Monday, 30 November 2015

Demonisation Trumps The Truth

FrontPage today carries a thoughtful and incisive article by author Danusha Goska, discussing the recent controversy surrounding Donald Trump's remarks that "thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey were seen celebrating the 9/11 jihad terror attacks in 2001.

While the exact number was apparently an exaggeration, the fact remains that regardless of the criticism, numerous people maintain that they witnessed these Muslim celebrations with their own eyes.

Whether it was the original Washington Times article published a week after the attacks, which revealed that "In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners' plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river," or the numerous eyewitness accounts, or the retired FBI operative who insists that "stacks and stacks" of calls were made by members of the American public complaining about such celebrations - so many that somebody labelled them "Happy Muslim Calls" - people are not backing down about this. They say they saw this happen, and there is no reason to disbelieve them.

Goska's piece rightly criticises Kim LaCapria of Snopes for her role in demonising those who have the temerity to tell us what they witnessed. Snopes used to be a useful resource for people wanting to get to the bottom of urban legends, but these days it seems to be almost entirely run by LaCapria, a Leftist "New York-based content manager" with an agenda.

Goska also cites numerous trustworthy eyewitnesses, including one who said: "I stopped for gas in Belleville immediately after the second fall and there were two men in the station cheering at the TV coverage as if they were watching the Super Bowl and their team was winning." She then adds:

Occam's Razor suggests that when numerous people, using their first and last names in a public forum, and providing concrete details that can be checked, all provide similar accounts of public behavior, chances are they are telling the truth. It is possible that all of these people, as Kim LaCapria suggests, are suffering from false memory syndrome, or are all attempting to whip up murderous hatred against Muslims, as Benjamin Wittes accuses, but neither LaCapria nor Wittes provides any support for their smears... 
[T]hose who insist that they witnessed Muslim celebrations have nothing to gain by making these statements publicly, and everything to lose...They are average New Jerseyans simply telling the truth in the face of a wave of censorship and demonization that could cost them their friends or their jobs.

It seems to me to be entirely plausible that some Muslims in New Jersey - as well, as undoubtedly, elsewhere in America - did indeed celebrate the 9/11 attacks...if not overtly, then privately. Years and years of polling data showing, again and again, that Muslims around the world support terrorism in droves suggests that it is more unlikely to be otherwise. But those vilifying Trump for his admittedly clumsy statements are deliberately ensuring that we do not have the conversation about precisely how many Muslims we might be dealing with here.

That will do no one any good, except for the terrorists.

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."

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

BBC Shills For Inaction On Jihad Terror

So we already know that the Independent is pretty disgraceful, but let's not forget that the broadcaster we are all forced to pay for is not much better, either.

Today it has been publicising a report by the laughably named Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), claiming that "Government policies, including those linked to security and extremism, are having a 'negative impact' on British Muslims." It notes that according to the new report, 59% of respondents to the IHRC whined that unspecified "political policies" had negatively impacted their lives.

The piece comes without any criticism or opposing voice at all, except for a proforma Home Office statement right at the end, and also makes no mention of the fact this same "human rights group" earlier this year disgustingly named the murdered staff of Charlie Hebdo - who were killed by devout Islamic jihadis following Islam's totalitarian blasphemy law - as "International Islamophobe of the Year".

Essentially this BBC piece boils down to propaganda promoting inaction. It never seems to strike anybody as strange that with the possible exception of the Quilliam Foundation, mainstream Muslim groups have never, ever seen a counter-terrorism strategy or policy that doesn't "alienate Muslims" or somehow provoke Muslims into committing more terrorism. We therefore are left with no option but to do nothing at all about the threat of Islamic terror, or else implement insanely vague policies against "extremism" of all kinds, which leave the violent, fascist ideology that fuels the jihad essentially unchallenged, and demonises those who do try to challenge it.

Come to think of it, that's sort of how it works already.

And so once again our mainstream media attempts to beguile the public into thinking that there is something wrong with opposing Islamic terrorism, and promotes the views of those who seem suspiciously bent on ensuring that we do nothing about it, which will only allow it to flourish further.

It's almost treason.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A Response to The Independent

The Independent is the UK's most sickeningly pro-Islam, anti-British news outlet - and in a field containing the Guardian, Sky News and the BBC, that's saying quite a lot.

A couple of days ago, it was claiming that the "Prophet" Muhammad had "British values", and that we should thus teach more Islam in our schools.

The following day, it published shoddy propaganda of the most unbelievably egregious variety.

The piece, by Hanna Yusuf, attempted to debunk five "ridiculous misconceptions" about Muslims which apparently circulate in Britain today. Many of them would indeed be quite ridiculous...if anybody actually held to them. Most of the article is simply one massive straw man.

This begins in the introduction, which claims:

According to far-right groups like Britain First, Muslims hate poppies. Their claim comes after a few individuals, who are widely condemned in the Muslim community, criticised the poppy on the basis that it constitutes an endorsement of wars in the Middle East. 
What far-right groups fail to mention, however, is that many Muslim soldiers have died fighting for the British army, and many Muslim citizens make an active effort to remember the war dead.

I am not a supporter of Britain First, but I do not believe that they have ever made the broad claim that "Muslims hate poppies", which would imply a shared attitude held by every single one in the country, or indeed the world. I have never, ever heard anyone, not even genuine "far-right extremists", claim that all Muslims do or believe anything. I would imagine that all Britain First has done is point out that some Muslims are disrespectful toward the poppy, and express disapproval of this position. Regardless of what else they say, that is hardly unfair or untrue.

The entire article continues in this same vein. Let's look at each claim one by one.

1. "Muslims hate the West" 
Being Muslim and a Westerner aren’t mutually exclusive. Many people in Britain identify as Western Muslims. In fact, this article has been written by one. According to a survey by Gallup in 2009, the proportion of Muslims who identify with Britain is higher than that of the general population. It found that 77 per cent of Muslims identify with Britain, compared to 50 per cent of the population. At the time, Muhammad Yunus, a senior analyst at Gallup, said: “British Muslims are more likely to identify strongly with their nation, and to express stronger confidence in its democratic institutions, while maintaining a high degree of religious identity”.

First of all, nobody anywhere has made the generic claim that "Muslims hate the West", as if all 1.6 billion of them think in exactly the same way. That's just one of many straw men to come.

Secondly, I don't know whether the statistics given by Yusuf are accurate, but the involvement of Gallup and Dalia Mogahed in the promotion of the study she cites calls into question its validity, as Mogahed has a proven track record of manipulating and misrepresenting polling data on Muslim attitudes in order to artificially increase the number of moderates. But even if they are correct, such results must be counterbalanced with other statistics showing that alarming numbers of British Muslims support sharia and other extremist positions. "Identifying with Britain" is a maddeningly vague term that could mean almost anything, and it doesn't take away the worrying questions posed by the other statistics I have discussed here in the past.

2. “Muslims are taking over” 
Muslims make up 4 per cent of the total population in the UK. This means that even if all of its Muslims came together in London, they would make up a quarter of the capital’s total population. Even if Muslims wanted to, they wouldn’t be able to "take over" one city, let alone an entire nation.  
And no, despite some reports, Muhammad is not the "most popular" boys’ name in Britain. This result was based on a sample of names entered by 56,157 members of (less than 0.009 per cent of the population). Figures by official bodies, such as the General Register Office for Scotland, showed that Muhammad is actually the 52nd most popular name in Scotland, and the 15th in England and Wales.

Muslims might not be a majority in the UK, or even close to one, but if anyone has a perception that they are "taking over", it is likely due to the increasing influence of sharia law within British society, and the observation that certain Muslim leaders have stated their express intention to "take over" Europe at some point in the future.

Also, contrary to the Indy's spin, Muhammad is the most popular boy's name in the UK - not just according to an obscure website, but according to the Office of National Statistics - and only appears otherwise at first glance because the various alternative spellings of the name are not taken into account and grouped together as one name.

3. “Muslims hate Jesus” 
Jesus (peace be upon him) is a key figure in Islam. Muslims believe that he is the son of the Virgin Mary, and one of the greatest messengers of God. There are many verses in the Koran that highlight his good character. Not only do Muslims sincerely love him, but he is also seen as a paragon of virtue.

Aside from the fact that in Islam, Jesus is a Muslim who is prophesied to destroy Christianity, this entire point is a straw man and irrelevant. It has been included purely for proselytisation purposes.

4. “Muslim women have no rights/are oppressed” 
There’s often a conflation between Islam as a religion and the cultures of some Muslim-majority countries. Like a lot of non-Muslim countries, in some majority Muslim countries patriarchy is a huge problem, but what people usually fail to mention is how many Muslims are at the forefront of the battle against it. Only last year, Masih Alinejad, an Iranian writer and activist, launched a movement called My Stealthy Freedom. The campaign encouraged Iranian women to take photos without their headscarves, to protest against the restrictive policies implemented by the Iranian government. Women in Morocco also protested outside their parliament last year to pressure the government into repealing a rape-marriage law. The law was later amended. 
It is also worth noting that four out of five countries with the largest Muslim populations (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey) have had female heads of states. Out of its 44 presidents, the US, otherwise known as the “land of the free”, has only ever had first ladies. As for us in the UK, the Tories don’t miss an opportunity to remind us of that one time we had a female Prime Minister. But by the looks of the male-female ratio in the current cabinet, there’s a slim chance of that happening again (even if Theresa May – the only female contender deemed plausible – does run against George Osborne and Boris Johnson in 2020).

The claim that the mistreatment of women in Muslim countries is "cultural" and not religious is a common and lazy excuse that ignores the evidence of mainstream Islamic teaching, as well as the reality that Muslim countries have repeatedly been found to be the worst countries in the world for women. A 2011 survey concluded that in terms of cultural, tribal, and religious persecution, four of the five most dangerous countries in the world for women are Muslim countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan. These results are confirmed by a 2014 study by the World Economic Forum which listed nineteen Muslim countries among its twenty lowest scorers in its global gender gap index, indicating a severe lack of equality between men and women in these societies. If Islam promotes female equality and empowerment, why is it so hard to find any Muslim countries that implement this?

The cheap shot about the lack of female heads of state in the UK and US also ignores the fact that there are many more non-Muslim countries that have had elected female heads of state than Muslim ones, and that their existence in Muslim countries directly contradicts the teachings of Muhammad himself as articulated in the Islamic traditions: "When the Prophet heard the news that the people of the Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler), he said, 'Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler.'" (Sahih Bukhari v.9, b.88, no.219)

5. “The Koran promotes violence” 
I won’t start with the old “context is key” argument when it comes to the widely cherry-picked verses in the Koran. Instead I’ll give an example of a certified, unambiguous verse that can be understood without any context. Verse 6:151 in the Quran says, “do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct”. In other words, murder is wrong. In addition to the many verses condemning violence and murder, there are verses that condemn those who selectively pick parts of the Quran to serve their own agenda. So anyone who purports that the Koran condones violence is not only misinterpreting but is also probably being dishonest.

This one is just too easy. Anyone who wants proof that the Qur'an and Islamic tradition not only condones, but promotes violence, even with all "context" considered, can go here and here and see it for themselves. I have discussed it many times and am not going to rehash it all here.

As for the verse Yusuf quotes here, it is clear that its orthodox interpretation is that the Qur'an is only telling Muslims not to kill specific people whose lives have been made "sacred" - and even they can be killed in certain circumstances.

Ibn Kathir - a mainstream, respected scholar and Qur'anic commentator - contextualises this verse by explaining whose lives are considered "sacred" in Islam, and whose aren't. He quotes the following hadith in which Muhammad says: “The blood of a Muslim [emphasis added] who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas [recompense] for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse [i.e. an adulterer] and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.” (Bukhari v.9, b.83, no.17)

So Muslims can't be killed except if they kill someone else, choose to have sex outside marriage, or exercise their freedom of conscience and leave Islam. Ibn Kathir also adds that non-Muslims shouldn't be killed either, as long as they are protected by the treaty of dhimmitude. Otherwise they can be killed, in line with the Qur'an's mandate to "slay the idolaters wherever you find them" (9:5).

In summary, this Independent article is nothing more than shockingly inept propaganda designed to stop people from believing the evidence of their own eyes, and deflect all criticism of Islam by presenting the critics as ignorant yahoos who think that "all Muslims" believe the same thing.

In the introduction to her piece, Yusuf laments that "Muslims have become susceptible to all kinds of willfully dishonest claims." Indeed they have - and she is one of them. But I don't think that's what she meant when she wrote this.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

BBC Publishes Anti-Sikh Jokes; But Is Still Terrified Of Offending Muslims

Yesterday, the BBC published an article about a woman in India, Harvinder Chowdhury, who wants the Indian government to ban jokes which make fun of Sikhs. Apparently, such jokes have become a bit of a cottage industry in the mostly Hindu country now, with Sikhs regularly depicted in the same way the Irishman is depicted in English jokes: i.e. as "unintelligent, stupid, idiot, foolish naive, inept, not well versed with English language and as symbols of stupidity and foolishness".

I do not think such jokes should be banned. They are part of living in a free society, and I believe Harvinder Chowdhury should just ignore them if she doesn't like them. But what is notable is the flippancy with which the BBC covers the subject, referring to the jokes at one point as just "harmless fun", and even publishing at least seven or eight of them directly within the article so that we can see what all the fuss is about.

Now, doesn't it strike you as contradictory that they behave this way with jokes about Sikhs, but that they have never illustrated an article about cartoons of Muhammad by publishing the cartoons themselves for us all to see? Indeed, the Beeb once devoted a lengthy article to simply explaining what each of the 2005 Jyllands-Posten cartoons looked like, without actually showing any of them, and referred to them variously as "supposedly humorous", "deliberately provocative" and "controversial".

Why the difference in approach? An answer has just been sent in to me here at Eye On Islam by my former BBC correspondent who calls himself "Charlie" from Paris, France.

For that matter, put aside the cartoons for a moment. Does anyone seriously think that if this article had been about anti-Muslim jokes, instead of anti-Sikh ones, that the BBC would have been so casual about it, and would have even published a laundry list of examples for Muslims to get all riled over all over again?

Most people, whatever their stance on Islam, know the answer to that question, but not everyone is apparently willing to consider its implications: namely, that terrorism apparently works, and that if one group of people bullies and threatens, and engages in violent, fascist thuggery, we will cave into the thuggery, and do whatever the bullies want us to do.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Islam's Mafia-Like Jizya Tax Reaches UK Prisons

Non-Muslim inmates in several of Britain's category A prisons are being forced to pay a "protection tax", known as jizya, to radical Muslim prisoners out of fear of facing violence, according to a team of government investigators appointed by justice secretary Michael Gove last August to establish the threat posed by Islamic extremists in prisons.

In a statement of astonishing ignorance, one Whitehall source told the Sunday Times that the tax may have been inspired by the actions of ISIS, who are well known to demand jizya from non-Muslims living in Syria and Iraq.

In actual fact, as even the usually hapless Daily Mail makes clear, they were inspired not just by ISIS, but by the Qur'an.

The jizya derives from the following verse of the Qur'an: “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)

The consensus view of the jizya in Islamic law is that it is a tax paid in lieu of being killed  – in other words, if the dhimmis (as those non-Muslims who "feel themselves subdued" under Islamic law are called) pay the jizya, then the Muslims promise not to kill them or take their property. The jurist al-Mawardi explained that the unbelievers “offer money in exchange for peace and cordial relations.” Payment is made annually and “should ensure a steady peace”. If the dhimmis refuse to pay the tax, “the peace no longer holds, the amnesty is lifted, and they are to be fought like the rest of the infidels.” Collection of the jizya is, in short, a form of blackmail comparable to Mafia protection money.

Jewish, Coptic, Syriac, Armenian and Serbian sources provide evidence that the jizya and the kharaj (a land tax often synonymous with jizya) were historically collected from children, widows, orphans, and even the dead. Tax collectors were accompanied by soldiers and inspectors, who all had to be lodged and fed for several days at the taxpayers' expense. Sometimes punishment and torture were used, although this was technically prohibited. All over the Muslim world, such brutal persecution forced many dhimmis to abandon their homes and become either exiles or slaves. Many also converted to Islam to spare themselves from the burden of the jizya, since once they became Muslims they did not have to pay it.

These phenomena are now being observed here in Britain. And in the words of Steve Gillan, general secretary of the prison officers’ association, "There is a massive issue about radicalisation and extremism and, to be fair, the prison service is trying to address it...Will it go away? No. I think the assumption is that it will get worse."

Import large amounts of Muslims into your country, and they start actually practising Islam in your country. Who would have guessed?