Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Farce Begins

The trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who stands accused of "hate speech" and "denigration of religious teaching", began yesterday, and The Tundra Tabloids live-blogged the first day of proceedings.

The totalitarian absurdity of this mock "trial" is highlighted by this summary of one of the exchanges between Sabaditsch-Wolff and the judge:

Then the quote about ”Islam is shit” is debated. Elisabeth points out that she was debating, using visual quotes, if it is legal or punishable to say ”Islam is shit”. Thus, what we are discussing here is the meta-question:

Is it illegal, or punishable, to debate the legality of saying: ”Islam is shit”?

Yes, seriously; this is what Europe has become.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Education For The Nation

"Teacher, teacher, when do we get to do our practical amputation exam?"

A BBC Panorama investigation, to be screened tonight, has identified a network of more than 40 Muslim weekend schools teaching around 5,000 children, from age 6 to 18, that promote violent sharia punishments and spread hatred against unbelievers, particularly Jews.

The schools – which offer the Saudi National Curriculum – are run under the umbrella of ‘Saudi Students Clubs and Schools in the UK and Ireland’. They are not state-funded, and do not use Government buildings. They are able to exploit a loophole which means weekend schools are not inspected by Ofsted.

The Panorama investigation identified a book for 15-year-olds being used in the classes which teaches about Sharia law and its punishments. It says: ‘For thieves their hands will be cut off for a first offence, and their foot for a subsequent offence.’ There are diagrams showing children where cuts must be made. One passage says: ‘The specified punishment of the thief is cutting off his right hand at the wrist. Then it is cauterised to prevent him from bleeding to death.’

For acts of ‘sodomy’, children are told that the penalty is death and it states a difference of opinion whether this should be done by stoning, or burning with fire, or throwing over a cliff.

The textbooks for 15-year-olds revive the so-called ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, which teach that Zionists want to establish world domination for Jews. They instruct pupils: ‘The Jews have tried to deny them (the Protocols) but there are many proofs of their veracity and their origin among the elders of Zion.’ The textbooks say the ‘main goal’ of the ‘Zionist movement’ is ‘for the Jews to have control over the world and its resources’ which, the book allege, Zionists seek to achieve partly by ‘inciting rancour and rivalry among the great powers so that they fight one another.’

There will be those who are deeply shocked by these revelations, and these people are invariably the ones who are ignorant of Islam.

The teaching about cutting off the hands of adulterers originates in the Qur'an: "As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power." (5:38) The Risala, a renowned manual of Islamic law authored by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani of the Maliki school of Sunni jurisprudence, outlines the various stages of punishment for serial thieves:

If a person steals a quarter of a dinar in gold, or something the value of which on the day of the theft equals three dirhams of property, or something the weight of which represents three dirhams of silver, such a person shall have his hand cut off if the stolen property was in the possession of somebody else when stolen. But there shall be no amputation if the property is stolen surreptitiously. In respect of those amounts mentioned above, the hand of a man or a woman or that of a slave is cut off. Then if the person steals again, he has his foot on the opposite side cut off. If he should steal again he will have his other hand cut off. If he steals for the fourth time, he shall have the remaining foot cut off. If he should steal for the fifth time, he shall be beaten and imprisoned.

I'm not sure how a person with no arms or legs is going to steal anything, let alone something that weighs equivalent to three dirhams of silver, but you get the picture.

The grizzly and inventive punishment for homosexuality stems straight from Muhammad's teachings ("Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Loot, execute the one who does it and the one to whom it is done”) and his closest Companions (all widely venerated experts on the Qur'an and its meaning).

As for the conspiracism and hostility towards the Jews, it is based on a number of verses in the Qur'an and hadith that describe the Jews as the worst enemies of the Muslims, who strive to work "mischief" in the land (which they might do by, say, "inciting rancour and rivalry among the great powers so that they fight one another"), and are also allied with the Muslim equivalent of the Antichrist.

Given all of this, why WOULDN'T Muslim schools - even ones in tolerant, multicultural Britain - be teaching kids "extremist" Islam? Do these Muslims read a different Qur'an and revere a different Prophet to the Muslims of Saudi Arabia?

Of course they don't. They all follow the same Islam, and that Islam is, plain and simple, incompatible not only with British values, but with the values of any civilised society on earth. The only solution is to stringently ban all those parts of it that conflict with British law and human decency, and enforce that ban to the utmost.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Fact Vs. Fiction - Part 3

"The religion [of Islam] teaches peace, justice, fairness and tolerance. All of us recognise that this great religion cannot justify violence." ~ US President Borat Obama


"An Afghan Christian, detained for months for allegedly converting to Christianity from Islam, could face trial as early as next week - and could face a potential death penalty, officials said Sunday."

Friday, 19 November 2010

Bring Question 755 To The UK!

On November 2nd, the residents of Oklahoma voted in favour of a local constitutional amendment banning sharia law.

Contrary to the monotonous whining of cultural jihadist Muslim advocacy groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the law is not a violation of religious freedom. It merely "makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases," and "forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law." Outside of the court system, in matters of personal faith, Muslims are free to behave however they wish, as long as their behaviour does not contradict American law. However, within the court system, judges are forbidden from legislating for Oklahomans on the basis of Islamic law. Thus, the necessary secular character of American law is protected, and aspects of sharia inimical to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights - such as its discrimination against women and non-Muslims - have no chance of ever being enforced. And for those who scoff at the idea of US courts implementing Islamic law, this report by the American Public Policy Alliance may be interesting reading.

Such a law is essential not just in Oklahoma, but in the rest of America also. And following that, it must come to Britain. Given the increasing influence, particularly negative, of independently arbitrating sharia courts here in the UK, a British replication of State Question 755 could not be a more important way of safeguarding justice, human rights and secularism in this country.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

How To Reform Islam

At National Review, former Muslim Ibn Warraq discusses an interesting document that provides very scant, but certainly not unfounded, hope that somewhere, Muslims genuinely are undertaking efforts to catch up with the Western world when it comes to secularised democratic reform.

“The Casablanca Call for Democracy and Human Rights” was published just last month by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and urges governments and activists across the Middle East to continue working toward democratic reforms. It is the result of a conference organized by the Arab Human Rights Movement. It calls for separation of powers and endorses the principle of the sovereignty of the people - a truly democratic demand, since, in an Islamic state, sovereignty belongs to God and His Law. As well as outlining many basic human rights reforms, it also importantly reaffirms the “interconnectedness of political reform with the renewal of religious thought, which requires support for, and expansion of, the practice of ijtihad [that is, independent reasoning] in a climate of complete freedom of thought, under democratic systems of government.”

It is believed by most Muslims, at least within Sunni Islam, that the “gates of ijtihad” are closed. Ijtihad is the process of re-evaluating the Qur'an and instating a point of Islamic law based upon this evaluation. Only a select few Muslims are considered qualified to perform ijtihad, and since the death of Ahmad ibn Hanbal – founder of the Hanbali school of jurisprudence – in the ninth century, no one has been recognised as a mujtahid of the first class. This means that critical examination of the Qur'an, and alteration of laws which may now be considered out-dated, is discouraged in the Muslim world, and so theological progression within the faith has stagnated. The classic manual of Islamic law Reliance of the Traveller states: “When the four necessary integrals of consensus exist, the ruling agreed upon is an authoritative part of Sacred Law that is obligatory to obey and not lawful to disobey. Nor can mujtahids of a succeeding era make the thing an object of new ijtihad, because the ruling on it, verified by scholarly consensus, is an absolute legal ruling which does not admit of being contravened or annulled.”

So the Casablanca Call's suggestion to reopen the gates of ijtihad, if it was actually heeded by the majority of the Muslim world, would represent the first step towards the kind of grass-roots reform that Islam so desperately needs.

But we should not deceive ourselves into thinking that this document signifies that the Islamic world is on the brink of its own Enlightenment. For "as the authors of the Casablanca Call themselves confess, there has been scant progress in many areas of political and civil life" when it comes to human rights, and much of the action the Call suggests would constitute plain heresy to the orthodox.

Finally, Warraq asks the pertinent question:

One wonders if there will ever be real progress without someone, somewhere, beginning the necessary critique of Islam and its scriptures. As Jonathan Israel showed in his two monumental studies of the European Enlightenment — the process that radically changed European and American society forever, the process that gave us the egalitarian and democratic core values and ideals of the modern world — it began with one man, and one book: Baruch Spinoza and his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, first published in Amsterdam in 1670. That was the beginning of Biblical criticism and the modern world; but where is the Koranic criticism that alone can unshackle people’s minds?

Where indeed?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Fact Vs. Fiction - Part 2

"The religion [of Islam] teaches peace, justice, fairness and tolerance. All of us recognise that this great religion cannot justify violence." ~ US President Borat Obama


"Muslims set fire overnight to at least 10 houses belonging to Coptic Christians in a village in southern Egypt over rumors that a Christian resident had an affair with a Muslim girl, security officials said Tuesday."

ADDENDUM: An almost identical - but even more brutal - incident occured in a different part of Egypt around the same time.

Talaq Of The Town

The Prophet would have approved

Under Islamic law, all a Muslim man has to do to divorce his wife is to utter "Talaq!" - "I divorce you!" - three times, and the deed is done. Instantly. As if a wife is something a man may throw away like a pair of socks with a hole in them.

Ancient law? Sure, but not in India, where the top Muslim clerical authorities still uphold it, aided by twenty-first century technology. In the most recent case, a fatwa by Darul-Ifta, the fatwa department of leading Sunni Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, ruled that Talaq uttered thrice by a Muslim man on a mobile phone will be considered valid even if his wife is unable to hear it all three times due to network and other problems.

And this isn't the first backward, misogynistic ruling issued by Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, either. They have previously issued fatwas against women judges and female modelling.

These facts first of all underscore the woman-hating character of much of the Islamic world. But they also demonstrate the lazy and wilfully blind short-sightedness of our Western "analysts" of Islam. A couple of years ago, this same group, Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, issued a fatwa calling terrorism "un-Islamic". The blinkered masses instantly jumped on this as a shining example of how "moderate" mainstream Islam is. But in reality, the fatwa itself was riddled with enough loopholes to drive a tank through, and the group's "moderation" is obviously belied by its medieval orthodox Islamic sexism.

Just one of many, many examples of why you must never, ever, believe the mainstream media when they describe any Muslim group anywhere as "moderate". Do your own research first. I guarantee you that you will often find that the public face of Moderate Islam is but a cutesy facade disguising the barbarism beneath.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Palestine: Atheist Arrested

A man from the Palestinian town of Qalqiliya has been arrested after publishing critical atheistic remarks about Islam on Facebook.

26 year old Walid Husayin faces a potential life prison sentence on heresy charges for "insulting the divine essence." Many Muslims in the town say he should be killed for renouncing Islam, and even his own family say he should remain behind bars for life.

"He should be burned to death," said Abdul-Latif Dahoud, a 35-year-old Qalqiliya resident. The execution should take place in public "to be an example to others," he added.

But wait a minute - Walid Husayin was arrested by for this "heresy" by the Palestinian Authority. Aren't they supposed to be the "moderate" alternative to Hamas? And aren't the vast majority of Palestinian Muslims supposed to be "moderates" who would balk at the idea of such intolerant attitudes?

The AP article heinously appears to carry water for the Palestinian regime on this one: it laments "the feeling in the Muslim world that their faith is under mounting attack by the West." It claims, with no evidence at all, that "[t]he Western-backed Palestinian Authority is among the more religiously liberal Arab governments in the region". And worst of all, it says in all seriousness, as if it were the mouthpiece of the government, "Husayin's high public profile and prickly style, however, left authorities no choice but to take action."

They had no choice, you see, because he was "prickly". Ouch.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Fact Vs. Fiction

"The religion [of Islam] teaches peace, justice, fairness and tolerance. All of us recognise that this great religion cannot justify violence." ~ US President Borat Obama


"A Christian woman has been sentenced to hang in Pakistan after being convicted of defaming the Prophet Mohammed. "

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Rock-Throwers of Peace

To hear many liberals tell it, Israel is an oppressive state that employs Jewish-supremacist discrimination against its Arab Muslim residents, who have an earnest desire for peace and co-existence. The Israelis are so evil and intent of ethnically cleansing their country of Muslims that those same Muslims are left with no other choice but to take up arms and heroically fight back for the survival of their people.

The mainstream media goes a long way towards perpetuating this nonsense, which is why stories like this generally aren't seen as fit to print:

Jerusalem area Arabs once again have stoned two Israeli Magen David ambulances trying to help neighbors. This time, the medical rescue vehicles were trying to save an Arab boy who fell five floors from his home in El Azaria, a village between the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill and nearby Maaleh Adumim.

Magen David medics were resuscitating the youth when attackers began to pummel them with rocks from all directions, breaking the windshield.

Last week, a group of students and a visiting Australian narrowly escaped death when they made a wrong turn and entered an Arab village, where they were ambushed by local Arabs. One of the villagers tricked the students into driving further, where a blockade trapped the vehicle as Arab rioters attacked the car with rocks and metal pipes.

The driver was able to maneuver his car through a narrow opening and escaped the mob.

Now wait for the antisemites to come out of the woodwork and say that this story must be false because it came from the propagandising Israeli media.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Meaning of Jihad

The meaning of the word “jihad” has been the subject of much dissembling by Muslim spokesmen, who are quick to deny that the word has any violent connotations. In 2002, Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of law at the University of California, claimed: “Islamic tradition does not have a notion of holy war. Jihad simply means to strive hard or struggle in pursuit of a just cause...Holy war (al-harb al-muqaddasah) is not an expression used by the Qur'anic text or Muslim theologians. In Islamic theology war is never holy; it is either justified or not.”

El Fadl is technically right that jihad does not mean “holy war”: the Arabic word translates most literally as “struggle” or “striving”. But is there more to it than this?

The authoritative Hans-Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic defines jihad as: "fight, battle...holy war (against the infidels, as a religious duty)". Similarly, the nineteenth-century British Orientalist E.W. Lane carefully studied the etymology of the word in his seminal Arabic-English Lexicon, which is widely considered by both native Arabic and English speakers to be the greatest such work in existence. Lane concluded that the word jihad “came to be used by the Muslims to signify generally he fought, warred, or waged war, against unbelievers and the like.”

However, no study on this subject would be entirely complete without reference to some Islamic sources. It is noteworthy that E.W. Lane says that this violent definition of jihad was used generally by Muslims, and this statement is completely accurate.

Reliance of the Traveller is a medieval Islamic legal manual, written as a comprehensive guide to Islamic law by Muslims, for Muslims. In 1991, it was endorsed by Islam's highest centre of religious learning, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, as conforming “to the practise and faith of the orthodox Sunni community” – Sunnis making up some 85% of the world's Muslims. It thus carries a great deal of weight as a scholarly explanation of Islamic doctrine. The manual defines jihad as “warfare against non-Muslims”, noting that the word itself “is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.”

A similar definition of jihad was delivered by Al-Azhar during the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research in 1968. A statement delivered at the conference declared: “The word 'Jihad' means exerting all efforts. It means also struggling hard until you feel exhausted. To strive against the enemy is to fight him. Jihad – from the viewpoint of religion – means exerting all efforts in repelling the enemies and in fighting them. Jihad is an Islamic word which other Nations use in the meaning of 'war'.”

Finally, the most recent English translation of the great Islamic jurist al-Mawardi's legal treatise, The Ordinances of Government, which has been designated by the Center For Muslim Contribution To Civilization as one of the "Great Books of Islamic Civilization", contains a glossary of Arabic terms. It defines jihad as simply, "Holy war to extend Islam to unconverted regions".

What these facts demonstrate is that while the word "jihad" and its various roots and derivatives have many connotations in Arabic relating to generic "striving", as a religious concept within Islam the word has always been understood by Muslims as defining a very specific kind of striving: namely, physical warfare against unbelievers.