleashed].

Friday 26 August 2016

New report shows why we must reject the silencing propaganda term 'Islamophobia' - Michael Nugent

Long thoughtful article.
Bottom line: the term "Islamophobia" is a crock. Deny its validity if you're ever so accused. Or, like "gay", appropriate and delight in it.
From The Friendly Atheist blog, re Christopher Hitchens' reference to Islamophobia", words by Sam Harris:
A few weeks ago, Ayaan and I had a long conversation about her critics and about the increasingly pernicious meme of “Islamophobia” — which our inimitable friend Christopher Hitchens once dubbed “a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.” [NOTE 5/11/14: This wonderful sentence seems to have been wrongly attributed to Hitch (who was imitable after all). I’m told these words first appeared in a tweet from Andrew Cummins. Well done, Andrew!]

New report shows why we must reject the silencing propaganda term 'Islamophobia' - Michael Nugent

Long thoughtful article, by Michael Nugent, rubbishing (because it needs to be rubbished), the Demos "findings" of "Islamophobic" comments on Twitter. He eviscerates them.
Bottom line: the term "Islamophobia" is a crock. Deny its validity if you're ever so accused. Or, like "gay", appropriate and delight in it.
Related, from The Friendly Atheist blog, re Christopher Hitchens' reference to "Islamophobia", quoting Sam Harris:
A few weeks ago, Ayaan [Hirsi Ali] and I [Sam] had a long conversation about her critics and about the increasingly pernicious meme of “Islamophobia” — which our inimitable friend Christopher Hitchens once dubbed “a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.” [NOTE 5/11/14: This wonderful sentence seems to have been wrongly attributed to Hitch (who was imitable after all). I’m told these words first appeared in a tweet from Andrew Cummins. Well done, Andrew!]

The New Dictators’ Club - WSJ

My son has been saying that there are echoes of pre-WW2 in today's world.
The clear and clever Bret Stephens sets it out.
The difference now is that China is in the nasties' club, whereas last time around it was an Ally.
When to sell Hong Kong?

Huma Abedin worked at Muslim journal that opposed women’s rights | New York Post

Amazing! This could really hurt Hillary.
Clinton's chief advisor, Huma Abedin, co-edited a Saudi publication founded by her mother, which praises Saudi's treatment of women, calls for Sharia laws to apply to them, and disses the empowerment of women in the west.
Islamic twisting of the truth: women and men are more equal under Islamic law. Because women stay at home to breed and feed while men go out to work. That's Huma's mum speaking.
Clinton's campaign is not responding to the article. Which means they're really worried about it.
Shame on Clinton for what she said in Jeddah in 2010: effectively supporting the way Saudi Arabia treats its women. And shame on her for what she didn't say: that Saudi implementation of Sharia oppresses women in all sorts of horrid ways, that even hyper sensitive US neo-feminists with all their worries about microagressions, the poor snowflakes, would in no way accept in America. (Though scandalously, they say nothing about it when it happens in Islamic theocracies).

By the way:
I watch BBC, CNN and FOX. This has only been reported on Fox. So, Lefties who scorn Fox won't know about this. Yet it's important. It's a clear indication of how Clinton will soft-peddle on horrid places like Saudi Arabia, soft-peddle on Islamism, soft-peddle on the spread of sharia worldwide.

What Do Jihadists Really Want?: Sam Harris

This is the podcast I referred to in the post immediately below this one.
It's 48 minutes well spent.
The great Sam Harris reads aloud, and comments on, the lead article in this month's glossy online magazine, "Dabiq", one of the main recruiting tools of Islamic State (aka ISIS). The article is called "Why We Hate You"-- the "you" here being "we", you infidel!
It's pretty clear why they hate us and it's pretty clear that the main reason is theological: we are unbelievers, the dirty kuffar, ignominious infidels.
The article demolishes the nonsense leftish meme that "ISIS has nothing to do with Islam". (But only for those who can open their ears and air out their minds, a near impossibility it seems for most on the hard left).

Thursday 25 August 2016

AP Claims ISIS Recruits Have a Poor Grasp of Islam | PJ Media

And so, they claim, ISIS has "nothing to do with Islam.

That's about as true as saying that the followers of Mao Tse-tung were not Maoists.

Actually, at the beginning they weren't. They knew nothing of Mao's writings and his regurgitated Marxism and Hegelian dialectics. It was Mao and his educated cronies who conceived and refined their ideology. It was only later, in the early sixties,that Mao made all Chinese learn by heart his "Little Red Book", the comic book version of Maoist-style communism.

But it ought to be obvious that to have said Mao and his troops weren't communists because the troops couldn't quote Marx, is complete nonsense.

Similarly it's nonsense to say that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam even if many of the foot soldiers can't quote the Koran. We get the ideology of their movement from what their leadership says.

And for ISIS that's best set out in their glossy magazine "Dabiq". And that is very much mainstream Islam. Very learnedly so.

See, for example, Sam Harris' reading of a lead article from "Dabiq" in his recent podcast.

Shame in all these apologists for ISIS. Either they're monstrously ignorant or dreadfully duplicitous. Knaves or Fools. 

Sam on ISIS in their disturbingly professional glossy magazine Dabiq: What to Jihadists really want? 

The Trumpian Wall

Trump has been on Fox this morning, with Sean Hannity, walking back his policy on illegal immigrants. He doesn't want to kick them all out anymore it seems. To the clear buttock-tightening discomfort of the likes of Hannity and co.
In the process, Trump talked about his Wall, which he's "really, really going to build", between Mexico and the US.
He mentioned how quickly the Chinese had built the Great Wall. So, building his Wall would be much quicker.
What he doesn't know, or doesn't say, is that the Chinese Great Wall was a signal failure. It didn't stop one Mongol from invading and conquering Ming China.
Trump stunned Hannity, by the way, in his immigration policy reversal (he's now not going to kick them all out). He stunned all observers by taking a poll of the audience. Which was mostly in favour of kicking them all out with a "Deportation task force". Trump played this as if the crowd had been in favour of his latest flip flop.
Trump is equally ignorant on the issue of drugs, which is one of the reasons for his Wall. I'm a libertarian on that. Decriminalize and provide medical support for those that have problems, like we do with alcohol.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

What Trump’s Foreign Policy Gets Right - WSJ

This is interesting from John Bolton. 
Hillary better get a skedaddle on to work out a foreign policy which differentiates from the soppy-floppy Obamism. 
Something perhaps like the proposed Clinton Foreign policy speech suggested by Sam Harris in a recent post. []
Not holding breath on that though. She seems blind (willfully?) to certain realities especially the Islamic one.
Full text below the fold...

Is That Libidinous Latina Taco Gay or Bi? - WSJ

In the miscellany and WTF? category, the sad story of the loss of humour in the young leftie mind.
Worth linking over to the queer website Autostraddle to see the 2,600 word apology they made just for publishing a (lukewarm) positive review of the offending "Sausage Party".

Islam, 'Mindslaughter,' and the Catastrophic 'Lewis Doctrine' | PJ Media

This is very interesting. I know Bernard Lewis, of course, but not the "Lewis doctrine". That is, as alleged here, Lewis being responsible for convincing the W administration about bringing democracy to the Middle East by invasion and nation building.
A disaster, as we now know.
If true, I wonder how Lewis feels now.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Harry's Place » The case of Ibtihaj Muhammad

A longish article about the insanity that temporarily gripped America when they considered putting an ordinary athlete as flag bearer at the olympics opening, simply because she wore a hijab. 
And now she's being feted.  Is America mad?
.... most sadly of all, this is just another example of the moral illusion the Western Left repeatedly keeps falling for.Rather than celebrate well integrated Muslims who've adopted modern liberal values, they choose to celebrate the religiously conservative, and then think they are being progressive in doing so.Meanwhile other women of Muslim background such as the 400 metre hurdler Dalilah Muhammad, who chooses to wear standard attire for her event, won't get a mention. Inadvertently this just reinforces the Muslim Brotherhood idea of the 'authentic' Muslim voice only being the one wearing a Hijab, whose politics aligns with narratives of victimisation and despair in the West (Muhammad complains of feeling 'unsafe all the time' in the US and remarked that if elected Mitt Romney would 'ship us all of to Afghanistan) and a hatred of Israel expressed in the most hyperbolic terms (Muhammad accuses them of 'ethnic cleansing' etc).Why can't those who want to support Muslim women champion instead genuinely liberal progressive voices such as Habiba Ghribi, [SA1] the 2012 Olympic Steeplechase champion from Tunisia, who after winning her medal dedicated it to the women's right movement in her home country who were at the time fighting to change women's constitutional status from 'complementary' to that of 'equal', and has since become a hero to women's rights activists there.

Sunday 21 August 2016

Going undercover against extremism - BBC News

I thought I had lost this article, but refound it, courtesy of Sam Harris quoting it on his Twitter.
It's pretty scary. The extent to which young Muslims in the UK hate the UK.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday 18 August 2016

A split euro is the solution for Europe’s single currency —

I lived in Europe on and off for about ten years from the fifties to the seventies, in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the U.K.
I've visited numerous times since.
I was in Italy just before and just after the introduction of the Euro. It seemed to me a crazy idea at the time. Every Italian I spoke to when the Lira was swapped for the Euro, said that equivalent prices had jumped sharply. I found this true just by buying groceries; tomatoes and lemons in Amalfi: much pricier than they'd been in Lire.
The Euro has always felt wrong to me.
And Greece has shown how being tied to the euro has hobbled their chances of devaluing or interest-tweaking their way out of trouble.
Here is Joseph Stiglitz a Nobel Laureate, who has been a consistent critic of the Euro. It looks like he's right. (It's behind a firewall, but googling "Stiglitz Euro" gets many similar articles)
But then we have arrogant bureaucrats like Jean-Claude Juncker who would rather think about how to punish those who want to leave the EU, than consider what might be wrong with the Euro and the EU project.
Bottom line: I think (no, I don't think, I know) I want to be out of any euro-denominated assets.

The Meaning of an Olympic Snub - WSJ (or: why are people anti-Semitic?)

Great article by the reliable and insightful Bret Stephens. 
As a philo-Semite myself I don't understand why people are anti-Semitic. Unless it's just jealousy. 
Look at the examples that Stephens gives of places that have harmed themselves by hounding Jews out of their countries, from Spain in the 15th century to Arabia in the 21st (via, of course, the Nazis in the 20th, who might well have won the war if they hadn't driven out its Jewish scientists). 
An Israeli heavyweight judoka named Or Sasson defeated an Egyptian opponent named Islam El Shehaby Friday in a first-round match at the Rio Olympics. The Egyptian refused to shake his opponent's extended hand, earning boos from the crowd. Mr. Sasson went on to win a bronze medal.If you want the short answer for why the Arab world is sliding into the abyss, look no further than this little incident. It did itself in chiefly through its long-abiding and all-consuming hatred of Israel, and of Jews.That's not a point you will find in a long article about the Arab crackup by Scott Anderson in last weekend's New York Times Magazine , where hatred of Israel is treated like sand in Arabia—a given of the landscape. Nor is it much mentioned in the wide literature about the legacy of colonialism in the Middle East, or the oil curse, governance gap, democracy deficit, youth bulge, sectarian divide, legitimacy crisis and every other explanation for Arab decline.
Full article below the fold

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Moazzam Begg is....

... an Islamist nasty. With very many dubious Islamist mates and a love of the Taliban.
Why are you feting him on BBC? As he berated Guantanamo?
Hating the prison does not mean you can have a deeply compromised ex-prisoner as witness.
Peter Forsythe
Hong Kong.
[Letter to BBC "World have your say"]

Can electric vehicles ever really meet Hong Kong’s transport needs?

Thoughtful, data-rich article on the place of electric vehicles in Hong Kong.
Because Hong Kong's electricity is about 70% derived from coal (the rest is carbon-free nuclear), electric vehicles are only a bit better than petrol cars and about the same as diesel cars in terms of CO2 emissions when calculated on "well to wheel" basis of electricity production.
That's because if you use coal-based electricity production to charge car batteries, you've changed only the source of the CO2 production not its amount.
With Australia having a much higher coal-based electricity production than even Hong Kong, electric cars there would do nothing to help cut down overall Australian CO2 emissions.
More nuclear!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday 15 August 2016

Why Trump doesn't want to reveal his tax returns

Is a Little Radiation So Bad? - WSJ

The "Linear Non Threshold" model of radiation (any amount is bad, no matter how small), may well be wrong. With dramatic implications to handling nuclear stations and waste, if proven wrong.
Greenpeace has been at the forefront of pushing LNT.
They are responsible for the increase of CO2 and resulting climate change.

Sent from my iPhone

Your Tax Dollars Fund Palestinian Terror - WSJ

This is charity Islam-style. Aka "Zakat". It's for Muslims only and in Palestine it's to pay the families of suicide murderers. Sick. 
As long as Palestinian political culture remains unchanged—as long as Palestine's liberal friends excuse its every illiberal offense—expect the glorification of terrorism to continue. This is a political scandal far greater than any single charity funneling funds to Hamas.
Mr. Feith is a Journal editorial writer based in Hong Kong.

Sent from my iPhone

"Figures show strong backing for extremists". | Letter

My letter published today:
Figures show strong backing for extremists
I refer to the letter by Siddiq ­Bazarwala ("Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists", August 7), replying to my letter ­("Millions of Muslims back ­Islamic State", July 27).
Your correspondent claims I misrepresent research on Muslim opinion with "vitriolic and anti-Muslim" rhetoric and promote "false narratives". In short, I'm an Islamophobe. Not so.
It is important to have a good grasp of how many support extremist ­Islam. Is it less than 0.1 per cent as Mr Bazarwala claims, or closer to the figure I quoted, "a minimum of 63 million"? The short answer is that I am right.
We both accept the Pew Research figures of the percentages which view Islamic State (IS) favourably.
The 63 million figure came from Harvard ­history professor Niall Ferguson. I fact-checked his figures (per cent times population) and confirmed them.
Mr Bazarwala simply ­quoted a Pew sub-headline to its study, "Muslim views of ISIS overwhelmingly negative" across the Muslim world.
At least 63 million Muslims in 11 Muslim countries support IS. Worldwide, well over 100 ­million do so.
It is certainly not "less than 0.1 per cent" of the Muslim population as ­Mr Bazarwala claims, but more like 10 per cent. This fact should be of grave concern to us all.
Why should Islam alone be immune from examination and why call critics "Islamophobes"? I can criticise the pope without being called a "Cathophobe". Or make fun of ­Mormons (Book of ­Mormon) without being a "Mormophobe".
But I can't point to wide support for IS without being a "vitriolic, anti-Muslim" Islamophobe?
Moderate Muslims must ­address Islam's nastier doctrines and practices.
Non-violent Muslims who don't do so, when their violent co-religionists wreak havoc, are not "innocent" bystanders. They are culpable bystanders.
PF, etc…

Friday 12 August 2016

My Islam is not terrorists’ Islam |

This is classic Islamic apologia, from a female Muslim doctor somewhere or other.
It's rubbish.
My comment I posted is below (because she rhetorically asked the terrorists, in her final para, "which Koran are you reading?" Well, there's only one and its message is crystal clear: kill infidels. Especially those horrid Jews).
I'm inclined to ask "how *dare* she?? How dare she try such duplicity? How can she live with herself? Or does she really believe what she says? In which case never take her as your doctor, cause she's stupid.

"Which Koran are YOU reading?? My copy I have read several times and keep by my coffee table for regular reference.
It's FULL of sectarian, violent verses and especially hates Jews. Your article is apologia squared. Don't try to fool those of us who have read the horrid Koran and the equally horrid Hadiths.",82523

Sent from my iPhone

Qur'anic Literalism: An Alternative To Radical Islam - Forbes

Imagine for a moment that we lived in a world where a group dedicated to fulfilling each and every syllable of the Old Testament has begun to wreak havoc in Europe. We wake up one morning to discover the rise of OTSAH, the Old Testament State of Austria and Hungary. This group has a particular fondness for the stoning to death of human beings. It believes that stoning is the only answer to a variety of crimes; from worshipping other gods, to working on the Sabbath. Initially, we find such claims shocking, but don't quite take them seriously. Until they start to release the videos.
Once confronted with the sight of boys and girls being stoned to death, explicit images coupled with an eerily pious soundtrack, the threat suddenly feels very real. In one propaganda video, we see the apparent leader of the group of murderers confidently stride towards the camera, and start reciting from the Bible."But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house. So you shall put away the evil from among you." -Deuteronomy 22:21
The world condemns OTSAH. And yet, dozens of neighboring European states are run with legal codes explicitly derived from this very type of Biblical Literalism. We see that secular bloggers in Romania are being routinely sentenced to hundreds of lashes in public for the crime of blasphemy against Yahweh. We note with horror that the government of Croatia determines that a woman raped in Zagreb must be executed, because she didn't cry out loud enough in order to prevent her attack. Had she been raped in the countryside, she would have been forgiven.
This is what Biblical Literalism might look like. The fictional OTSAH is every bit as terrifying as ISIS or Boko Haram. If a group of this kind began to ascend, we would be justified in dropping virtually everything else in pursuit of ensuring that this brand of thinking went no further than Central Europe. It's absolutely true that a passing knowledge of the crusades tells us that such a group could theoretically exist. But, at least in our reality, it doesn't (The L.R.A. of Uganda being the closest example in living memory). 
A vast array of beliefs about fellow human beings
If there were several Christian states operating legal codes deriving directly from scripture, that prescribed the death penalty for same-sex sexual acts, these states would necessitate the relentless condemnation of the international community. But, in our reality, there aren't. Inexplicably, the importance of this distinction seems to evade those who respond to tragedies such as Orlando with moral equivalences relating to other faiths or cultures.

Is Islam a Religion? | PJ Media

Islam is an unrepentant politico-expansionist movement clothed in the trappings of religion and bent on universal conquest by whatever means it can mobilize: deception (taqiyya), social and cultural infiltration, or bloody violence, as its millennial history and authoritative scriptures have proven.
(See Koran 13:41, which is meant literally despite the attempt of apologists to launder its purport: "Do they not see that We are advancing in the land, diminishing it by its borders on all sides?").

Thursday 11 August 2016

Muslim women need to make concessions to get a job. I did.

A young Muslim lady complains about lack of jobs in Britain for Muslim women.
Because of their names or their dress, or not being able to speak English.
So, of course, according to her, and the BBC, it's all Britain's fault.
I went to China in mid seventies to study and then work.
I immediately wore Chinese clothes, learnt Chinese and took a Chinese name.
Why can't these Muslim women do the same?
Why should these young Muslim women get to play the victim card, blame Britain, rather than make some simple concessions to Britain which would help them get a job?
Enough of this "blame Britain" nonsense.
Demand some commitment to the host country by the immigrants.

From Bikinis to Burkinis | What France has given up because of Islam in their country

This is absolutely shocking. I had no idea France had cancelled so many public events as a direct result of Islamic threats. 
This is the price of bringing in so many immigrants who don't share the values of the enlightenment west. The price of giving in to the lefty multi-cultis who made all this happen. 
"Meanwhile, armed soldiers are patrolling French beaches and many of the cultural and sporting events that are a feature of the French summer holidays have been cancelled for fear of Islamic terror attacks.The Beach Music Festival at Berck on the Normandy coast was called off two days before it was due to begin on August 4.The traditional summer fireworks displays in Marseilles, Cannes, Chambéry, Avignon and La Baule will not take place. In Nice, site of the Bastille Day truck massacre, a concert by Rihanna, the annual Nice Jazz Festival and the European road cycling championships have been cancelled.In Paris, half a dozen summer events have been abandoned including the traditional pedestrianization of the Champs-Elysées.The most prominent cultural event to be called off is the Braderie de Lille. This gigantic flea-market dating back to the 12th century takes place during the first weekend of September and attracts between two and three million visitors each year to its four square miles of stalls. On August 5, the Mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, announced that she was cancelling the event for security reasons.For local businesses, these cancellations are an economic catastrophe that will cost them tens of millions of dollars."

Wednesday 10 August 2016

"Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists", August 7 (ATTENTION: John Lee)

Hi John,
You may be tired of the debate on this issue.  But in the latest letter from Bazarwala (Aug 7), he has completely libelled me, with plainly incorrect statements.  He has allegedly "refuted" my claim by referring to a Pew headline (not by fact-checking himself), and the headline does not invalidate my figure of the number of muslims who support violent jihadis.
Media Matters, that Bazarwala quotes, does the same as he does: they simply quote Pew's headline and think that that's the clinching argument.  Have a look at the video, it's only one minute. It's a scandal that they think this proves their case. It does not. And them thinking so is either ignorant or duplicitous.
The figures clearly support me. There are large numbers of Muslims who support the cause of ISIS.  That's the fact.  The other letters to SCMP on this issue make the same point. I've linked all below, for reference.
I hope you can print my letter, even if it's the fifth on the issue. There's actually a lot of interest in it, if my emails are any indication. And it's an important issue.
Why should Bazarwala get the last word, when his last word is clearly false?
Peter Forsythe

LETTER: 295 words

Mr Bazarwala claims I misrepresent research on Muslim opinion with "vitriolic and anti-Muslim" rhetoric. I promote "false narratives and witchhunts". In short, I'm an "Islamophobe". (Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists, August 7).
Not so.
It ought to be clear why it matters to have a good grasp of how many support extremist Islam. Is it less than 0.1% as Mr Bazarwala claims? Or is it closer to the figure I quoted, "a minimum of 63 million"?
Short answer: I am right and Mr Bazarwala is wrong. 
We both accept the Pew Research figures of the percentages who view ISIS favourably. The 63 million figure was derived by Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson. I fact-checked his figures myself (percent times population) and confirmed them (  
Mr Bazarwala's "fact-checking" consists of quoting a Pew sub-headline to their study: Muslim views of ISIS are "overwhelmingly negative" across the Muslim world.  Maybe so.  But the headline would have been equally correct as:  "Tens of millions view ISIS favourably".
This is a fact. At least 63 million Muslims in eleven Muslim countries support ISIS.  Worldwide, well over one hundred million do so. 
It is certainly not "less than 0.1%" of the Muslim population as Bazarwala claims, but more like 10%.
This fact should be of grave concern to us all. 
Why should Islam alone be immune from examination?  Why are critics slandered as "Islamophobes"?  I can criticise the Pope without being called a "Cathophobe". Or make fun of Mormons ("The Book of Mormon"), without being a "Mormophobe".
But I can't point to wide support for ISIS without being a "vitriolic, anti-Muslim Islamophobe"?
Moderate Muslims must address Islam's nastier doctrines and practices. 
Non-violent Muslims who don't do so, when their violent coreligionists wreak havoc, are not "innocent" bystanders. They are culpable bystanders. 

Peter Forsythe.
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong
9308 0799

SCMP letters:
Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists. Siddiq Bazarwala. August 6, 2016
Peace-loving Muslims must take a stand. Marian Schneps. July 31, 2016
Many Muslims back Islamic State. Peter Forsythe. July 28, 2016
Extremists more than a tiny minority.  Christoper Ruane. July 24, 2016
Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful. Siddiq Bazarwala. July 16, 2016
Pew Research:

Hannity misreads a Pew study to claim that "significant" number of Muslims support ISIS. Media Matters. November 23, 2015.  
The video does not show that Hannity "misread" the Pew study.  His figure of 63 million is spot on.  MM simply quote the Pew headline, and think that that wins the argument!  They're either ignorant or duplicitous.  Fools or knaves.  The figure derived from Pew is exactly what Hannity said.  As were his extrapolated figures.  For details see my post.

"Rio Olympics 2016: Fencer becomes first US competitor to wear hijab"

This article notes that if the American IOC had nominated Ibtihaj Muhammad to carry the flag in the opening ceremony it "might have been considered a political act".  Gee, dy'a think??!  A female fencer, not even the best in America, with no hope of a medal at the Olympics, chosen ahead of the man with the most medals of any olympian ever, anywhere.  And she's chosen because she's Muslim and wears a hijab?  Political? Nah....
Anyway, they chose Phelps over the symbol of oppression.  Good.
Now, in this article, Ibtihaj Muhammad says the following, in the last para. 
“This is who I am — being American, being African-American, and being a Muslim, being a woman. These are all things that I can’t change, and I wouldn’t change for anything.”
Actually, all of those things are "things she can change".  She can leave Islam. She can change her nationality.  If she did so, she'd no longer be an "African-American", and she can also become a man, in these Trans days.  
So, in her only statement on the issues of what she stands for is nonsense.  She ends up standing for one thing: the wearing of the hijab, a symbol of oppression of women, I've just seen that her father confirms this oppression of women.  Here he is in the Daily Beast saying that she ought to quit sport and become a good little lady at home, not challenging men.
"Women should never argue with men: Ibtihaj's father".

Hinkley Point is a test of mutual trust between UK and China —

This is a good article by the Chinese ambassador to Britain.
It seems crazy to me that, post Brexit, May should hold this up.
As Ambassador Liu notes, "Hinckley Point is not the result of some whimsical idea or rushed decision".
Britain needs to get a move along with reliable, clean nuclear energy.

Monday 8 August 2016

On Islam and violence, Pope + Patriarch = Full Story - Crux

In a major address on Wednesday, Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan of the Syriac Catholic Church said that while the Qur'an does contain verses that speak of peace, it also has others that clearly endorse violence, and that when young men are required to memorize those passages in Islamic schools, "it won't be easy to prevent them from becoming terrorists or killers."

"Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists"

Letter attacking me, in yesterday's South China Morning Post (August 7).
I note that since Bazarwala's first letter, there have been three letters challenging his view about the alleged "tiny minority" of Muslims who are terrorists, but Bazarwala chose to attack only me, since, I guess, I was the only one to put actual figures to the number of Muslims who support the likes of ISIS.  My figures are correct, btw.

Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists
I refer to the vitriolic and anti-Muslim letter by Peter Forsythe ­(“Millions of Muslims back ­Islamic State”, July 27) in reply to my letter (“Vast majority of ­Muslims are peaceful”, July 17).
Your correspondent accuses me of intellectual dishonesty and yet grossly misrepresented a Pew Research poll misleadingly stating that “63 million Muslims” supported IS.
The poll available online published in November, 2015 actually found that Muslim views of IS are “overwhelmingly negative across the Muslim world” or the exact opposite of what your correspondent claimed, stigmatising a lot of Muslims as extremists. Incidentally, Fox News personality and anti-Muslim demagogue Sean Hannity made the same claim citing the same “63 million Muslims” supported IS, and was roundly condemned by Media Matters for America for spreading misinformation.
US presidential hopeful Donald Trump made a similar claim in a CNN interview on March 9 and not for the first time was mocked for his ignorance. You published an article by Niall Ferguson (“Brussels bombings make clear terrorist networks cannot be defeated in isolation”, April 2) in which he, too, erroneously cited the same number.
Misinformation about Islam and Muslims is spreading like wildfire, thanks in large part to irresponsible reporting and near absent fact-checking by the press.
Just as shocking, Mr Forsythe asserts terrorist barbarities are not linked to foreign policy ­failures.
He fails to see how the ­illegal Iraq invasion, war in Afghanistan and Libya, blanket support of hideous allies in the Middle East, the betrayal of ­Palestine, the complicity in extrajudicial killings and torture and ongoing deep prejudices, kickstarted by neo-con opportunists well before 9/11, have made the world inflammable and unsafe today. This is a fact widely acknowledged by ­renowned intellectuals the world over, such as ­Noam Chomsky.
In the end, however, the false narratives by people like your correspondent provide ammunition to the terrorists. We should try to marginalise this threat now. We should do this, not by framing religion as a threat but as a tool to end terrorism by battling against the incessant culture of falsification and witchhunts against ­Islam and ordinary Muslims ­today, something misinformation, drones and Islamophobia have only made worse.
Siddiq Bazarwala, Discovery Bay

Saturday 6 August 2016

Islam at the olympics

I've just watched the opening ceremony and the march-past of teams from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
There was one group of countries who stood out for their team uniforms: Islamic majority countries. For every one of those, the team uniform reflected Islam: headscarves and long "modesty" dresses for the women, head coverings for the men.
Forget separation of mosque and state. If Islam is in the majority, minority rights be damned.
North Sudan (Islamic): Islamic garb.
South Sudan (Christian): nice secular outfits
The supremacism of Islam.

Friday 5 August 2016

Trump v Hillary on Social, Foreign, Economic policies.

Re the differences between candidates, a good summary here.
In short: sharp differences in social and foreign policies; convergence on economic policies.

Thursday 4 August 2016

"How bureaucracy helps mow down entrepreneurship", August 3

Alex Lo is so right. What on earth is the government doing running our equivalent of the Great Hong Kong Foodcart Challenge?  (How bureaucracy helps mow down entrepreneurship, August 3) [1]
The government should be setting the rules, not trying to pick winners. 
This Foodcart fiasco exemplifies all that's wrong with our government now: pinched visions, bureaucratic implementation. 
As your article of 18 May suggests, the government should have followed London's example: clear, simple rules, easy application and no limit on the number. (London's diverse food-truck scene a lesson to Hong Kong, May 18) [2]
With so few food-trucks to operate here, they cannot become a tourist draw. In the meantime tourists do like what is left of "old Hong Kong", street stalls, Dai Pai Dong and the like. On those, the government would do well to follow the ancient Chinese philosophy of Wu Wei: that is "do nothing", rather than closing them down in a misguided attempt to clean us up like the antiseptic Singapore. 

Wednesday 3 August 2016

"Hongkongers are no longer safe thanks to America and its allies", SCMP, July 29. Yonden Lhatoo article.

America and its allies are lumbering around in the Middle East killing innocent civilians willy-nilly. Muslims are enraged at this and respond by bombing, shooting, axing and driving over anyone in their path, including Hongkongers. If America and its allies would only stop interfering in the Middle East, blessed peace would reign. 
That, at least, is Yonden Lhatoo's thesis (Hongkongers are no longer safe thanks to America and its allies, [1], July 29). It's all "bloody blowback from western powers' disastrous policies of intervention in the Middle East". 
Like most simple explanations, it's wrong. 
It's often forgotten that Islam was once itself a mighty empire. In the centuries after its founding it grew rapidly from Mecca to Northern Africa and Southern Europe. It did so, in its own description, "by the sword". For those subjugated this would have been very much like terrorism. 
In the 19th century, Barbary pirates terrorized American merchant vessels. Their leaders told president Jefferson they were obliged to do so by the Koran. Ironically, the US Navy was established in direct response to these Muslim Barbary attacks. 
In the 20th century, jihadists attacked America multiple times before 9-11, when there was virtually no US footprint in the Middle East. 
Even today jihadi atrocities are taking place in areas which have nothing to do with "America and its allies". Places like Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Philippines. 
The reasons we have jihadis attacking Europeans and Hongkongers, as well as Nigerian Christians, Bangladeshi Shia and Filipine Catholics are doctrinal. They have nothing to do with "America and its allies". 
Osama bin Laden stated it clearly in his 2002 treatise "Moderate Islam is a prostration to the west" when he said: "the matter is summed up for every person alive: either submit, live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die". [2]. 
ISIS have said the same in the latest issue of their glossy magazine "Dabiq", in which they explain "Why we hate you". (Spoiler: because we are infidels). 
There's no doubt that grievances are a part of the terrorists' motives. But they are not the, or even the most important, motive. 
To believe, as Lhatoo appears to, that grievance against America and its allies is the sole or primary reason for terrorism, is dangerous. Attempts to redress the alleged grievances would be seen by Islamists and jihadis as appeasement and lead to even more aggressive terrorism and encroachments. 

[2] The Al-Qaeda Reader. Doubleday 2007. Raymond Ibrahim, p43. 

Related: The fallacy of grievance-based terrorism. 

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Guilt in An Age of Jihad > Dexter Van Zile

Fantastic, thoughtful and useful article. Takes a step further the common complaint that Muslims never denounce atrocities done in their name.

Monday 1 August 2016

Trump is a great businessman. Yeah sure....

It's amazing the number of people who think Trump would make a great president because he's a "great businessman".
Actually the skill sets are very different. Business is largely top-down. The president's job is partly top-down, but also in large part bottom-up (the electorate) and sideways (congress).
In any case all the evidence shows that Trump is a pretty crap businessman.
He got a lump of money from his father, invested it in various enterprises, went bankrupt multiple times, did a lot of whirlygigging, the result of which was that he would have been better off if he'd just invested his dad's money in the S&P index. In the same time Warren Buffet crushed the S&P.
But what else? He has started many companies almost all of which have gone belly up.
Here's just a selection I've put together of the Trump businesses that have failed.
Trump Shuttle airlines. Crashed
Trump Vodka. Nyet
Trump Magazine and World Magazine. Folded
Trump University. Shuttered (in litigation) No go
Trump Steaks. Burnt
Trump Mortgage. Bankrupt
Trump Ocean Resort (Mexico). Closed

ADDED (3 August): Warren Buffet points out that Trump lost money the only time he went to the American people and asked them to invest. In 1995 Trump listed his Trump hotels and resorts. It lost money every year for the next decade. "A monkey would have outperformed Trump's  company"
Buffet said.

What a list!! Yet he's widely regarded as a successful businessman. Mainly because that's what he tells people, and they believe him.
It's simply not true. The man is a fraud from his nebulous "hair" to his tiny feet.