Sunday, 26 July 2015

Ireland: The Vast Majority of 50 Muslims Reject Islamic State


Well, things just line up so nicely sometimes, don't they?

When I wrote my short piece the other day noting that Muslim rallies against Muhammad cartoons often draw in thousands of people, little did I know that just days later, we would see a more welcome counter-protest take place in Ireland.

The rally was organised by the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council to protest over the actions of Islamic State. The demonstrators gathered on Dublin's O'Connell Street to "distance Islam from the group, and show that it is a peaceful religion".

We all know that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and moderate, so it must have been a good turn-out, right?

Well...50 people is pretty good by Muslim standards, actually.

IS has been in the international headlines for butchering people in the name of their religion for over two years now, and yet according to organisers, this is "believed to be the first protest of its kind held in Ireland." Why is that?

And why - despite the fact that this complete lack of interest among "moderates" has manifested over and over and over again - does everybody continue to assume, for no reason, that the vast majority of Muslims reject Islamic State and its ideological kin?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Islam and Free Speech in the UK

A poll of British Muslims conducted jointly in 2007 by the Guardian newspaper and ICM Research found that almost 60% agreed that people in Britain who insult or criticise Islam should be subject to criminal prosecution.

More recently, following the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, the ComRes polling agency carried out a widely publicised survey of British Muslims and their attitudes towards blasphemy and extremism in the UK. Despite mainstream media attempts to present the results of the poll as somehow encouraging, what they actually showed was that 27% of British Muslims (over a quarter) said they have some sympathy for the motives behind the Paris attacks, while 24% felt that violence against those who publish images of Muhammad can sometimes be justified.

This would seem to explain why there have been a number of public Muslim demonstrations in the UK – often attended in the thousands or even tens of thousands – advocating the criminalisation of criticism of Islam, and not a single one in support of freedom of speech.

Monday, 20 July 2015

David Cameron's Counter-Terrorism Speech


Those who have read this blog over the last few weeks - or indeed, before that, during the "Golden Age" - will likely already have guessed my take on David Cameron's anti-terror speech in Birmingham today, but regardless, I feel it necessary to briefly share a few thoughts on what we heard. The speech can be read in full here.

THE GOOD

Say what you will about Dave, but he does seem to have a firmer grasp than any other Western leader of the weaknesses of the term "moderate" when it comes to describing those in the Muslim community. It's something that I've come across regularly over the years. In short, there seems to be a very simplistic dichotomy in the minds of the political class, as well of those of many ordinary folk, between what is perceived to be an extremist, and what is perceived to be a moderate: those Muslims who are killing people, or calling for people to be killed, are the extremists; those who aren't killing people are the moderates.

The Prime Minster doesn't accept this, and neither do I. In his speech, he commented:

But you don’t have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish. Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality. Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation. Ideas...which privilege one identity to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of others.

And ideas also based on conspiracy: that Jews exercise malevolent power; or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam. In this warped worldview, such conclusions are reached, that 9/11 was actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan, that British security services knew about 7/7, but didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash.

And like so many ideologies that have existed before – whether fascist or communist – many people, especially young people, are being drawn to it.

To say that this ideology resembles fascism and communism is an especially impressive observation.

I also liked the section where Cameron discredits the various tired "explanations" given for Islamic violence, which hinge on blaming Western foreign policy or poverty, and denying the religious element:

Some argue it’s because of historic injustices and recent wars, or because of poverty and hardship. This argument, what I call the grievance justification, must be challenged.

So when people say “it’s because of the involvement in the Iraq War that people are attacking the West”, we should remind them: 9/11 – the biggest loss of life of British citizens in a terrorist attack – happened before the Iraq War.

When they say that these are wronged Muslims getting revenge on their Western wrongdoers, let’s remind them: from Kosovo to Somalia, countries like Britain have stepped in to save Muslim people from massacres...

Now others might say: it’s because terrorists are driven to their actions by poverty. But that ignores the fact that many of these terrorists have had the full advantages of prosperous families or a Western university education...

No – we must be clear: The root cause of the threat we face is the extremist ideology itself.

His defence - and delineation - of Western values, and why we must stand up for them, is also pretty good.

THE BAD

There is, of course, a big "but".

As he has done before, the PM is quick to affirm that "It cannot be said clearly enough: this extremist ideology is not true Islam. I have said it myself many, many times, and it’s absolutely right to do so. And I’ll say it again today." Thus, when he later calls on us to encourage Islamic reformers, it is more than likely that he will rely on alliances not with those few brave souls who genuinely admit that Islam has a problem, and that it needs to be resolved by going back to the foundational texts and moving away from Qur'anic literalism and the emulation of the example of Muhammad (a terrible role model for any human being), but with those Muslim "moderates" who deny that there is any problem within traditional Islamic thought, and call everyone who says otherwise an Islamophobe.

That cannot be conducive to real reform.

There is also a strange zeal in the speech to constantly harp on about the "far-right", who Cameron variously describes as "despicable" and "poisonous". Even in this speech about solutions to Islamic radicalism, he can't help bringing them up, and accusing them of wanting to blow up mosques. But who are they?

The Prime Minister defines them as those who "try to suggest that there is some kind of secret Muslim conspiracy to take over our Government, or that Islam and Britain are somehow incompatible."

Where are these people? Who is making these arguments (the first in particular)? What relevance do they have? For it seems to me that if anyone is actually saying these things, it is only because Muslims have articulated them time and again throughout Europe and America, and the "far-right" are just noticing that fact. Why "stand up" to these "false" views when, if we stood up more effectively against the Muslims who utter them in the first place, they would likely evanesce?

Then there is Dave's attempts to explain why Muslims are drawn to this ideology, which do not really explain anything at all.

For example:

There is also the question of identity.

For all our successes as multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, we have to confront a tragic truth that there are people born and raised in this country, who don’t really identify with Britain – and who feel little or no attachment to other people here. Indeed, there is a danger in some of our communities that you can go your whole life and have little to do with people from other faiths and backgrounds.

So when groups like ISIL seek to rally our young people to their poisonous cause, it can offer them a sense of belonging that they can lack here at home, leaving them more susceptible to radicalisation and even violence against other British people to whom they feel no real allegiance.

All well and good, but WHY don't these "people" (Methodists? Hindus? Hari Krishnas?) feel any sense of belonging with Britain? Islam teaches brotherhood with other faiths and adherence to the laws of the land in your host country, doesn't it? And all mosques in Britain teach that Muslims must integrate into the societies they call home, don't they?

Cameron doesn't have an answer to these questions precisely because he refuses to understand Islam, and its innate hostility to non-Muslims, and its refusal to accept any code of law other than its own. And so, he spins in circles trying to grasp at explanations that disipate in the wind between his fingers.

THE BOTTOM LINE

So as per usual with Dave, it's Some Good, Some Bad. But I think there is a deeper issue here.

Whatever he says that is good, and coherent, and valuable, I simply don't believe him.

David Cameron is a soundbite Prime Minister. He talks tough, but he does not follow through and deliver on his promises. He promised to reduce net migration to Britain to tens of thousands, but it surged under his leadership to over 300,000.

He claimed that his tough talking had pursuaded the EU not to force us to pay bailout money to Greece, but it looks like we're going to have to pay it anyway.

He used his speech today to blast "extremist" Islamic causes that he and his government have supported in the past.

He has criticised sharia law, while simultaneously championing those who support it in the Islamic world.

Some of what Cameron said today was impressive. But it was just a speech. He won't do many of the things he says he will, and most of the things he does carry through will fail at halting the Islamic terror threat.

Islamic jihad has plagued the world for over 1400 years. David Cameron is deluded if he thinks that - with his pretty words - he's going to defeat it in the next five.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Ramadan Flim-Flam



Well, it's "Fitr Friday", so what else should we expect but yet another laughable article about Islam from the BBC?

Today's piece, by the Beeb's religious affairs correspondent Caroline Wyatt, is titled "Ramadan offers chance to oppose extremism". Curiously, though, we are first serenaded with a load of gumph about charitable giving, and don't actually see anything about opposing extremism until paragraph 9, when we are told that "Some Islamic clerics around the world have used Ramadan as a chance to reflect publicly on how to reform the religious discourse within Islam to keep up with the challenges of 21st Century life, and to oppose extremism."

Before we get on to the examples Wyatt cites, it is worth noting that NOWHERE in her piece does she discuss the counterpoint to this - that "some Islamic clerics" use Ramadan not to "oppose extremism", but to do exactly the opposite. Incendiary calls by clerics to intensify the jihad during the month of Ramadan are not unknown, and the rate of jihad terrorism tends to spike during the period, as devout Muslims seek to prove just how devoted they are to Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Last year's Ramadan Bombathon scorecard is at the top of this post. I'll be posting this year's as soon as it becomes available from The Religion of Peace.

Anyway, the article goes on to cite a couple of examples of moderate Muslim reformers. The first is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the President of Egypt, who Wyatt says "called for a revolution in Islam, saying that outdated interpretations had made the Muslim world a source of destruction."

In fact, as I documented here, Sisi's words were hollow and unsupported by concrete action, as the persecution of Christians and atheists in Egypt continues apace, and "blasphemers" are still arrested and imprisoned.

She also cites American Muslim professor Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, who she says has "urged a return to the core tenet of mercy in Islam, describing the religion as a house that had been neglected and was in need of renovation."

Hamza is quoted thusly: "The water taps aren't working, the plumbing's not working. The house is in disarray...You don't destroy it, you don't set it aside. You renovate it." He said Muslims should not oppose even strong reforms, nor feel that everything needed to be changed: "Because of the urgency of the situation, some people are waking up... and thinking we better do something," he said.

Nothing here, however, about what Hamza would actually do to bring about this much-needed reform, how he would go about it, what it would look like, what it would achieve, or whether it has any support in the Muslim world. Just empty flim-flam.

But as far as relevant flim-flam goes, that's it. After that, the piece descends into irrelevant nonsense about Muslims who blame the Western media for making Islam look bad, and think we should all just be more tolerant of them, and that will make everything better.

So after that promising headline about "opposing extremism", the article itself actually contains nothing whatsoever about opposing extremism.

Just flim-flam.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Why the Iran Nuclear Deal is FUCKING TERRIBLE

Laughing our way to the morgue


So, hot on the heels of Iran's leadership expressing their desire, once again, to wipe Israel off the map, we have the conclusion of the talks between Iran and the weak dregs that pass for leadership in the rest of the world, over the Khameini regime's nuclear program, which it says is for peaceful purposes, but quite obviously is not:

1) Iran insists on enriching its own uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, despite the fact that it could just buy it from abroad. The vast majority of countries that enrich their own uranium also have nuclear weapons.

2) Iran is developing intercontinental ballistic missile systems, which are used solely for delivering nuclear warheads, and not a few pounds of conventional explosive.

3) The mullahs insist on having secret underground bunkers to carry out their peaceful nuclear work, for some unexplained reason.

Anyway, here are some of the takeaway points from the disastrous new deal:

- Iran will be permitted to continue spinning centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium. Western powers will also work with Iran to help it install and operate more advanced centrifuges, according to those apprised of the deal. According to Iran's Fars News Agency, “none of the Iranian nuclear facilities will be dismantled or decommissioned” under the deal.

- Sanctions also will be lifted on Iran, including those on the country’s banks and financial sectors, which have long supported Iran’s nuclear program as well as its sponsorship of international terrorist groups.

- A United Nations embargo on arms will also be lifted within around five years as part of the deal, according to multiple reports. A similar embargo on the construction of ballistic missiles will also expire in around eight years under the deal.

- Initial readings of the deal also indicate that Iran will be given the right to veto so-called “anywhere, anytime” inspections of Iranian nuclear sites. This concession has caused concern that Tehran will be able to continue hiding its nuclear work and potentially continue in secret along the pathway to a bomb. Iran also will be permitted for a time to keep its military sites off limits to inspectors.

Florida Representive Ron Desantis of the Republican Party summed it all up:

“This Iran deal gives Ayatollah Khamenei exactly what he wants: billions of dollars in sanctions relief, validation of the Iranian nuclear program, and the ability to stymie inspections. It even lifts sanctions against Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the campaign in Iraq.

“The deal will further destabilize the Middle East, allow Iran to foment more terrorism, and aid Iran’s rise as the dominant power in the region.”

Indeed.

UPDATE: The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which can be read here, makes plain (p.43) that Iran has a total period of 14 days following an initial request of access from the IAEA, then 7 additional days of consultation, and then a further 3 days' grace period (i.e. over three weeks in total!) in order to hide any potential evidence of nuclear wrongdoing from the inspection process. Seriously, it beggars belief that this deal is being "celebrated" anywhere but in Iran itself.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

What You Can't Say in Britain...And What You Can

The sad decline and eventual suffocating death of our once-great country continues apace.

A regional newspaper in the Scottish Highlands has fired its founding editor Brian Wilson, along with the Free Church of Scotland Rev Professor of Theology Donald Macleod, after the latter discussed the spread of Islam in the UK.

Mr Wilson, who also writes a column for The Scotsman and was a minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government, was sacked for defending Professor Macleod.

And what did the Reverend say that was so horrible that he had to lose his job over it?

In his column on May 22nd, Prof Macleod wrote that all minorities prefer to keep a low profile.

He added: “Generations of British Muslims have done exactly that, many have made an invaluable contribution to British society, and many are perfectly prepared to listen quietly while Christians 'witness' to them.

"But when minorities become majorities, things change... in the event of Islamic dominance in Britain our friendly Muslim shopkeepers will have little option but to march behind the radicals."

Mr Wilson commented that the article was “leading on to wider questions about Islamic influence within Europe, including implications for democracy and freedom”. He added: “The precedent he quoted was what happened in Algeria between the fourth and seventh centuries, from Augustine to Mohammed, so in raising current issues he was - as ever - taking the long view of history.”

So there we have it: two journalists lose their jobs for discussing Islamic integration in a historical perspective, and defending freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, another victim of our country's rush towards accomodating the sensibilities of its new Muslim masters is Pastor James McConnell, a Christian preacher from Northern Ireland who faces the possibility of six months in jail for criticising Islam and calling it "Satanic".

Meanwhile the chief witness for the prosecution against Pastor McConnell, Dr Raied Al-Wazzan of the Belfast Islamic Centre, is on record praising Islamic State for making the Iraqi city of Mosul "the most peaceful city in the world" since it took over. ISIS has displaced 100,000 Christians from the city and abducted hundreds of innocent schoolchildren there.

Mr Al-Wazzan does not face any jail time.

So Mr. Cameron, what are you going to do about it? A minute's silence for Brian Wilson and Pastor McConnell?