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Yet another complete non meeting of minds

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, has given an interview to the Telegraph which neatly puts on display the vast cultural gulf and complete lack of understanding on the Muslim side when they discuss how Muslim and Western cultures can learn from each other. Dr. Bari says…

“Terrorists are terrorists, they may use religion but we shouldn’t say Muslim terrorists, it stigmatises the whole community. We never called the IRA Catholic terrorists.”

The various global franchisees of Al Qaeda do the things they do precisely because of their interpretation of the values and imperatives of Islam. They are motivated 99% by religion and therefore they can only be correctly described as Muslim or Islamic terrorists. Describing them as ‘Asian’ as the BBC often does (as in “two Asian men were arrested today and held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act…”) is a grotesque bit of racism, because their race and ethnicity is utterly irrelevant to why they were arrested. They were arrested because they are suspected Muslim terrorists, not Asian terrorists.

The IRA on the other hand was a secular Marxist Irish nationalist paramilitary organisation that just happened to be drawn from the Catholic community. What they were not doing was trying impose Catholicism on anyone. They were trying to end British sovereignty in Ulster and make Ulster part of the Irish Republic, hence they were called ‘Republican’ terrorists…Being a Catholic but supporting the Union still made you an enemy of the IRA, as many people found to their cost. This is also why opposing paramilitary outfits like the UDA were usually called ‘Loyalists’ paramilitaries rather than ‘Protestant’. If anyone seriously thinks the Troubles in Ireland were a religious conflict, they have clearly not been paying attention. That Dr. Bari did not bother to figure this out suggests to me that like so many of his ilk, he cannot see the world through anything other than the distorting lens of religion.

Sir Salman Rushdie should never have been knighted, he says. “He caused a huge amount of distress and discordance with his book, it should have been pulped.”

The ‘Satanic Verses’ should have been pulped by whom? I assume Dr. Bari means the State, in order to prevent ‘distress and discordance’. So if a large number of non-Muslim British people find the Koran causes them “distress and discordance”, as well it might, is Dr. Bari really wise to want the State to take upon itself the role of pulping books in order to sooth people’s distress and prevent discord?

According to a recent report by the Policy Exchange think-tank, the bookshop at the east London Mosque, which Dr Bari chairs, stocks extremist literature.

“The bookshops are independent businesses,” he says. “We can’t just go in and tell them what to sell … I will see what books they keep, if they have one book which looks like it is inciting hatred, do they have counter books on the same shelf?”

So he wants Rushdie’s book pulped but is quite sanguine about Islamic books calling for violence and hatred just so long as contrary Islamic views are also available. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others, eh Dr. Bari?

He says we should look favourably upon arranged marriages and learn from Islam by become less overtly sexual and more modest. Why exactly? I met many Bosnian ‘Muslims’ who had learned quite the opposite lesson and saw no reason not to wear miniskirts and enjoy their sexuality rather than becoming psycho-sexual cripples.

But when I read this bit, it became clear to me that Dr. Bari was not merely well meaning but wrong:

Is stoning ever justified? “It depends what sort of stoning and what circumstances,” he replies. “When our prophet talked about stoning for adultery he said there should be four [witnesses] – in realistic terms that’s impossible. It’s a metaphor for disapproval.”

I see…

woman_stoned_to_death.jpg

Don’t worry, dear, what we are about to do to you is just a metaphor

It is pictures like that which fill my mind with homicidal rage. The Muslims depicted partially burying this Muslim woman, in preparation for her being stoned to death in accordance with the Koran, all deserve nothing less than a bullet in their brains, to be put down like rabid dogs. And when I hear people like Dr. Bari describing this practice as a “metaphor for disapproval” rather than a method of theocratic execution, my feelings towards him move from mere disagreement into transcendent loathing. Take a moment and really look at that fucking picture because that actually is how it is done: the victim is partially buried and then battered to death by having rocks thrown or dumped on them. According to Dr. Bari, if there were four witnesses, that is perfectly okay then. Try getting your head around that.

And so when a man who cannot bring himself to unequivocally condemn such barbarity tells us that we have anything whatsoever to learn from what he sees as Islam, it would be fair to say “I do not think so”. As I discovered in Bosnia in the 1990’s, being a Muslim and accepting the norms of western post-Enlightenment civilisation is entirely possible… ‘Muslim’ becomes more of an ethnic identity rather than a religious one, in which you just have to ignore large chunks of the Koran or ‘interpret’ them into something harmless (and face it, there are parts of the Old Testament most Christians prefer to gloss over too). The key is that the Bosnian Muslims became more and more secular (i.e. less religious), more western, the west did not become more like them.

That said I am sure you can be a practising Muslim and still embrace western modernity. I would be astounded if Tory MEP Syed Kamall, who is well and truly on the libertarian wing of his party, would have any problem whatsoever condemning stoning as a barbarous throwback regardless of how many witnesses there were to a woman’s infidelity. People like Syed have simply grafted many of the best bits of the European enlightenment onto their religion and as a result made themselves wholly compatible with any pluralistic tolerant society. Is it still Islam? Well I am sure Syed would say it is and I have no reason to doubt him.

But sadly the Pakistani and Saudi flavour of Islam that Dr. Bari is part of have done nothing of the sort and show no signs they actually want to embrace modernity at all. Their notions of Islam, which is clearly the most evangelical version of the religion, is a toxic political and philosophical creed that is simply incompatible with liberal modernity and Dr. Bari’s equivocation about stoning people to death tells you everything you need to know about where he is coming from intellectually.

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59 comments to Yet another complete non meeting of minds

  • Julie in Chicago

    Excellent piece. Especially the points about the IRA. Thank you.

  • Julie in Chicago

    Perry,

    I would very much like to cross-post this to the Individual-Sovereignty Yahoo group. But “Creative Commons License” notwithstanding, I would like your permission to do so, since this is clearly not a casually-written, off-the-cuff piece.

    Thanks,

    Julie

  • Sure… but Creative Commons License really does say it all 🙂

  • countingcats

    Perry,

    I don’t have time to hunt the links right now, but a couple of weeks ago that picture was exposed as a frame from a movie, not an actual event.

  • countingcats

    there are parts of the Old Testament most Christians prefer to gloss over too

    The Old Testament is, in Christian terms, a historical document, not a moral guide.

    The later revelation of the New Testament supersedes the Old and makes its rules and strictures, where they conflict with the message of Christ, irrelevant.

  • countingcats: I have no knowledge of the specific picture’s provenance, the fact remains that stoning to death does indeed happen in the Muslim world, in the 21st century, and it usually involved half burying the victim as shown, so I do not really care if that image is or or not genuine.

  • The later revelation of the New Testament supersedes the Old and makes its rules and strictures, where they conflict with the message of Christ, irrelevant.

    From the perspective of a former Christian who is now a resolute non-believer, that is a questionable proposition to say the least. But frankly as a non-believer I am happy to leave the complex logical constructs justifying religious faith to those who actually think it matters (i.e. I no longer have a dog in that fight).

  • countingcats

    the fact remains that stoning to death does indeed happen in the Muslim world, in the 21st century

    This one, I don’t believe was staged.

    http://www.apostatesofislam.com/media/stoning.htm

    I think we can safely say that there were four witnesses. Doesn’t seem hard to gather that many bloodthirsty religious maniacs together. Especially ones who like to hurt women.

    This as well –

    http://www.aina.org/news/20070425181603.htm

    I no longer have a dog in that fight

    Well, I don’t really have one either, but I still argue against the moral equivalence of Islam vs Christianity. I wish to be able to fight my enemies regardless of the field they choose.

    If someone objects to that photo as a fake, then try a video of the vicious and foul reality.

  • Jon

    Picture is from an obscure Dutch film. LGF talk about it here (Link)

    Still doesn’t take anything away from the rest of the article.

  • Freefire

    The various global franchisees of Al Qaeda do the things they do precisely because of their interpretation of the values and imperatives of Islam. They are motivated 99% by religion and therefore they can only be correctly described as Muslim or Islamic terrorists.

    More precisely, they do it in the name of Islam. One can always argue about / speculate about reasons why people do things, their aims/motivations etc.. But if someone does a terrorist act in the name of some particular philosophy/cause/theory X (whatever incidental things they also say), then there’s no argument – a correct ascription is that they are X-type terrorists.

    As regard’s “tainting” the reputation of others who profess to believe in X – this presupposes prejudice on the part of anyone judging those others.

  • Well, I don’t really have one either, but I still argue against the moral equivalence of Islam vs Christianity.

    I don’t really think they are equivalent. By dint of sheer antiquity adherents of Judaism have the advantage of a tradition that has generally managed to think its way past the ‘unfortunate’ bits of their ancient texts and Christianity has the New Testament, which to an objective outsider would appear to relate to a completely different God. Islam has neither of those things (for the most part). However when you base your moral views on old documents purporting to relate to the Word of God (or even be dictated by God), there are going to be some sticky issues all religions find they have in common when using them to square various circles.

  • Nick M

    For many years there was a war in Northern Ireland. The two sides generally identified themselves as being either Protestant or Catholic. This was rightly treated by the 2 billion+ Homo Sapiens Sapiens who called themselves either Protestant or Catholic as being a local issue which wasn’t fundamentally a continuance of the Reformation or indeed the counter-Reformation or anything whatsoever to do with religion really. Italian Catholics didn’t kill Swedish Lutherans over it and Cardinal Basil Hume didn’t have a brawl with Archbishop Robert Runcie.

    So what makes Palestine so fucking special then? I couldn’t give a monkey’s cuss about Gaza but umpty million Muslims are prepared to make my life hell if I get on a plane because they’re pissed off about Palestine. They’re going to throw their toys out of the pram because some Jews moved in next door and they want the entire fucking Islamic World to join ’em. We take this seriously? We do don’t we?

    We don’t turn a local Christian issue into a fucking global sodding jihad yet we allow a couple of million morons to regularly get more news time than the whole of India!

    A bunch of malcontent doleys in a shit-hole of their own making have made themselves into a global cause? heavens to fucking Mergotroid!

    There is much righteous ire on this site aimed at “entitlement programs” but Palestine is an entire country on the rock and roll… Perhaps if the dumb fucks had to work for a living rather than living off the largesse of the EU and the Gulf (since when was this Europe’s problem or the Gulfs?) they’d be less inclined to shoot rockets at Israel or torch the EU consulate.

    Not only is it a global cause, it’s a fucking fashion statement. There are loads of dimwitted fucks in Manchester wearing keffiyehs (or peace scarves as they prefer to be known). I’m going to get an IAF jacket and basically fuck ’em.

    Fuck ’em to fuck and back then fuck ’em again. If agnostic Nick M refused to employ a woman of knock-up-able age because she might get knocked-up I’d be pilloried. Yet we have to put up with leftist atheists passing over muslims being utterly beastly to women because it’s their religion. Oh do behave! I have been dragged over the coals for calling Sir Elton John a whinging queen yet I guess it would be OK to throw the bugger from a mountain-top if my religion (which obviously I have no choice in) said so. I’d just be being culturally authentic now wouldn’t I?

    Wherever Islam touches the rest of the world there is ructions. They just can’t fucking help themselves. Why they can’t just drink beer and fornicate like the rest of the world is utterly beyond me.

    Having said that I do know exactly what Perry means about Bosnian muslims. I met a few Malaysian ones in the early 90s and they were very similar. Not nutters at all.

  • The Snark Who Was Really a Boojum

    Percy: “I have no knowledge of the specific picture’s provenance, the fact remains that stoning to death does indeed happen in the Muslim world, in the 21st century, and it usually involved half burying the victim as shown, so I do not really care if that image is or or not genuine.”

    Jon: “Picture is from an obscure Dutch film. LGF talk about it here (Link)

    Still doesn’t take anything away from the rest of the article.”

    Guys,
    I have to disagree. “Fake but accurate” as a response (Which is the sense I was getting from your words) is something that would’ve put you in the same league as the unlamented Dan Rather. As it is, the interest I had in Percy’s post because it seemed to be confirmation of my memories of the IRA as a Marxist outfit (I’m putting together some stuff on the history of Leftist terrorism from the 1890s to the present day) kinda took a nosedive because I’m not sure how far I should trust that one either. ^_^;

    Meh. Back to the Google Mines! ^_~

  • Sharky

    It is pictures like that which fill my mind with homicidal rage. The Muslims depicted partially burying this Muslim woman, in preparation for her being stoned to death in accordance with the Koran, all deserve nothing less than a bullet in their brains, to be put down like rabid dogs.

    You get filled with homicidal rage after looking at a frame from a fictional film? How embarrassing for you. Violence inspired by fictional sources — reminds me of Osama in his cave, reading his Koran and plotting attacks.

  • guy herbert

    I’d like to differ a little bit.

    I think it is fair to call the Islamists Muslims, since that’s how they think of themselves, and the pretext on which they pursue their campaigns of violence. (Though I’m inclined to think that the desire for ungoverned violence is the motivation for their interpretation of religion, rather than the other way around.) I do object to the phrase ‘Muslim terrorists’ outside application to a particular case because I don’t like either limb. Both words are drained of meaning by it, and the habitual yoking together produces a third meaning.

    Thus I agree with Bari to the extent that the cliché does start to create an equivalence of Muslims (rather than Islam) and terrorists (in the woolly popular understanding of the word), that that currency is highly undesirable, and that it will encourage some Muslims to adopt the persona, in countersupport (witness this idiot)). Where I depart from him is his repulsive contention that this is equivalent to the antisemitic persecutions of the Jews, or that the cure for characterising Muslims as terrorists is for there to be a public cult of ‘respect’ for Islam as he understands Islam.

    For a believer in mediaeval theocratic tradition, he is thoroughly postmodern in his assertion of the virtue of victimhood. But then, fundamentalists are less the conservatives they pretent than creative reactionaries, at war with modernity. There he is in accord with less peaceful Islamists.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Great post, Perry.

    I read the Telegraph interview; the writers of the piece were rather clever; they obviously did not probe his views very hard and as a result, the man felt confident enough to come out with what he really thinks.

  • countingcats

    “Fake but accurate”

    I have got to agree with The Snark on this one (haven’t I seen a Bellman here on occasion?)

    If anyone cares to remember any previous comments I’ve made, I yield to none in my contempt for the hypocrisy, intolerance and sheer evil of the acts carried out in the name of the 7thC kiddie fiddling, mass murdering brigand. However, like any and every other intellectual position, I have to rely on demonstrable fact in order to support my position. Amongst other issues, exposure of falsity by opponents will weaken my argument.

    In this case, falsity is unnecessary. There is enough reality out there to make it unnecessary, just look at the foul video I linked to earlier. “Allahu Akbar”, these brave men cry as they batter to death these helpless women.

  • countingcats

    BTW, I didn’t say – Great post. You demonstrate (again) that logic and consistency don’t come across as major components of Islamic theological training.

    I would love to see some of these guys up against Jesuits.

  • Nick M

    The fundamental flaw in the position of Dr Bari (and many of his fellow travellers) is to demand respect. It’s like demanding to be loved, it’s is not something you can or should demand. Dr Bari can perhaps demand toleration and try and earn respect but to demand people respect you ab initio without having done anything to deserve that is bizarre. It’s arrogant of course but it’s also very bizarre.

    During the Motoons of Doom fiasco a recurring theme was that Islamic law respects Jesus Christ so the West shouldn’t dis Muhammed… Have these folks ever set foot in the West? Have they never seen “Piss Christ” or a Jesus Buddy dashboard ornament? And frankly having this sort of odd settlement where we respect their prophet and they respect ours is of absolutely no interest to an agnostic like myself. What they fail to understand about the likes of me is that someone like Muhammed was (as far as I’m concerned) basically just some bloke. The muslims seemed completely disconnected from the, to everyone else, inescapable truth, that they were making complete tits out of themselves.

    There is a total logical disconnect. They demand respect and spit their dummy out at the slightest provocation. Remember the Nigerian Miss World riots?

    Counting Cats is right though. If you’re going to use material to slag them it has to be more than “fake but realistic” and there is hordes of it out there… From the Bamiyan Buddhas to Yusuf Islam calling for Salman Rushdie to be burned. But the one thing I think is most important to appreciate is that very few muslims for good or ill actually have a working knowledge of the Qu’ran. For most of them the final word of God is a collection of noises in a language as dead to them as Anglo-Saxon is to me.

    Over at Harry’s Place there are periodic bulletins from a Brit learning Arabic in Syria. It’s fascinating. There is no spoken language called “Arabic” in much the same way there isn’t a “Slavic”. Nobody speaks Modern Standard Arabic, they speak largely mutually incomprehensible dialects but unlike the Slavic example they do publish books in MSA so essentially most of the literate denizens of the Middle-East speak and read in different languages. I have no idea what that must be like but I can see it leading to some kind of fundamental disconnect. And the Qu’ran is written in something totally else.

    A Jesuit would rip them to shreds. A lad I knew at University with a PhD in Chemical Engineering threw over his academic career to become a Jesuit which takes 7 years(!?) at English College in Rome. A Jesuit would, as my Gran would’ve put it, leave the average imam with “Nothing but his eyes to weep with”.

  • Nick M

    guy,
    The lyrical terrorist eh? I noted there wasn’t a single mention of the “I” word or the “m” word in that entire BBC piece. There were references to “extremism”.

    I must respectfully disagree with you. Whether you, me or Dr Bari likes it or not these people are “Islamic terrorists” (although Ms Malik would appear to be more from the Walter Mitty end of the spectrum). They seek to achieve specifically Islamically religio-political goals and their chosen method is violence, fear and intimidation. Remember the cartoon intifada? What else would you call a collection of masked people demanding the beheading of people for insulting the prophet of Islam.

    You are right about the post-modern (or modern?) angle though. Terrorism is only really a viable tactic in a media driven world. There is definitely something post-modern about a bunch of loonies in a cave who would ban all video or TV making death threats via Al Jazzera.

  • Millie Woods

    Snark and Counting Cats stop quibbling about fake but accurate and stick to the issue. Nick M has the right idea although his mom should have threatened to wash his mouth with soap to rid him of his linguistic impoverishment way back when.
    Islamics from certain areas are a negative and destructive lot and a drag on any society they attach themselves to. Just check out the prison populations in any of the western countries Islamics have immigrated to and you will find huge over representation of Ithat element of the population.
    They contribute little that is constructive and too much that is destructive. We do not – repeat do not – need their oil and they should be told to put up with western ways or go back to what Nick M so accurately describes as their places of origin.

  • countingcats

    These guys hate modern communications technology, and want to ban it.

    Come the Caliphate, hands up all who think it would be unavailable to the top echelons.

    For most of them the final word of God is a collection of noises in a language as dead to them as Anglo-Saxon is to me.

    Only to the Arabs, who, with a lot of effort and a dictionary, can pick out meaning. For the rest it is as understandable as suomi is to me.

    Can you imagine spending your childhood learning to recite the bible in Finnish? To the exclusion of physics, maths, social studies and everything else. Including Finnish.

    Lunatic.

    Child abuse.

  • Millie: language impoverishment? I beg to differ. I happen to find Nick’s prose exceedingly rich. Maybe a bit too rich…nah.

  • Nick M

    Millie,
    My mother is actually an English teacher. You should hear my brother swear. He can curse a blue-streak nine miles long and “fuck” is mere punctuation. And old Will Shakespeare was capable of getting a bit blue at times – Hamlet’s “country pleasures” and all that…

    They contribute little that is constructive and too much that is destructive.

    Wasn’t that almost exactly what the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II Paleologos said. True then, true now. Of course they ought to put up or shut-up. The likes of Abu Hamster have kiniption fits over the existence of nightclubs and video stores in the West yet if I attempt to even enter Saudi with a Bible I’m in a world of pain. I had a conversation once with a UK muslim woman who was convinced that 9/11 was done by Dick Cheney as a pretext for “a crusade”. She despised the USA and said Pakistan was a much nicer country… I asked if she’d ever been to the USA and she said that she’d never, ever go because it was such an evil place. Bonkers! Utterly nucking futz. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the USA and I rather like the place. I experienced a complete disconnect with this woman. We were both speaking in our native English but there was no communication. Zilch. Zero. Nada.

  • Nick M

    Counting Cats,
    In the UK 80% of imams aren’t Brits. Just up the road from me in Manchester was a madrassa (actually there were several) but this one is especially interesting. This Pakistani imam who ran it (entirely in Urdu – he didn’t speak a word of English) beat the children if they screwed up their recitations. Corporal punishment in UK schools was banned 20 odd years ago but nobody had apparently told this bloke. He used to smash the kids heads against the wall for miss-pronouncing a sura. Apparently this is common-place. It is child-abuse in the most absolutely obvious physical sense. I think they deported him in the end.

    I never had a religious up-bringing but my wife did and it sounds rather different from her Anglican Sunday School.

    But heck, who am I kidding? We had an Islamic “Cultural Centre” (and another one in the pipeline courtesy of King Abdullah) which put out leaflets celebrating the “Magnificent 19” (they were rather professionally done and I at first thought they were promoting a Bollywood movie – then I spotted the visage of Mohmammed Atta and my stomach literally turned over). They were promoting a seminar at the Islamic Cultural Centre about 9/11 called “A Towering Day in World History”. It caused an outcry and it didn’t happen.

  • As I doubt there are any genuine photos that clearly show how a woman is half buried prior to being stoned to death, the image is perfectly acceptable as it really does graphically (literally) illustrate what it is that this fucker is has a problem condemning. Unless this is not how it is usually done (and I have read enough accounts to know it is) then there is no reasonable grounds for disapproval.

  • Nick M

    Albion,
    How it is done or what it looks like is totally irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is done. What is relevant is that the Saudis behead people for sorcery, whatever that is practically speaking.

    What matters is that in the 1970s Monty Python made “The Life of Brian” with a scene about stoning to death – you know the one, “and a bag of gravel…”. A collection of British comedians mocked a barbaric practice from two thousand years ago and this is something which is still done, now, in the twenty first century. In Northern Nigeria a young woman a few years back a young woman was sentenced to stoning to death for the heinous sin of having consensual sex out of wedlock. She couldn’t deny it because she was pregnant. In it’s infinite justice the sharia court decided that she ought to have a stay of execution until the child was weaned. That is Islamic mercy and I don’t want to be chauvinistic but my culture, in England, wouldn’t have done that a thousand years ago.

    Having said that… I still believe that genuine photos of things have an emotional weight that reconstructions just don’t. But it is an emotional weight, not a rational one. It is a tool in argument, it is not the argument itself. In truth there is no argument to make.

  • Nick

    Excellent essay Perry!

  • Paul Marks

    Among the Sunni there can be no peaceful conexistance with the Wahabbi – for their doctrines commit them to world conquest.

    It is unfortunate that the House of Saud (which came to power because of the support of the Wahabbi) at least pretends to be Wahabbi and has used the vast oil wealth of the country to subsidize Wahabbi ideas around the world – whilst then saying they are shocked at the consequences of these ideas.

    Among the Shia there can be no peaceful coexistance with those who hold that the 12th (or hidden) Imam will lead them to world conquest if they impress him by killing enough infidels.

    It is unfortunate that the Iranian government (not just the President, but the Supreme Leader and Council of Guardians also) are Shia of this type – and use the vast oil wealth of their country to spread this war against the infidel (especially the main infidel power – the United States) around the world.

    It is also unfortuntate that various non Muslims (such as leftist governments in Latin America, and to some extent Russia and China) choose to ally with Iran out of misguided hatred of the West in general and the United States in particular.

  • The Snark Who Was Really a Boojum:

    Who’s Percy?

  • being of Irish extraction it pisses me off no end anytime Islamofascists like Dr Bari bring up the “IRA Catholic terrorist” meme in order to gloss over Islamic terrorism. urggh…

  • Dr Bari as always pleads and bleats. It is always everyone else’s problem.

    One of the biggest conceits is his idea(Link) that Islam brings morals to Britain. Name me ONE “moral” brought by Islam that does not already exist in British culture? Not one! Memes of this kind need to be stamped on whenever they appear.

  • John K

    How can anyone take a guy who wears a two bob syrup seriously?

  • countingcats

    How can anyone take a guy who wears a two bob syrup seriously?

    Now that is going to seriously confuse our American friends.

  • John K

    There’s nothing wrong with a challenge!

  • Nick M

    Third time pays for all (Sorry Perry),

    Roger,

    Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

    – Pope Benedict XVI quoting the fifteenth century Emporer of Byzantium, Manuel II Palaiologos.

    Islam doesn’t bring morals. Morals are hard. Sharia is about banning temptation, it is not about confronting and resisting it.

    If one puts uncovered meat out in the street, or on the footpath, or in the garden, or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, then the cats come and eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem! If it was covered the cat wouldn’t have. It would have circled around it and circled around it, then given up and gone.

    If she was in her room, in her house, wearing her hijab, being chaste, the disasters wouldn’t have happened. The woman possesses the weapon of seduction and temptation. That’s why Satan says about the woman, “You are half a soldier. You are my messenger to achieve my needs. You are the last weapon I would use to smash the head of the finest of men. There are a few men that I use a lot of things with, but they never heed me. But you? Oh, you are my best weapon.”

    – Sheikh Hilali, self-appointed leader of Australian muslims. – quote from The Australian October 28, 2006.

    Is the eminent Sheikh comparing my wife to a bit of steak? Is he suggesting that men have no control over their sexual urges? Is he really debating whether or not a cat or a hunk of inanimate flesh is a conscious moral actor capable of being held accountable for their actions?

    Oh, Diamond! Diamond! thou little knowest what mischief thou hast done!

    – Isaac Newton, when his dog, Diamond, knocked over a candle onto his papers destroying years of work – apocryphal, quoted in the St Nicholas Magazine February 1878.

    Are we no more than Newton’s pet in the sight of Allah? Is it mere chance that I have spent time with scantily clad women and not raped them? I always thought it was partly because I possessed at least a modicum of moral fibre and absolutely because I believe violating any individual’s self-determination is objectively, morally wrong. I also consider the whole point of sex to be obviated if it is with other than an enthusiastic partner.

    Clearly, I am utterly wrong and am grateful to the learned sheikh for clarification on this point. I am also glad that he points out that rape isn’t bad because it’s an horrific violation and act of violence against the victim but a crime against Allah himself. I was previously so wrong-headed about that! It’s not bad because a women has been cruely mistreated but because men have fallen for one of Satan’s ruses.

    And Allah knows best.

    PS. This is re-formatted so it makes more sense. I would also like to add that the esteemed sheikh has clearly never met my cat, Timmy, a creature that has never given up on the prospect of meat, uncovered or otherwise. I had to once rescue him from the trash-can because he’d got stuck going in head-first after an empty packet of smoked haddock. It was a pathetic vista. A tragic mewling and a tail wagging forlornly…

  • RAB

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    If you can spot the five subtle differences in the last three posts then you could be flying to Florida for the holiday of a lifetime, curtesy of Samizdatas Mega Meta-Context competition…

  • John K

    I caught a very interesting programme on BBC2 last week about General Gordon and the Sudan.

    It seems that the nasty old Victorians wanted to oppress the Sudanese Muslims by stamping out their lucrative slave trade. However, slavery is endorsed by the Koran. Problem. Cue the arrival of a religious nutter to decide he is the Mahdi, and lead a religious revolt against the British.

    Following the death of Gordon and the fall of Khartoum, the Mahdi set up a pretty standard Sharia Muslim state, you know, 27 lashes to any woman who shows her hair uncovered, that sort of thing, and most importantly, the restoration of slavery.

    Sadly, Allah later took the Mahdi by dint of typhus, and the bad old British came back in 1897 with Maxim guns, killed 11,000 Dervishes at Omdurman, and abolished the slave trade yet again.

    Luckily, the nasty old British Empire is no more, so the Islamic barmpots who rule Sudan can now once again go about their business of flogging and enslaving, and, as the programme pointed out, giving early support to Sheik Obama in his crusade against the infidel. The Mahdi is still revered in Sudan as a great freedom fighter. I don’t know how many lashes you get for disagreeing.

    All in all a very informative programme, and not one you would expect to see on the BBC.

  • Amused and amazed

    Nick M: “Is he suggesting that men have no control over their sexual urges?”

    Not at all. Muslims are suggesting they themselves have no control over their sexual urges, so that’s why women have to be treated the way they are. Of course, Mo’s men might just get off a little bit on all the stoning and whipping of wayward females, but even if there isn’t a show on locally then you can always slake your thirst, as it were, with an arranged marriage or two. Or three.

    I really think we need to listen to the Muslims more. They have such good concepts for social cohesion.

  • RAB

    You took Nick’s first two posts out
    just to make me look a lunatic didn’t you Perry!?
    But I know it was just to avoid giving away the star prize!!

  • Nick M

    Sorry, Perry! It took me a while to figure that SI negates a “” tag if it detects an ASCII 13. Really sorry and glad you let that comment stand. RAB, none of us think you’re a lunatic.

  • Nick M

    Oops, cocked up again. I will desist now and return to the simple certainties of Web 1.0

  • Robin

    So what makes Palestine so fucking special then? I couldn’t give a monkey’s cuss about Gaza but umpty million Muslims are prepared to make my life hell if I get on a plane because they’re pissed off about Palestine. They’re going to throw their toys out of the pram because some Jews moved in next door and they want the entire fucking Islamic World to join ’em. We take this seriously? We do don’t we?
    We don’t turn a local Christian issue into a fucking global sodding jihad yet we allow a couple of million morons to regularly get more news time than the whole of India!
    A bunch of malcontent doleys in a shit-hole of their own making have made themselves into a global cause? heavens to fucking Mergotroid!

    A shit hole of their own making? You obviously have no concept of modern history. How would you feel if you were thrown out of the only fertile bits of your country by an occupying foreign power (Great Britain). What was left was then carved up again in ’66 and further to that in direct contravention of the geneva convention the occupied territories were then colonised by the Israelis. I have no sympathy with muslim terrorists, abhor the idea of stoning, have no time for fundamantalists of any creed but really despise morons like you.

  • There will have to be a reckoning, between the West, and the rest. Either we are right, or we are not. The later, the more expensive.

  • RAB

    Your standing comment, minus two-
    Is spot on as usual.

  • RAB

    really despise morons like you.

    Thanks Robin!

    You’re a laugh a minute too.

  • countingcats

    There will have to be a reckoning, between the West, and the rest

    You joshing me? Seriously? You think SE Asia, India, China, Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America are all going to join with the nutcase nations and go after the West?

    Wot you smokin bro? Care to share?

  • Robin: whatever fertile bit there were, they were made fertile by the Jews, since before the second half of the 19 century, when they first immigrated to Palestine from Eastern Europe, there were no fertile bits and no Palestinians to speak of. But if you want history that is even more modern than that, then there is the Disengagement of summer 2005, when the Palestinians were handed not just fertile bits, but a complete, state of the art agricultural haven that was Gush Katif. Built out of nothing in the middle of the desert, under constant, deadly, years’ long attacks from its neighbors, it made thousands of Israelis who lived the prosperous, and provided steady quality employment to Palestinians . What did the Palestinians do upon coming into possession of this very valuable property? They promptly proceeded to pillage and burn the hot houses, and turn the whole place into a rubble in so many days.

    I have no sympathy with muslim terrorists

    The PLO under Arafat was a secular terrorist organization, founded 3 years before 67. I am sure you have sympathy with them?

  • Paul Marks

    A fine comment Alisa.

    So many people know nothing about the history of Israel. They even accept propaganda such as the claim of the late Edward Said that his family home was destroyed by the Jews (in fact the family home was in Cairo and was destroyed by an Arab mob who did not approve of the family being Christian).

    Most people seem to think that there were millions of “Palestinans” in the country – not that these people were mostly migrants who came to the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (not even before the Jews did – the largest population group in Jerusalem in 1890 being the Jewish one).

    It is not just the left who are ignorant.

    Robert Novak over at Human Events recently endorsed the book of President Carter (the rant about the oppressive Jews and so on).

    Any effort to correct Mr Novak’s “facts” and arguments was met by “Bob is of Jewish origin himself therefore….”

    Therefore NOTHING.

    George Soros was born a Jew, his puppet Lynne Stewart (who got Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman’s instructions to various terrorists in Egypt) was born a Jew. Mr Soros and many other people may be born Jewish and in the case of Mr Soros were at risk of being murdered by the National Socialists during World War II – but this does not stop them funding anti Jewish individuals and groups.

    A Jewish person may have any political opinion – including antisemitism.

    As for Mr Novak – I have never suggested he is a Jew hater, but the Carter plan he supports would lead to the extermination of the Jews in Israel (and yet still would not mean peace for the United States as organizations like Hamas are committed to World struggle for Islam).

    Yet, as I said, any effort to correct his “facts” or arguments is met with “Bob was born Jewish himself, therefore….”

  • Robin

    Alisa,

    As your comment was far more reasoned than the one I originally posted about I’ll respond in kind. Firstly “whatever fertile bits there were, they were made fertile by the Jews” and “there were no fertile bits and no Palestinians to speak of”.

    The population of the territory referred to as Palestine was in 1800 approx. 7,000 Jews, 22,000 Christians and 246,000 Muslims. Laurence Oliphant, who visited Palestine in 1887, wrote that Palestine’s Valley of Esdraelon was “a huge green lake of waving wheat, with its village-crowned mounds rising from it like islands; and it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxuriant fertility which it is possible to conceive.” Esdraelon refers to the Jezreel valley described in 1852 by Bayard Taylor as “one of the richest districts in the world. It is now a green sea, covered with fields of wheat and barley, or great grazing tracts, on which multitudes of sheep and goats are wandering.”

    Paul,

    “Most people seem to think that there were millions of “Palestinans” in the country – not that these people were mostly migrants who came to the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (not even before the Jews did – the largest population group in Jerusalem in 1890 being the Jewish one).”

    According to Scolch, in 1850 the population (in households) of Jerusalem was 630 Jewish, 738 Christian and 1025 Muslim. I’m not sure where you get your figures from but you’re wrong.

    What happened to Gush Katif after it was evecuated was reprehensible however it was an ‘illegal’ settlement having been built in lands captured during the ’67 war as such its’ existance contravened the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    “The PLO under Arafat was a secular terrorist organization, founded 3 years before 67. I am sure you have sympathy with them?”

    I have some sympathy with the Palestinians, I have no sympathy with the PLO, Hamas or any other terrorist organisation for that matter. Not all Palestinians are terrorists, not all muslims are terrorists, this is why I stand by my comment that the author of “I couldn’t give a monkey’s cuss about Gaza but umpty million Muslims are prepared to make my life hell” is a moron.

  • “What happened to Gush Katif after it was evecuated was reprehensible however it was an ‘illegal’ settlement having been built in lands captured during the ’67 war as such its’ existance contravened the Fourth Geneva Convention. ”

    ????

    There is no “however ” at all. You could plausibly use the illegality of its construction as justification for its destruction by the IDF prior to Gaza being handed over.

    The very fact that it was NOT makes it MORE, not less reprehensible that it was subsequently destroyed by the Palestinians. What possible benefit could accrue to the Palestinians from such behaviour?

    “I have some sympathy with the Palestinians, I have no sympathy with the PLO, Hamas or any other terrorist organisation for that matter. “

    Correct. Spot on. And therefore the best way to show your sympathy for the non-terrorist Palestinians is to hold the terrorist Palestinians’ feet to the fire. You appear to be giving them a free pass.

    It is only when they have got rid of the terrorists that their lives are going to get easier. There is precisely nothing we can do until then.

  • Nick M

    Robin,

    That’s a right pretty, rather poetic quote from Oliphaunt. It doesn’t prove anything.

    The details of the population of anywhere in 1800 are completely irrelevant. It would mean my wife (of Danish descent) and myself (of Irish descent) would be deported from England. It would mean the “repatriation” of huge numbers of Italian Americans. I once dated a US citizen whose family pitched up at Ellis Island in 1900, fully 100 years after your magic date. Should the US have turfed her out, back to Romania? Well?

    I never said all muslims are terrorists. I never said that even a majority are, even in unmitigated shit-holes like Gaza but given that there are over a billion of them and 20+% regularly say they support the likes of bin Laden then yes, I stand by “millions of muslims want to kill me”. Hell, you seem quite upset with me 😉

    And seeing as I was born in England in 1973, Israel and Gaza and the West Bank is none of my business yet muslims cited Israel when in the year of my birth they hoicked oil prices up (partly) causing a global recession which affected me. Muslims also killed 60 odd of my compatriots on 9/11 and cited similar reasons. They did it again on 7/7. My fundamental point is “What has this to do with me?”

    Except they’ve made their (mostly delusional) grievances everybodies problem.

    And you know what? Every time I see the Palestinians seething or raging I feel no sympathy. I’m thoroughly pissed off with them. They rage and destroy and then demand sympathy and money from the EU. Then they torch the EU consulate over cartoons! Then they demand more money from the EU. They are in a shit-hole of their own making, sometimes quite literally. The EU bunged them cash to improve their sewers and they used the pipes to fire rockets at Israel. So when a lake of sewage engulfed a Palistinian village as a direct result of this you expect me to feel sympathetic? Yesterday they commerated their great hero Arafat by having a gun battle! You expect me to be sympathetic? They winge about the mosques they store weapons in being attacked and then when Jewish settlers leave they don’t just raze the synagogues left behind, they defile them with swastikas. You expect me to be sympathetic? They trash a modern agricultural facility and then bitch about the EU cutting off aid because they’re starving. You expect me to show sympathy? They elect Hamas (which has as a key part of it’s charter the destruction of Israel as a non-negotiable touchstone). You want me to feel sorry for them? Palestinian mothers are pleased as punch that their kids blow themselves up on buses. I should empathise with that? I should feel their rage and pride?

    Tell ya what. I don’t. I do though despise the other muslims who support this dog and pony show at the expense of the “Palistinians” and everyone else even more. And I despise Westerners who shill for them, despite knowing better, even more than that, if that is possible.

    You, sir, are about as low as Rachel Corey after the IDF bulldozer flattened her. There are intestinal nemotodes I respect more.

  • Robin: the fact that Nick has a tendency to decorate his comments with certain “flourishes” does not make them any less reasoned than mine. If you told him to go wash his mouth, and then call him a moron, I could have understood. But you chose to attack his content, and then called him a moron. How reasoned of you.

    Anyway, my point was not how large was the Arab population prior to the arrival of the European Jews, but that the entire population of Palestine at that time was minuscule, maybe 300,000, according to your figures, and most of the land was either desert or swamp (with all due respect to Oliphaunt’s impressions, I suggest that you look up figures for cultivated land in the area during in that period). But if you like:

    Estimates of the numbers who fled in 1948 range from 367,000 to over 950,000. The final UN estimate was 711,000.

    You can pick either one of these estimates, any one of them is high enough to prove my point, which is that most of the growth in the Arab population of Palestine was due to migration from the neighboring Arab countries. Which in turn can only be attributed to the economic growth, thanks to agricultural, and later also industrial development brought about by the Jewish immigration. So much for those “bits of fertile land”. As to modern Gaza: “reprehensible”, right. Not only they are still noble savages, now they are also Peter Pans, never to grow up.

  • 20But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

    21Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

    Lots of good, detailed stuff in Deuteronomy about stoning women, only there was subsequently someone who said something like: “Oh yeah, and which of you guys is so jolly perfect then? You cast the first stone.” and refused to condemn. That is part of the head-set of anyone who did minimal RE, even if she’s a militant atheist. Just one of the many, many things Bari does not get.

  • Paul Marks

    Robin – I said 1890, not 1850.

    Still there were Jews in Jerusalem before 1850 – indeed before there were any such people as Muslims (remember even the langage of Arabic was not spoken in the land before the 7th century of the Christian era).

    Nor has there EVER been an independent nation called “Palestine”. The Byzantine Empire was overthrown by the Muslim Arabs (with the Holy Land as part of various larger empires), after centuries of war (the Crusades and so on) they were replaced by the Turks – the Ottoman Empire.

    They were defeated by the British – and remember it was the Turks who declared war on the British (in 1915) NOT the other way round.

    In fact the British had historically been the friends of the Turks.

    So no nation called “Palestine” – not ever (I believe the word was used by the Emperor Hadrian after he defeated the Jews, in memory of the ancient Philistines perhaps – although, of course, the Philistines were an IndoEuropean people who came via the sea).

    And if we are to examine people who are “wrong” what about Edward Said (the most well known “Palestinian” academic).

    His great party piece was how his family home was desroyed by a mob of wicked Jews – then it turned out that the family home was in Cairo and had been destroyed by a mob of Muslims who dislike the Christianity of the family.

    Edward Said could not tell the truth about the history of his own family – let alone anything else.

    As for Israel.

    First most of the historic land is now called “Jordan” – I think you will accept this is not a land ruled by Jews.

    If we are talking about an area called “Palestine” then Jordan is certainly as much a part of it as the rest of the land is (or nowhere is a part of it).

    In 1948 some Arabs did indeed leave what became the Jewish state – some were forced out, but most left because their leader the Grand Mufti (the friend of Hitler who had visited extermination camps in the early 1940’s) told them to make a tactical retreat.

    However, many Arabs STAYED in what was left of Israel – and are there still.

    What do you think happened to Jews in the “West Bank” (an absurd name for land that goes within a few miles of the Mediterranean Sea, almost cutting Israel in two)?

    They were virtually wiped out – why no tears for the Jews of the “West Bank” in 1948 Robin?

    By the way if every Jew in Israel were exerminated the war would still not be over.

    As both radical Shia Islam (for example the government of Iran) and radical Sunni Islam have made it quite clear their aim is world conquest – the extemination of the Jews in Israel would not satisfy them.

    Sorry Robin – but they want your blood as well. No matter how much you are their friend.

    In the “West Bank” and Gaza Christian Arabs are still trotted out to denounce the wicked Jews – but it is not the Jews who are wiping them out.

  • Paul Marks

    I should also add by pointing out the wiping out of various Jewish communities in the land during the First World War.

    I repeat that this was not “Western aggression” – the Ottoman Empire declared war on the Allies, not the other way round.

    It used to be thought that although many on the left had not stood with the West in the struggle against Marxism (although some of the left did stand with the West) at least they would stand with the West against radical Islam (both Sunni and Shia).

    However, we have now found that for most (although not all) of the left hatred of the West trumps everything.

    They will even side with anyone, even folk (such as the followers of a certain interpretation of Shia Islam who control the government of Iran – both the President, and the Council of Guardians and the Supreme Leader) who hold that if they kill enough infidels (all over the world) the 12th, or hidden, Imam will be impressed and lead them to world conquest.

    The left claims to stand for “progress” and against “supersition”, but it will even side with demented groups like the government of Iran – against their own nations.

    Of course there is also the “Daily Mail right” for whom antiAmericanism (which they claim is nothing to do with antisemitism) trumps everything.

    My father (Harry Marks) understood the best way to deal with this sort of person, back in the 1930’s – at the “Battle of Cable Street”.

  • As a “militant” atheist/agnostic I am as critical as anyone about the Bible but any comparison between Christianity and Islam needs to be understood in the context one simple fact:

    While Christians have, long ago used death as a punishment for apostasy, it is not explicitly prescribed in Christian scriptures and a random group of Christians would not have to debate among themselves whether killing apostates is necessary, valid or desirable.

    You can leave Christianity.