Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Is The Sun's "1 in 5 Muslims" Headline Really That Far-Fetched?

The Sun newspaper has taken huge flak for the front-page headline above, printed yesterday, claiming that 1 in 5 British Muslims have sympathy for Islamic State jihadis.

The story has been widely derided and mocked on social media, but is it really so outrageous? The Mirror criticised the Sun's headline on the basis that the poll in question, carried out by Survation, asked whether Muslims had "sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria".

The "1 in 5" figure is drawn from the total of 5.3% of respondents saying that they had "a lot" of sympathy, and 14.5% that they had "some" sympathy. That adds up to 19.8%, and the number rises to 25% in the 18-34 age bracket.

The Mirror says that this doesn't prove anything, because the poll does not specifically mention ISIS or jihadis anywhere. Indeed, as it goes on:

The problem is that ISIS aren't the only group fighting in Syria. 
In fact, they're one of dozens of rebel groups fighting against the Assad regime (and each other) in the country's increasingly messy civil war. 
As well as ISIS, there are certainly other groups who could be described as jihadist - notably the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra front. 
But there's also the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, the Army of Mujahideen, Jaish al-Sham, the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, as well as various Kurdish forces.

This is where the criticism of the headline gets somewhat silly. Firstly, I don't buy this idea that the Muslims who were asked the question about "fighters" in Syria didn't really know what it meant. We all know who the "fighters" in Syria are, and if no particular group is specified, we all know which ones we instinctively think of. And it ain't the Kurds.

But the bigger issue here is that contrary to the Mirror's spin, ALL of the groups it mentions above - with the exception of the Kurds - are actually jihadist organisations.

The Free Syrian Army massacres Christians and have collaborated with Islamic State.

The Islamic Front is another jihadist group that is virtually indistinguishable from al-Qaeda.

Jaish al-Sham has been disbanded for over a year, and just before then, over 1000 of its members defected to Islamic State.

It is also laughable that the Mirror could, with a straight face, claim that the Army of Mujahideen and the Muslim Brotherhood and are not jihadist groups, when the first tells us it is jihadist in its name, and the latter was founded by a jihadist preacher, Hasan al-Banna, and its leading ideologues from Sayyid Qutb to Yusuf al-Qaradawi were and are jihadists.

In light of all this, who exactly would any non-jihadist "fighters" in Syria, opposed to Assad, be fighting for?

On top of this, we have other polling data from British Muslims to contend with. A 2006 survey reported that as many as 40% would like to see the British legal system replaced with sharia; a detailed study by the Policy Exchange think tank in 2007 found, among other things, that around half of the Muslims surveyed support polygamy, roughly 40% support the execution of those who leave Islam, and 39% believe that sharia should not be reformed in order to conform to British law or modern human rights standards;  and a 2010 cable from the US Embassy in London revealed that in a study of 600 Muslim students in 30 British universities, not only did 40% support sharia, but one third of them also believed that killing in the name of religion was justified. A quarter of British Muslims also believe that killing someone for insulting Islam can be justified.

With all of this in mind, is it really so outlandish to believe that the 1 in 5 figure might have at least a degree of truth to it? Maybe not all of the Muslims surveyed necessarily support the bombing of people at football stadiums, or the beheading of aid workers, and things of this nature, but it seems entirely possible that they may sympathise with the concept of the caliphate and the application of sharia, to name but two things.

I'm not saying we should make any firm conclusions based on this poll, which is after all published in what can only be described as a newspaper for degenerates. But the reaction to The Sun's headline demonstrates yet again that the chimeric "Vast Majority of Peaceful Muslims" is a sacred cow of the British media commentariat, despite remaining unproven, regardless of this particular survey's validity.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Social Media Lies After The Paris Attacks - #3

A common trope I have seen on social media in the wake of the Paris jihad attacks is the claim that "refugees" entering the country are fleeing IS, and therefore could not possibly be budding terrorists aligned with Islamic State.

Aside from completely ignoring the fact that IS themselves have already claimed to have sent thousands of fighters into Europe posing as refugees, and that at least two of them were involved in the Paris massacre, this flimsy argument for open-border colonisation by Muslim immigrants is a massive false idol.

Firstly, official UN statistics demonstrate that the vast majority of "refugees" entering Europe at the moment are grown men, of working (and, indeed, fighting) age, while women and children only make up 38% of the total number arriving by sea. A few months ago, the official estimates were as high as 72% working age males. This is the strangest influx of wartime refugees I have ever heard of, in which women and children only make up a third of the total number.

While the UN also believe that the bulk of these arrivals are from Syria, this is actually not so clear-cut, since evidence has been collected for months that many migrants from other countries are simply using fake documents and pretending to be from Syria in order to ease their passage into the continent.

Then there is the fact that once they are here, these "refugees" (almost all Muslim) do not seem to behave like the kind of cowed, persecuted people we would expect them to be. Riots, anti-Christian violence and rape are rife within the refugee camps, and many of the migrants display a level of ingratitude towards their hosts that is not befitting of any real refugees fleeing a warzone and grateful to just be away from danger. Some are even refusing to enter certain European countries where the welfare benefits are not to their liking.

In short, it is an unsupported falsehood to claim that the migrants currently being brought into European countries by the planeload are merely refugees "fleeing ISIS". While some undoubtedly are, the majority of them are actually economic migrants trying to get a better life in any way they can, and are bringing with them a set of ideas and values which - even if they don't translate into support for terrorism - are incompatible with the British and European way of life.

UPDATE: "Third Paris stadium suicide bomber identified as refugee who came via Greece"

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Social Media Lies After the Paris Attacks - #2

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, it has been common to see people on social media quoting the following verse from the Qur'an (screenshot from The Telegraph):

But does this verse really prove that the Paris attacks were un-Islamic?

Here is the entire verse, accompanied by the immediately following verse, which provides much-needed context:

For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel [i.e. the Jews] that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth. 
The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom. (5:32-33)

There are a few things to note immediately:

1) The word "innocent" as depicted in the tweet in the above screenshot is not in the actual Qur'anic text at all, and is a fabrication, while the actual text makes a specific exception to the rule in the case of "manslaughter or corruption in the earth" (which I'll get back to in a minute).

2) The full verse notes that these relatively noble-sounding sentiments were actually a Jewish teaching - and indeed, the phrasing of this verse is plagiarised directly from the Jewish Talmud.

3) The immediately following verse, which is NEVER quoted on social media, gives the passage an entirely different meaning that is most certainly not peaceful.

It is also important to understand what this Qur'anic passage means when it urges punishment for spreading “corruption in the earth” and waging “war upon Allah and his messenger”. The classical Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir (d.1373) sums up the orthodox view of what this means: “oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways.” He also relates that three of Muhammad's close companions – al-Suddi, Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas'ud – agree that it means “disbelief and acts of disobedience.”

Another scholar, the important modern Muslim thinker Maududi (d.1979) writes: “The 'land' (in verse 5:33) signifies either the country or territory wherein the responsibility of establishing law and order has been undertaken by an Islamic state. The expression 'to wage war against Allah and His Messenger' denotes war against the righteous order established by the Islamic state.”

Certainly the French were "waging war" against the Islamic State in a very literal sense, and thus in their eyes deserved death in line with verse 5:33. But even if they had not been, early Muslim commentaries make clear that mere disbelief in Islam is also sufficient to merit the brutal punishment mandated in this verse.

Far from codemning what happened in Paris at the weekend, this commonly-cited Qur'anic verse actually condones and encourages it.

But you will not find that out in the mainstream media.

Social Media Lies After The Paris Attacks - #1

In the wake of the Islamic State atrocities in Paris, you may have noticed social media going into a complete frenzy of denial and pro-Islam proselytising as Muslims and Leftists seek desperately to exonerate Islam and paint all those who noticed that the attacks were a little bit Islamic as crazy extremists.

Well, I've noticed it, anyway, and it's disheartening for me to realise that I have so many family and friends who are so utterly clueless and compromised on this issue.

I thought I'd go through a couple of the most popular memes I've been seeing online in recent days, and dissect their shallowness and stupidity in that way that I like to do sometimes. The first one I want to look at is this video which is being posted all over the place, of Muslim apologist Reza Aslan's appearance on CNN last year, responding to comments about Islam by left-wing American comedian Bill Maher.

The most common version I have seen of the video on Facebook comes with the caption: "You need to watch this! Reza Aslan killed these two "journalists". They weren't able to salvage a shred of dignity because they are simply stupid, ill-informed, racist. Party on CNN!"

While it's somewhat hilarious to see CNN depicted as some kind of far-Right news outlet, it is certainly more tragic to think that so many people regard Reza Aslan's arguments in this interview as the epitome of reasoned argumentation.

In response to a question about female genital mutilation, Aslan states that this is not an Islamic problem, but merely a "Central African" problem - before going on to cite two countries (Ethiopia and Eritrea) that are not in Central Africa. He also adds that "nowhere else in the Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue."

With regards to the African issue, UNICEF data from 2013 actually show that of the 10 most prevalent African countries for FGM, 9 of them are Muslim-majority, as demonstrated here. But the claim that FGM is not practised in any Muslim country outside of Africa is flatly false. It is a massive problem in Indonesia, for example, where the country's top Islamic advisory body endorses it on religious grounds, and where it simply did not exist before the advent of Islam. FGM is also practised in Iraq and the Maldives, among others.

Aslan also completely omits the fact that while the followers of other religions, particularly in Africa, do indeed perform FGM, only in Islam does it have divine sanction. Islamic hadith take for granted that female circumcision is allowed, and do not condemn it, although they do warn against it being "too severe" - a subjective judgement:

A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband. (Sunan Abu Dawud b.41, no.5251) 
The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory. (Sahih Muslim b.3, no.684)

The mainstream Islamic legal manual Reliance of Traveller, whose English translation was endorsed by Sunni Islam's nearest equivalent to the Vatican, Al Azhar University, says: "Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris (this is called Hufaad)."

Moving on, Aslan proceeds to offer the same smear of the West as a writer at the Independent recently did, about Muslim countries having had more female heads of state than Britain or America have - ignoring the fact that Western countries as a whole have had far more than Muslim ones. He then cites Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Turkey as examples of Muslim countries that treat women with absolute equality.

Just a few problems with that:

- Indonesia, aside from having the aforementioned problem with FGM, also has hundreds of bylaws that discriminate against women, according to Human Rights Watch.

- Malaysia was named as one of the two worst-performing countries in Southeast Asia in the World Economic Forum's 2014 Gender Gap report, and implements numerous discriminatory laws which negatively affect women.

- Women face widespread inequality in Bangladesh, including in employment and inheritance.

- Turkey tops Europe and the US when it comes to the number of incidences of violence against women. It was also named by the Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum last year among the 20 absolute worst-ranking countries for gender equality. (As an aside, 19 of the bottom 20 countries have a Muslim majority).

And once again, he fails to mention anything about the doctrinal basis within Islam for all of this.

In light of this repeated stream of falsehoods and nonsense, it is actually Aslan, and not his interviewers, who is exposed as the intellectual fraud, and the one incapable of using facts or reason. His smooth-talking soundbites merely have the effect of lulling people into an inevitably suicidal sense of complacency that will ultimately lead to more injustice towards women, and more terror attacks on the scale of Paris.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Nothing To Do With Islam

Below is the full claim of responsibility for the Paris jihad attacks by Islamic State. Note that the passages at the top and bottom are direct quotes from the Qur'an (verses 59:2 and 63:8), and that the entire statement makes repeated references to a perceived war between France - "the lead carrier of the cross [i.e. Christianity] in Europe" - and Islam.

Not that this has anything to do with Islam.

Friday, 13 November 2015

You Can't Defeat The Hydra With A Club

"Nor could he effect anything by smashing its heads with his club, for as fast as one head was smashed there grew up two."