Sunday, 27 February 2011

Goodbye Antisemite, Hello Jew-Hater

Necmettin Erbakan, described as "the mentor of political Islam in secular Turkey and its first Islamist prime minister", has died aged 84.

Erbakan, who began the revival of orthodox Islam in a country that had until that time had ferociously kept a secular lid on political Islam, was a vicious antisemite and hater of infidels. In an interview on Turkish TV in 2007, he repeated a series of anti-Jewish slurs, deliberately conflating Zionism and Judaism, referring to Jews as "bacteria" and "disease", and blaming them for everything from the Crusades to the modern capitalist system.

The Milli Gazette, a daily newspaper produced by Erbakan, regularly publishes anti-Jewish and anti-Christian material for the consumption of the ordinary Turkish public. For example, an article in 2005 read:

"Some people in this country are mistaken in how they treat Christians and Jews. Such mistakes are harming not only the perpetrators, but also all the young Muslims of this land, and directly or indirectly, this country.

"Heading the list of these mistakes is the respect and reverence shown to Christians and Jews […] It is a mistake to include them in the protocol of meetings, to let them speak, to applaud them, to quote their words in the newspapers […]. It is not just wrong, it is a frighteningly grave mistake […]

"It is a mistake for so-called professors, writers, thinkers, and famous intellectuals to make 'sympathetic' statements about Christians and Jews. Particularly, to say that 'they too will go to heaven' is an even bigger mistake. […] Christians and Jews, who have rejected our Prophet and refuse to recite 'Mohammed is the Messenger of God' belong forever in Hell.

"In the eyes of God, there is only one religion, and that is Islam […] There is only one book, and that is the Koran. […]

"For so-called 'dignitaries' to present Christianity and Judaism as 'godly religions' is terribly wrong. […]

Not surprisingly, current Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised Erbakan today, saying: "We will always remember him with gratitude for what he taught us and for his persevering character." Erdogan is himself a virulent antisemite who denies the Armenian genocide.

Erdogan's mentor, Necmettin Erbakan, is perhaps the man most singularly responsible for causing Turkey to begin its slide from a secular, albeit heavy-handed, republic into a reverted Islamic supremacist state which is largely responsible for the ongoing attempts to colonise Europe with Muslim immigrants. He may now be gone, but his prodigy Erdogan is doing his best today to ensure that his legacy is not forgotten.

(N.B. As far as I understand, the image above was published a couple of years ago in a Turkish newspaper as part of a "Celebrity Lookalikes" feature. I claim no ownership of it.)

Monday, 21 February 2011

UK: Muslims Smash In Man's Skull For Teaching Religious Studies

Gary Smith

While Britain's Muslim communities are busy demanding protection against a "backlash" from the "far-Right" (whatever happened to that, by the way?), it is once again proven that non-Muslims are the ones who have the most valid claim to protection from Muslims:

Four men launched a horrific attack on a teacher in which they slashed his face and left him with a fractured skull because they did not approve of him teaching religion to Muslim girls.

Akmol Hussein, 26, Sheikh Rashid, 27, Azad Hussain, 25, and Simon Alam, 19, attacked Gary Smith with a Stanley knife, an iron rod and a block of cement.

Mr Smith, who is head of religious education at Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow, east London, also suffered a fractured skull.

The four now face a jail sentence.

Detectives made secret recordings of the gang's plot to attack Mr Smith prior to the brutal assault.

The covert audio probe captured the gang condemning Mr Smith for 'teaching other religions to our sisters', the court heard.

And why, despite this intelligence, did the police do nothing protect Mr. Smith? Would they have been this lax if members of the EDL had been plotting to attack Muslims?

At least, for once, our law enforcers weren't completely afraid to admit the obvious:

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse told the court: 'The evidence from what was said on the probe points overwhelmingly to a religious motive for this attack.'

Funny how Muslims keep doing this, isn't it?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Al-Qaradawi Speaks In Egypt

As many Western media outlets continue to equivocate about the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the support for the group among the Egyptian people, the truth can't stay hidden for long.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a controversial Muslim cleric who is often described as a "Muslim televangelist", a man whose sermons reach the homes of as many as 60 million Muslims around the world via his regular broadcasts on Al Jazeera. He is an immensely popular personality who has defended suicide bombings and wife-beating, and has incited genocidal violence against Israelis and Jews and predicted the conquest of Europe by Muslim immigrants. Oh, and he supports the death penalty for those who leave Islam.

He is also the "father figure" of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, as described in this recent article at Der Spiegel. Such is his influence that the group has even invited him to become its spiritual leader.

Today in Cairo's Tahrir Square, Qaradawi gave Friday prayers in front of as many as one million Egyptian Muslims. During his sermon, he praised the "revolution" and prayed for the Muslim re-conquest of Jerusalem. The "moderate" crowd raucously cheered his every word.

Feel safe yet?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lara Logan And Egyptian Antisemitism

The majority of Western media institutions have by now covered the horrifying rape of CBS reporter Lara Logan in Egypt. But curiously, many of those "respectable" media institutions who have covered the story have omitted all mention of the fact that the thugs who assaulted her yelled "Jew, Jew!" as they violated her.

We have already seen the anti-government demonstrators deface pictures of Hosni Mubarak by drawing a Star of David on his forehead (see below), and we have heard them say: "He [Mubarak] is supporting Israel. Israel is our enemy...If people are free in Egypt...they gonna destroy Israel."

According to a 2009 Pew survey, 95% of Egyptians view Jews "unfavourably".

People will insist that this hatred of Jews stems primarily from the Arab conflict with Israel, but they fail to explain why, according to the English Orientalist E.W. Lane, the Muslims of Egypt hated Jews with a passion long before Israel ever came into existence. From his book Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, published in 1835:

They [the Jews] are held in the utmost contempt and abhorrence by the Muslims in general, and they are said to bear a more inveterate hatred than any other people to the Muslims and the Muslim religion. It is said, in the Qur'an [quoting 5:82] 'Thou shalt surely find the most violent of all men to those who have believed to be the Jews…'

Notice that Lane attributes the Muslim hatred of Jews in Egypt to antisemitic teachings in the Qur'an - an observation that in the modern day would have him accused of "Islamophobia".

This whole distressing story is actually quite reminiscent of a letter published in an Egyptian newspaper in 1948 - almost twenty years BEFORE Israel's "illegal occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza, and subsequent "inflammatory" conflicts with nearby jihadist groups - which read as follows:

It would seem that most people in Egypt are unaware of the fact that among Egyptian Muslims there are some who have white skin. Every time I board a tram I see people pointing at me saying, “Jew, Jew!” I have been beaten more than once because of this. For that reason I humbly beg that my picture (enclosed) be published with an explanation that I am not Jewish and that my name is Adham Mustafa Galeb.

Like Adham Mustafa Galeb, Lara Logan was not Jewish - but also like him, she learned first-hand the disturbing reality of antisemitism in Egypt.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Other Side of the TV Coin

Tonight has already seen the broadcasting of a disturbing documentary detailing, accurately, the problems with Islamic schools in Britain. Channel 4's Dispatches was a cutting, important and honest piece of factual reporting.

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said about the BBC's offering an hour earlier, lovingly entitled "Geert Wilders: Europe's Most Dangerous Man?". If you live in the UK, and missed this "documentary", you can watch it on BBC iPlayer here.

This had to be one of the most hideously biased, poorly researched and recklessly irresponsible pieces of "factual" television I have ever seen - and considering this is the Beeb we're talking about, that's saying something. The smears, shoddy research, whitewashing, editorialising and willful distortions come thick and fast. In fact, the programme-makers were on such a roll in this one that it's not only Wilders that they defame.

Nevertheless, you should watch it - if you can stomach it - if you want further proof of what a rotten, useless, flabby organ our mainstream media has become.

Deflecting Attention

The hate-preaching, child-abusing Islamic school at the centre of tonight's Dispatches documentary will close tomorrow amid "safety fears".

Teachers at the Darul Uloom Islamic High School, in Small Heath, Birmingham, have held meetings with police chiefs and fear that youngsters could be targeted by the "far-Right".

And so the Muslim community does what it always does: it presents itself as the real victim, and deflects attention away from its activities by whining about a "backlash" from the "far-Right" that never actually materialises. As a result, the next time this kind of thing happens in an Islamic school somewhere in Britain, no one notices.

And that's just what they want.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

More British Muslim Child Abuse Uncovered

In this case, the child abuse mentioned in the title does not just refer to the completely unprovoked and unjustified beatings inflicted upon children at this school, but also the wicked inculcation of hatred the kids are exposed to at such a young, impressionable age.

From "Mosques Teaching 'Extreme Views'" by the Press Association:

Young Muslims are being taught extremist views in British mosques, an undercover investigation has found.

Shocking footage of children apparently being hit by their teachers during lessons on the Koran will also be aired on Channel 4's Dispatches programme on Monday.

A hidden camera installed by a reporter at a school in Birmingham recorded a preacher telling pupils "the disbelievers are the worst creatures, they are the worst creatures".

Where did he get this idea from?

"Lo! those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings." (Qur'an 98:6)

The Qur'an also dehumanises unbelievers as "the worst of beasts" (8:55).

The 11-year-olds are then told not to trust more liberal Muslims.

Their teacher said: "The person who's got less than a fistful of beard, then you should stay away from him the same way you should stay away from a serpent or a snake."

Another group of pupils are told in an assembly at the school: "The disbelievers, they are the worst of all people. The Hindus do, they drink piss, I've told you this. Do they have any intellect? No."

We are often told by Muslim spokesmen and apologists that the root cause of "Islamic extremism" is either poverty, lack of education or anger over British and American foreign policy. But if that's the case, why would British Muslims hate Hindus, who have not invaded Iraq or Afghanistan, and who cannot possibly be blamed for poverty amongst Muslims?

Could it be to do with the fact that, according to the Qur'an, polytheism of the kind practised by Hindus is the "most heinous" sin anyone can possibly commit (4:48)?

Only Islamophobes would say so, of course.

In more footage filmed by the programme at a mosque in Yorkshire, teenagers and a preacher are seen to be hitting younger children. Pupils as young as six or seven were caught on camera being hit and kicked by the people supposed to be looking after them.

But remember: Islam is a religion of peace.

Dr Taj Hargey, founder of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford, said: "This is totally against Islam. This is something that is deeply humiliating and shameful to Muslims to hear other Muslims describe people of other religions in such derogatory, disparaging terms."

Well, then I guess Dr Hargey must be really humiliated and ashamed of the Qur'an.

How often must this kind of thing keep happening before someone in the West starts to think that maybe this Islam thing isn't all about peace and love after all?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

If They're The Moderates...

Back in November, America's witless President "lauded Indonesia's unity between people of different faiths as as a model for Islam and the West". Indonesia is routinely portrayed by the Western media - no matter what happens there - as a "moderate" Muslim country and the most tolerant in the Islamic world.

Well, scratch that idea.

Several recent incidents have demonstrated that Indonesia is in fact a hotbed of virulent infidel-hatred and intolerance. Yesterday, thousands of angry Muslims (perhaps yet another wing of that "tiny minority of extremists" we're always hearing about) attacked three churches, a Christian orphanage and a health centre that is also Christian.

The revolt took place in Temanggung regency (Central Java), and started right in front of the town hall: first the crowd attacked the court where a trial against Richmond Bawengan Antonius, a Christian accused of proselytising and blasphemy, was being held.

Bawengan was arrested in October 2010 because during a visit to Temanggung he had distributed printed missionary material which, among other things, poked fun at some Islamic symbols. This "profanity" has cost him five years in prison at the hands of the "tolerant" Indonesian regime, but the crowd were demanding the death sentence. The violence was sparked by their dissatisfaction with the verdict.

Instead of leaving the court, the crowd started pushing, shouting provocative slogans and then destroyed the building. Hundreds of police rushed in to intervene but failed to appease the thousands of Muslims who began to march en masse to "target Christians" on the main street of the city.

Then there is the case of the Ahmadiyya, a minority Muslim sect considered heretical by the vast majority of Muslims because, among other things, they consider their sect's founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to be the final Prophet of Allah rather than Muhammad (they also, it must be noted, have a slightly more moderate, apologetic stance on jihad against unbelievers: another reason for which they have been persecuted by the orthodox).

In 2008, the Indonesian government outlawed Ahmadism, although they have denied that this is in any way intolerant. But the persecution of the Ahmadis is very real in Indonesia, and in other parts of the Islamic world, as was demonstrated recently when 1000 Muslims (obviously another tiny minority of extremists) stormed a house in West Java to stop the Ahmadis from holding worship. You can watch some footage of this below - however, be warned: it is brutally, sickeningly graphic. You will see people being killed as Muslims gleefully and mockingly run at them and bludgeon them in their heads and necks with sticks and rocks - all the while shouting "Allahu Akbar!". If you are easily upset, you may want to think twice about watching this video.

I honestly hope Barack Obama is watching it. But even then, I don't expect the slightest shred of doubt to creep into his ideologically-driven mind that there might be a problem with the religion of his childhood, or that Indonesia may not in fact be the multicultrual paradise he wants it to be. Only Islamophobes would think such things, after all.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Egypt: What The Opposition Want

Muhammad Badi', general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest and best-organised movement in the current Egyptian opposition, and the one best equipped to succeed once Mubarak steps down, or is forced out. The Obama Administration has already greenlighted the Brotherhood for a takeover in Egypt - an exceptionally stupid thing to do in light of what the group stands for. Below are extracts, translated by MEMRI, from the positions of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, as expressed by its general guide, Muhammad Badi', since his nomination in January 2010, and as set out in its proposed political platform, which was drafted in the era of Badi's predecessor, Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef, and was leaked to the media in August 2007. And bear in mind as you read these the broad support for the Brotherhood's positions - in all their ugly glory - amongst the ordinary Egyptian populace.

Muhammad Badi:

"The Soviet Union fell dramatically, but the factors that will lead to the collapse of the U.S. are much more powerful than those that led to the collapse of the Soviet empire – for a nation that does not champion moral and human values cannot lead humanity, and its wealth will not avail it once Allah has had His say, as happened with [powerful] nations in the past. The U.S. is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise..."

"Muslim leaders, Islam, to which you belong, advocates jihad as the only means for setting the Ummah's situation aright, as Allah says: 'O you believers! When you are told to go forth in Allah's way, why should you incline heavily to earth? Are you contented with this world's life instead of the hereafter?' [Koran 9:38] Our revival, majesty, and glory depend on the return to righteousness, which will only be achieved through resistance and the support of [resistance] in every way – with money, arms, information, and self[-sacrifice]..."

"The noble Koran is the constitution that sets out the laws of Islam. It is the fountainhead of all virtue and wisdom in the hearts of the believers, and it is the best [way] for the believers to become closer to Allah... The Holy Koran includes all the tenets of faith, laws of worship, principles of public good [and] legal concepts [pertaining to] this world, including duties and prohibitions, and they are for the benefit of all humanity, without distinctions of religion, [skin] color, gender, [social] status or language..."

Badi' added that the Koran must continue to be a way of life for every Muslim and his family, and that, at the state level, countries whose official religion is Islam must establish the Koran as "the basis for the constitution and the first source of legislation, the scales of justice in the courtrooms and one of the bases of the [school] curricula at all levels [of education]... All clauses of the [state] constitution which Islam and its precepts do not permit must be removed..."

And from the Brotherhood's leaked political platform:

"The authority of the shari'a will be implemented in a manner that conforms to the [will of the] nation, by means of a parliamentary majority elected in free, clean, and transparent [elections]. The legislative branch must consult with the nation's Supreme Council of Clerics, which will likewise be freely and directly elected from among the clerics, and will be completely independent of the executive branch – procedurally, financially and administratively. It will be assisted by neutral and reliable committees and advisors with knowledge and experience, including in the secular sciences. [The duty of consulting with the Supreme Council of Clerics] will also apply to the president when he wishes to implement decisions based on law and in the absence of the legislative branch. In these circumstances, the Supreme Council of Clerics decision will be final and will best serve the interests of the public."

Note that in the above section, free democratic elections will be used to facilitate the implementation of a repressive sharia state. Hence the mainstream media's and David Cameron's championing of Egyptian "pro-democracy demonstrators" is exposed as hollow and short-sighted.

There is much more at the link provided. Be sure to read it all to understand why Obama's mindless endorsement of the Brotherhood - and all other media analyses declaring the organisation to be "harmless" - will ensure that Egypt will continue to be no friend of the United States, or of universal human rights and real democracy.

Islamophobe Becomes Shi'aphobe

What a turn up for the books.

Recently a man, Roger Stockham, was arrested in Dearborn, Michigan, for attempting to blow up a mosque with fireworks. Islamic leaders quickly seized on the event to condemn the rampant "Islamophobia" prevalent among white non-Muslims in America.

But it turns out that Roger Stockham isn't a greasy Islamophobe after all. He is in fact a convert to Sunni Islam who was trying to blow up a Shi'ite mosque. According to reports, Stockham rejected his initial defense attorney because he claimed that he was a Shi'a Muslim. Stockham also speaks fluent Arabic and has quoted Qur'anic verses during interviews.

I doubt we'll be hearing back from CAIR on this any time soon.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Why David Cameron Is Right...And Wrong

Go here to read the full text of David Cameron's speech at the Munich Security Conference.

In places, the Prime Minister says some genuinely good things. His impassioned, if narrow, criticism of "state multiculturalism" is welcome, as is his basic understanding that the Islamic threat comes not just from terrorism, but from Muslim political advocates who advance the same goals as the terrorists by non-violent means:

At the furthest end are those who back terrorism to promote their ultimate goal: an entire Islamist realm, governed by an interpretation of Sharia. Move along the spectrum, and you find people who may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist worldview, including real hostility towards Western democracy and liberal values.

Cameron falls down when he makes the common claim that jihadists want to impose "an interpretation of sharia", as if there were a "moderate" school of sharia that rejects jihad against unbelievers, the execution of apostates, stoning, and sacralised discrimination against women and non-Muslims (for the record, there isn't), but on a basic level he got this part right.

Elsewhere, though, Dave gets it seriously wrong on many levels:

We have got to get to the root of the problem, and we need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of where these terrorist attacks lie. That is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism. We should be equally clear what we mean by this term, and we must distinguish it from Islam. Islam is a religion observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people. Islamist extremism is a political ideology supported by a minority.

So the Prime Minister wants us to distinguish between the Islamic ideology and the ideology of "Islamist extremism". But he defines the "true" Islamic ideology by referring to the existence of peaceful Muslims, NOT to the actual doctrinal basis of the Islamic ideology, namely the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

The Qur'an says all of the following and more:

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers...And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” (2:191-93)

“Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward.” (4:95)

“Tell those who disbelieve that if they cease (from persecution of believers) that which is past will be forgiven them; but if they return (thereto) then the example of the men of old hath already gone (before them, for a warning). And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah.” (8:38-39)

“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (9:5)

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya [non-Muslim poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (9:29)

“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth...” (9:111)

The hadith says all of the following and more:

Sahih Bukhari

“Allah's Apostle said: 'I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.” (v.1, b.2, no.25)

“Allah's Apostle was asked, 'What is the best deed?' He replied, 'To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad).' The questioner then asked, 'What is the next (in goodness)?' He replied, 'To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's Cause.'” (v.1, b.2, no.26)

Sahih Muslim

“When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them...If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them.” (b.19, no.4294)

“It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'id Khudri that the Messenger of Allah said (to him): Abu Sa'id, whoever cheerfully accepts Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion and Muhammad as his Apostle is necessarily entitled to enter Paradise. He (Abu Sa'id) wondered at it and said: Messenger of Allah, repeat it for me. He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa'id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!” (b.20, no.4645)

This is the "Islamic ideology". If it sounds to you exactly like an "extremist" ideology, then you will instantly understand where Cameron has gone wrong.

Cameron also errs when he makes a separation between Islamic religious and political ideology. In actual fact, Islam is both a religion and a political system. Witness the writings of Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi (d.1979), one of the most influential Muslim thinkers of the twentieth century. Maududi believed that “Islam is a revolutionary ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals.” Specifically, “Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a State on the basis of its own ideology and programme”. Maududi taught that “Islam is not merely a religious creed or compound name for a few forms of worship, but a comprehensive system which envisages to annihilate all tyrannical and evil systems in the world and enforces its own programme of reform which it deems best for the well-being of mankind.” Muslims must wage jihad against unbelievers, the purpose of which “is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of State rule.”

Was Maududi just an "Islamist extremist"? Cameron might say so, but this understanding of Islam as a "total way of life" that encompasses both the spiritual and the political enjoys widespread acceptance throughout the Islamic world, as I explained here. So my point is that when the Prime Minister tries to claim that "political Islam" exists on its own as a separate entity to "real Islam", he is making a crippling mistake that prevents us getting to the root of the problem. The existence of Muslims around the world who do not practise political Islam does not make the teachings of Muhammad and the Qur'an, as well as fourteen centuries of tradition and deeply entrenched societal attitudes, go away.

Cameron's ignorance shows up again a little further on in the speech:

This highlights, I think, a significant problem when discussing the terrorist threat that we face. There is so much muddled thinking about this whole issue. On the one hand, those on the hard right ignore this distinction between Islam and Islamist extremism, and just say that Islam and the West are irreconcilable – that there is a clash of civilizations. So, it follows: we should cut ourselves off from this religion, whether that is through forced repatriation, favoured by some fascists, or the banning of new mosques, as is suggested in some parts of Europe . These people fuel Islamophobia, and I completely reject their argument. If they want an example of how Western values and Islam can be entirely compatible, they should look at what’s happened in the past few weeks on the streets of Tunis and Cairo : hundreds of thousands of people demanding the universal right to free elections and democracy.

The point is this: the ideology of extremism is the problem; Islam emphatically is not.

What Dave fails to grasp is that democracy is only as good as the values of its participants. And in the case of Egypt in particular, it is very clear that there is widespread support for violent, draconian sharia punishments among the Muslim masses. Participation in free elections is relatively meaningless without the elected parties being willing and able to provide genuine freedom and equality to the citizens they govern. Again, if Cameron knew anything about Islam and sharia law, he would have to admit that Islam itself is the problem, because its values and its assumptions about the nature of freedom, governance, equality and human rights are markedly different from our own.

Take, for instance, some of the values he delineates further on, during his explanation of the minimum requirements for cooperation with British Muslim organisations:

So we should properly judge these organisations: do they believe in universal human rights – including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separation?

Islam denies equality of rights to women and to non-Muslims. Furthermore, the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam sets itself up as an alternative to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and states explicitly in many places that all human rights are subject to the dictates of sharia law. In summary, the result is that Islamic concepts of human rights violate the actual human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience across the board.

So yes, Mr Cameron, Islam empatically is the problem. It is a very serious problem that will persist all the while our political leaders continue to make half-formed assumptions about its character and origins.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

What Sort Of Revolution In Egypt?

As the chaos in Egypt rumbles on, there are those in the media who appear hopeful that the revolution we are now witnessing will lead to an ill-defined, flowering "democracy" in the region.

While the Mubarak regime is indeed oppressive, is the opposition really capable of producing the kind of truly free state that some people think it can? I see no reason to believe so. Some analysts have shrugged off the suggestion that this is an Islamic Revolution, citing many secular justifications made by protestors for their actions, and pointing out that hardline Islamic groups have not been front and centre during these demonstrations.

And yet, as far as I can see, the opposition really has no organised centre or figurehead. Mohamed ElBaradei, the media's darling of the moment, is a nobody who has barely set foot inside Egypt during the last 20 years. The only group that has any kind of significant following at all is the Muslim Brotherhood, described at as "the most important representative of the Egyptian masses" today. The Brotherhood, as Kamal El-Helbawy, a member and former spokesman affirmed recently, would seek to implement sharia law in Egypt if it took power, as long as "the majority of the people and democratic practice allows it". Despite his further equivications, this would be a very, very bad thing, since no version of sharia exists which actually promotes the real freedom and equality necessary to govern a true democracy.

And would the majority of the Egyptian people allow sharia law to take hold? There is plenty of evidence to suggest so. Widespread popular support for the Brotherhood can be viewed in conjunction with the fact that a 2007 of Maryland survey found that of a representative sample of 1000 Egyptian Muslims, at least 50% and as many as 74% expressed a desire to implement "strict" Islamic law in every Muslim country. These findings are backed up by the results of a study by another respected polling organisation, the Pew Research Centre, who found that "At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan say they would favor making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion."

What we can draw from this is that even if the majority of Egypt's Muslims don't have any specific urge to get the Muslim Brotherhood into power, if such a thing was to happen (which seems inevitable eventually given the paucity of any other organised opposition to the current regime), they would have no problem at all living with it. Such an outcome would, of course, be detrimental to women and non-Muslims, and would render Egypt an enemy of Western democracies, since we cannot coexist in friendship alongside countries whose core values so drastically contravene universal standards of human rights (Egypt is bad enough already in this regard).

The long and short of it is this: It is true that the opposition protests in the country are not primarily religious in character right now. But then, neither was the Iranian Revolution to begin with. While what we are witnessing did not begin as an Islamic Revolution, I believe that it will end up as one. Time will tell.