Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hang on a sec...

Until now the key religion and state had operated in this country with give and take, pull and push - for the most part it (christianity) had kept its head down in a sort of gentlemans agreement. I say this because I was brought up and educated a catholic (not the State religion) but at no time in my life have ever received direct instruction from the church I regularly attended, and the school for that matter, that issued direct requests to compete with the accepted norms of society or insist.

My father is a devout catholic and i grew up to love this faith. My mother by contrast an atheist with a respectful but forthright view of religion that countered hard at the ideas that women are generally looked down upon in any of the Great World Religions. An opinion equally cherished. This give and take worked well in modern Britain and it was something of which I was proud. I felt i was able to criticise, respect, see both sides of the religious vs non religious argument and accept both its flaws and respect its pretty decent outlook.

I think I recognise a zealot when I see one. Growing up with a religion as a big part of your life and holding untypical ('lapsed'...'moderate' whatever you want to define it as) views means ive had my fair share of experience facing up to some on both sides of the argument. There are some Christians with deeply held convictions who will go for the throat if you mention the unmentionables. Occasionally they pop out of all corners of the blogosphere now and make their Judgements and threads get, lets say, interesting! But by and large I respect their deeply held views. If that balance were wholesale inversed somehow then Id be inclined to fight back. Equally you get those who will sneer and look down their noses and think your views highly suspect. But people living here with deeply held views either way have in listening to opinions, come to take less harsh views, adjust their thinking, sometimes move away from religion altogether or accept that beliefs vary in their devotion. Mainly because christianity has accepted Reason for the most part and Criticism for the rest and it is wound into our society with a bond that worked well up til now.

I disagree with Steve
here. I see this as idiots who pop out of situations of the governments own mishandling and meddling. They are emboldened purely by Islams antics and the lack of government 'zeal' to condemn them or get a grip. The people he describes as zealots are not. Zealots are the kind of people who rock up at Waco and proclaim themselves the son of God reborn for whom a group of people wish to die. Or bomb abortion clinics. These people he describes are idiots in a harmless minority who probably shouldnt even have been employed. The reason they have, has a dotted line back to the governments and their agencies enforcing of quotas without thinking it through properly and leaving idiots to pop up into the current media friendly limelight. It isnt about making concessions. Its about not allowing them to crop up in the first place and become an issue. The 'dangerous precedent' was set by this government and its pussyfooting around a fanatical version of Islam, indulging the likes of the MCB and stating them as 'moderate', along with 'community leaders' (ive never had one of these as a catholic) and media spokespeople (again, never one for catholics). And yet - my religion is a foreign religion.

There is only one religion where religious zeal is gaining momentum at a terrific pace unchallenged at the moment. And so for many of its adherents any action, idiotic or otherwise, will justifiably be met with either a raised eyebrow or outright condemnation. Until such time where they measure up to the respectful give and take established through years of change that has come about for christianity Ill happily point it out -and no- I wont feel in the least bit like I should be applying equal eyebrow raising zeal to other religions to counter it.

If you treat all religious groups as the same you will create more issues than you solve and generate reflex conservatism. Theyll band together at the top and the issues of Islam where it needs to reform and adapt will dissipate.

Some religions have a lot of basic catching up to do.

Don’t threaten agencies acting for years without problems in a diverse adoption environment and reward them with closure. Don’t throw positive discrimination for ethnic and religious groups into the bargain without thinking through how it will play out and deciding how to handle it first given the huge differences in the faiths and the socio political impact of some.

The quick fix answer isn’t to then constantly legislate against social problems and issues of consicience across the board. (Even less so when that legislation is so utterly flawed that it purports to be in favour of reducing discrimination but is anything but. eg Equal rights for gays at the expense of catholic beliefs when Id wager no single gay couple ever faced a discriminatory issue in that regard. Meanwhile women’s equality gets a bypass and a SSSHHHH! when it comes to discussion on the burqa where there is good reason to believe women in this country are forced and abused)


Friday, January 26, 2007

In light of the current situation with ongoing rape law reform, I admit it was also refreshing to read an opinion from another woman blogger on the issues.

Ellee presents some interesting research below. Its good to know that this issue is not simply a cause for the Left, or 'traditional' feminists per se. It is an issue many women I know do regard as such - an issue - because we do live in a society where we socialise more often and more frequently and we all drink. Fact.

"...researchers have found that jurors often took the view that it was ‘reasonable’ for a man to assume that silence represented sexual consent, even if the silence was due to the fact that the woman was totally intoxicated.

Because it is unlawful to conduct research with real juries, researchers from The Economic and Social Research Council used trial and jury room simulations to find out how the legislation was working. These are its main findings, showing that gender stereotyping is very much evident:

In situations where the woman had become involuntary drunk, many jurors continued to hold her partially responsible for what took place - either because she accepted drinks from the defendant, failed to stand her ground against pressure to drink more or did not take adequate care to ensure that her drinks were not ’spiked’ (by either extra alcohol or drugs) .

Even when a woman had unknowingly drunk spiked drinks, juries were reluctant to convict defendants of rape unless they were convinced that the drink had been spiked with the specific intention of sexual assault, as opposed to ‘loosening up’ a reluctant partner.

It also emerged that jurors were less inclined to equate ‘taking advantage’ of a drunken women with rape in situations in which the woman’s normal behaviour was to drink heavily in the company of men.

By contrast, in cases where the date rape drug - Rohypnol - had been used, jurors were more inclined to hold the defendant responsible for rape, even though the effect of the drug on the woman was the same as if she were very drunk.

We live in a society where women do go out and socialise as i said and most will take reasonable precautions to keep themselves safe. They remain vulnerable. Even a few glasses of wine can have an effect. Excusing rapists first by suggesting women need to do more is a bit rich, as is suggesting they are all de facto drunken slags or liars who deserve to be taken advantage of - but that attitude seems to be out there.

Distinguishing violent assault rape from date rape and classifying the two seperately would help. Challenging attitudes in young males and making it clear date rape is a crime not a rutting right would help, eg men accepting some responsibility in their behaviour and that there are limits. Challenging public attitudes to rape generally would help since they make up the juries. Tackling the drink industry and its targeting of young people - for a broad number of reasons not only rape. Keeping anonymity all round. But ultimately where assault is concerned it rests with the law to make the impact - somehow or other the law has to change. And likely will. I agree with Ellee that 'the jury is guided on matters of law at the end of the day, and as the law stands, it does not help the alleged victim'.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Clinton vs. Fox News

I never really go to watch this last year but heard about a particularly furious Clinton in interview with Fox defending his record and involvement in the failures over 9/11. And he is furious. He certainly is a smarter 'orator'. To speak with heartfelt conviction and handle the media in this day and age is a good part of the battle. A lot of it he gets hung up over the issue of perceived american weakness in Somalia Black Hawk Down, that is to say how Bin Laden describes this. This issue of how the terrorists manipulate situations and play the media is an enormous factor in their game. Huge. Tony Blair mentioned this also. The media relays events, discusses weaknesses and the open criticism plays a big part in their propaganda. How do you balance the need to be critical without playing into their hands?

"....many in Western countries listen to the propaganda of the extremists and accept it. (And to give credit where it is due, the extremists play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party.) If we recognized this struggle for what it truly is, we would at least be on the first steps of the path to winning it..." (monsieur Blair)

hattip Outside the Box

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stop the World I Wanna Get Off

Harrys Place have noted that there's a good interview with Nick Cohen in this week's Time Out, by Jonathan Derbyshire (the left wing one, not the right wing one).

Ive just finished reading 'Saturday' belatedly (as it seems it was a best seller that everyone else has already read). I loved it.

The following kind of typifies why i feel 'blograge' as 'Tu' points out in a comment below (great word lol). The Left are battling away with their gremlins and its interesting to see where they are heading - neo liberalism apparently. Is the way to combat the issues we face to adopt on the Right the same finger pointing process as the old hard Left? Do you have to sit wholly in one political bubble? Im not so sure Left and Right are clearly defined at all and not because I cant stand Cameron.

I prefer Thatcher but I think Blair is alright ...I just cant stand his cronies or being lectured to on whats good for me and what i can and cant say and seeing Britain defined as fucking 'communities'? (Where's my community representative?! Muslims have one).....I dont think its bigotted to have a go at Islam. ...I dont think the EU is all bad and the cause of all our woes ... I support the war in Iraq... but think Bush is a useless communicator in a world that needs good ones. YES - the Left have been responsible for just so much bullshit about America and rounded on for it and YES the MSM more than anything else needs a boot up the arse. But the way we move forward on all this is crucial.

I feel a bit like Perowne in Saturday myself and im not sure why. At times ive felt quite ostracised by the Right for not having the kind of views that are generally the accepted norm with them eg a hatred of Europe (sorry 'EU' but you can hardly tell nowadays), 'feminist' issues that most women on the right discuss in a rational manner but which appear on blogs to get labelled as knee jerk 'feminazism'....

Other issues more widely out there that Ive mentioned below such as euro-phobe versus anti-americanism in the fight with terrorism...the incandescant rage that appears on most American blogs which would have you believe Europe is about to go under and that we should all head West and that turns a mirror outwards but never inwards. Bollocks!!!!!

Its just all so much NOISE now. If we remain polarised on the issue of islamic terrorism we will spend more time broadsiding each other than getting at the issues.

'In Ian McEwan’s novel ‘Saturday’, the protagonist Henry Perowne watches as demonstrators gather for the massive anti-war march of February 2003. He is struck, and slightly disturbed, by the levity of the crowd. ‘Everyone is thrilled to be out together on the streets – people are hugging themselves, it seems, as well as each other.’ The protestors may be right, Perowne muses: leaving Saddam’s sanguinary dictatorship in place might, just, be preferable to aerial bombing and invasion. But they ought to be ‘sombre’ in this view – it’s a dreadful moral calculus, after all, that weighs summary execution and ‘occasional genocide’ against the hazards of regime change.

The marchers’ placards and slogans catch Perowne’s eye too. Some belong to the Islamist group that helped to organise the march, an outfit, Perowne remembers, which believes that ‘apostasy from Islam was an offence punishable by death.’ Others bear the legend ‘Not in My Name’, a phrase whose ‘cloying self-regard suggests a bright new world of protest, with the fussy consumers of shampoos and soft drinks demanding to feel good, or nice.’

The journalist Nick Cohen quotes this passage in his new book ‘What’s Left?’ It used to be, Cohen writes, that the left marched in the name of internationalism and solidarity; now its banners merely proclaim the ‘righteousness’ of its anger – that is, when they’re not declaring an explicit affinity with movements of the religious right (‘We are all Hizbullah’ anyone?).

Cohen tells me he felt very much like Henry Perowne when he watched that million-strong crowd walking through central London. ‘There wasn’t a single banner criticizing Saddam Hussein. I thought at the time, surely that’s going to change, surely they’ll be able to criticize Bush and Blair but at the same time support the people in Iraq who deserve something better than Saddam. But they never did. I realised that people on the left who had once supported Iraqi socialists were going to dump them. That’s when the iron entered the soul. That’s when I thought something is going very badly wrong and that I need to write about it.’

Instead of supporting socialists and trade unionists in Iraq once Saddam had been overthrown, some on the left went so far as to romanticise the insurgency launched by Baathist irregulars and radical Islamists, declaring it to be a movement of ‘national liberation’ – as if this were Vietnam in 1968, not Iraq in 2003. At the same time, the far left group that ran the anti-war movement entered into a formal political accommodation with reactionary Islamism, a strategy which required that history be rewritten and the terms of left-wing politics be overhauled. Cohen was bemused. ‘To say it’s left-wing to turn your back on Kurdish and Iraqi socialists is to throw the best traditions of left solidarity out of the window. What kind of left is it that betrays its comrades?’

‘What’s Left?’ is not a book about the rights and wrongs of the war in Iraq but rather an attempt to answer the question of betrayal. Cohen deals in some detail with the history of socialist movements in the twentieth century in order to diagnose a number of ‘morbid symptoms on the liberal-left’ that the campaign against the war certainly brought into sharp focus but which he thinks were there long before Bush and Blair came to power.

For instance, he compares the strenuous act of historical forgetting involved in seeing Islamism as authentically ‘anti-imperialist’ with the mental gymnastics demanded of Communists and their fellow-travellers in 1939 when the Nazi-Soviet pact was sealed. Cohen is interested in the psychology of such accommodations. ‘I quite deliberately went back in the book and looked at the 70s and the 30s, at communists in the 30s and Trotskyists in the 70s (who ended up taking money from Saddam). That gives you clues to mental patterns, how people argue themselves into such positions.’

Yet, for all the historical parallels, Cohen insists that there is something distinctive about the latest ideological mutation on the left. For one thing, he says, ‘socialism as a practical political project is simply dead.’ What remains is the anti-imperialism of fools.

But isn’t this sort of thing restricted to a tiny and remote fringe of the far left? Cohen thinks not. ‘Taking a kick at the far left is good fun, but it certainly wouldn’t be worth writing a book about. The difficulty is that this attitude is so pervasive it’s hard to see how extraordinary it is. Because you’re no longer a socialist putting forward a programme, you don’t have to stand for anything. That’s why so many people read Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore – they don’t have to commit to anything. They just have to jeer.’

That is a chastening diagnosis. But at least in setting it out Cohen shows that there is still an alternative on the left to Chomsky’s suave nihilism and Moore's lumpen idiocies.

Re this book of Co0hens - if you are in the UK, buy your copy here. In the US, buy your copy here.

In the comments section at HP, i dont agree with all his views but i do agree with the sentiment:

What gets me is that those who have committed themselves to one side or the other in this struggle all insist that everyone has to commit themselves to one side or the other in this struggle. Well, f*ck you all. Saddam was a murdering f*ck who ought to have been ripped apart by wild dogs in the middle of the biggest stadium in Iraq. GWB and his cronies are a bunch of lying f*cks who ought to be on trial for crimes against peace -- you CANNOT start a war on the basis of LIES just because you think a war is a good idea! And the Iraqi 'insurgents' and any other assorted Islamists out there are f*cked so far upside their own heads that it's hard to know what we ought to do to them, but it ought not to be pretty. And f*ck Ahmedinejad, and f*ck the settlers in the West Bank. F*ck the suicide-bombers, f*ck the twisted bastards who wind them up. F*ck George Galloway, and the entire membership of 'Respect', and Ken Livingstone, and the MCB, and Tony f*cking f*ck-face Blair. F*ck you all, you stupid useless, f*cking dog-turd excuses for human beings, all of you!
I have children! And this is the world you are making for them -- gleefully, as far as I can see. F*ck you, if I could I'd rip out your hearts and piss in the holes.

Posted by Dave at January 24, 2007 11:53 AM

To which someone followed up - Enough of these coy euphemisms, Dave. Tell us what you really think.


A close up shot of a sunspot.

SOHO, the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory, is a project of international collaboration (wow)between ESA and NASA to study the Sun. It was launched on December 2, 1995. The SOHO spacecraft was built in Europe. NASA was responsible for the launch.
Dispense with Islam, its apologists, China, Left and Right, 'Doomed!!' Europe and America 'Alone!!' ..oh and of course the issue du jour Jade for a minute - and consider how small we all are in the grand scheme of things instead.

The Sun is the centre of our Solar System. The diameter of the Solar System is approximately 11,400,000km. The Sun is one of more than 100 billion in our galaxy.

It has a mass of about 2x10^30 kg.

Its diameter is 1,390,00 km.

The Sun contains more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System

About 74% of the Sun's mass is hydrogen, with 25% helium and the rest made up of trace quantities of heavier elements.

The rotation rate of the Sun is 25.4 days at the equator, 36 days at the poles.

The Sun is personified in many mythologies: the Greeks called it Helios and the Romans called it Sol.

The distance from the Earth to the Sun is 149,570,000 km.

Sunspot activity isn't constant. There was a period of very low sunspot activity in the latter half of the 17th century called the Maunder Minimum. It coincides with an abnormally cold period in northern Europe sometimes known as the Little Ice Age.

The Sun is a second-generation star, perhaps formed from the remains of a previous supernova as there's a high abundance of heavy elements such as iron, gold, and even uranium in the Solar System. The most plausible ways that these elements could be produced are by endothermic nuclear reactions during a supernova.

Direct viewing of the Sun with the naked eye delivers about 4 milliwatts of sunlight to the retina, heating it up and potentially damaging it.

The Sun emits a low density stream of charged particles known as the solar wind which travels throughout the solar system at about 450 km/sec. The solar wind and the much higher energy particles ejected by solar flares can have dramatic effects on the Earth ranging from radio interference to the beautiful Aurora Borealis.

Akhenaten, the 'heretic' pharoah, changed almost 2,000 years of Ancient Egyptian polytheistic religion when he banned the worship of any God or Goddess other than the Sun disc Aten. He, his wife Nefertiti and his daughters were depicted worshipping and making offers to the Aten.

The temperature of the Sun varies from 5800K on the surface to 15,600,000K at the core. The outermost layer of the Sun, the corona, is between 1-2,000,000K. Though its temperature is high, its particle density is so low that it releases little heat. If a person were able to stand in the Sun's corona they wouldn't burn, instead they'd freeze in the near vacuum.

The Sun when it dies will collapse into a 'white dwarf' (that's racist and mean) and take around one million million years to cool off (to coincide with a diminution of a certain sense of grievance/reaction to the 'racism' in Big Brother, presumably)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Im heartily fed up with the blogosphere at the moment. Decent posts spoiled by petty pointless bickering. As usual - for a dose of puerile anti-americanism or a spot of islamic PR for whinging muslims please refer to your mainstream press (with some noteworthy exceptions in the British media). For a dose of rabid europhobia commentary go on-line. Same tactics, same labels, same old same old. Right versus left, left versus right and some outwardly whinging inwardly chuckling religious fanatics in the sidelines exploiting it all very smartly.

For an example of what can be achieved when right and left come together see here.

'Clash of Civilisations' - The Debate on Islam

Informative report at Harrys Place from 'Ami' on Ken Livingstone's "A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations?" debate with Daniel Pipes, amongst others. Usually packed out with uber lefty loons it appears this one had a good bunch of sane people in attendance. She says:

"I disagree with those who say that Ken Livingstone’s A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations was inappropriate as a mayoral event and would commend Jonathan Hoffman's account as an excellent and accurate reflection of the event.London by its nature has concerns which extend beyond the parochial. As an opportunity for gauging and assessing the mood of Londoners towards international phenomena which now impinge willy-nilly on their lives, this was a revelation. Accustomed as I am to the monolithic baying and sloganeering of much of public leftish meetings, I was cheered by the diversity of views of this 3000 to 5000 (estimates vary) strong crowd......." you can read the whole piece and the included link above is useful also.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Update on Dispatches

Keeping an eye on the Dispatches follow up amidst the Jade obsession

The Birmingham mosque exposed in a Channel 4 documentary as a Mecca for extremist Muslims is being investigated by police after calls from an MP for police to intervene.

Eight MPs have signed an early day motion condemning the preacher's views.

Labour MP Roger Godsiff wrote to the West Midlands Chief Constable asking for an investigation, and police have confirmed they are studying the documentary.

"I am delighted the police are looking into this. I will see what conclusions they draw," Mr Godsiff said, according to ITN.

"If the police or Director of Public Prosecutions decide these comments were not racist, I think they are going to have a very difficult time"


THE firebrand Midland Islamic preacher at the centre of a controversial TV documentary was questioned by the FBI in America about alleged links with an al Qaida operative, the Sunday Mercury can reveal.

Abu Usamah At-Thahabi, who was secretly taped by undercover reporters as he delivered extremist lectures at a Birmingham mosque, was quizzed by US agents just months after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

The New Jersey-born Muslim convert was an imam at the Islamic Center of Peoria in Illinois when federal agents swooped in December 2001 and arrested Qatari student Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who was a regular worshipper.

Abu Usamah was questioned by federal agents who believed he may have had
some influence on the student - but he was never arrested.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Happy Birthday. (I think)

Andrew has written a great post over at ATW about the birthday of Great Britain.

"This, the 300th anniversary of the first Act ofUnion, should allow us to think about the UK and what it has achieved. It once ruled the world and, as recently as the end of the First World War, was considered the only global superpower. It created the largest Empire the world has ever seen and, in contrast to many other imperial ventures by our European neighbours, did far more good than ever it did harm to the countries which submitted to its control (whatever you may think about the principle of empire, that is a fact). Today, there is nothing equivalent to the Commonwealth for the former conquests of France, Spain or the Netherlands.

Not only did the United Kingdom build much of the infrastructure in its imperial backyard, it also forged great and significant ties with countries never under its colonial stewardship.

The two best examples of this are Argentina and Chile, where the railways, roads, agriculture and naval strengths of those two countries were created and built by the British - not the Spanish. Even as recently as the early 20th century, more people in Argentina spoke English and Italian than Spanish.

In the 21st Century, the UK is still a global player and is one of only 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is Europe's (excluding Russia) foremost military power and has ties to the United States unequalled by any other country. The importance of this alliance cannot be underestimated for anyone who has lived through WW2 or has seen the global ventures undertaken by ourselves and the Americans since that time.."

Great stuff.

Another way of looking at it of course is to think that without the socialists in the land of William Wallace ('braveheart and hero of scotland - hammer of the english and scotlands greatest patriot!!' etc etc etc la di daa) England wouldnt be run by Nu Labour. Ever. As demonstrated beautifully top left by the 2005 election map which doesnt much change from one general election to the next.


Oh FFS. Please...

What in the hell is Tony Blair and a slew of politicians doing getting involved with the utter rubbish that is Big Brother and the even worse absurdities that are the allegations of 'racism'?

Blair: "The message should go out from this country loud and clear that we are a tolerant country and we will not tolerate racism in any way."

Labour disclaimer: ..."we will not tolerate racism in any way, unless it emanates from mosques"

Look. Get a few gormless girls made good from Chavsville Central together with a haughty snob of a Bollywood Princess (a consumate actress who clearly attended the Princess Diana Tearful Doe Eyed School of Media Training) and place them in a cheap shot competition ... the result is a bunch of degenerate bitching that is worthy of only one thing - the off switch. It does not merit the kind of attention thrown at it presently from all quarters* from Parliament to the streets of India - most of whom haven't watched it. Take *Livingstone tonight on the news commenting without having seen any of it (prat) but..hey.. if its white racists he merely thinks he is talking about, no holds barred. Lets extend the racist label to the white working classes and the whooooole of Britain based on the brainless ignorance of those dummies paid squillions to appear in Big Brother? Good grief.

Over at Pickled Politics who have (predictably) stirred it all up - one post on the mosques expose and a dismissive shoulder shrug over the MCB role - but the same shrug is lost on them over Jade Bloody Goody? Give me a break. What is the world coming to when pure murder inciting hatred & bigotry is clearly presented to you warts and all and brushed to one side whilst what amounts to stupidity, snobbery and pure cultural ignorance on both sides of a nasty bitchfight becomes the issue du jour. Utterly utterly absurd. Being practically mute on some bigotry but marginalising the rest means you are full of shit.

Racism - its an industry.

(oh and someone might like to suggest to Jermaine Jackson that marrying a white person is actually ok in 2007 btw!...)

Update: yep what HE says.

Mr Moderate clears up any misunderstandings

A letter dated 7th January 2007 from Shouaib Ahmed, Secretary General, Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith UK to Andrew Smith of HardCash Productions Ltd, the C4 Dispatches programme maker - in which the SG is very concerned about bigotry and hatred. Only not the kind that is being spread in the mosques he attends. No - this would be the imagined kind that was expected after July 7th and never materialised etc etc. He also goes on to make it quite clear its ok to smack your wife and kids about a bit and that amputations are a very effective deterrant. No time to comment on all but have a read. Parts of the very long letter which does him no favours - below.

I am writing in response to your letter dated the 28th December 2006 which appears to have been written just when you knew we would be celebrating the ‘Id al-Adha, thereby giving us less time in which to respond to what in any case appears to be a programme whose content has already been decided.

Naturally I am surprised that you appear to have already more or less decided what words you are going to put into my mouth and that you did not even have the courtesy to request an interview with me so that my viewpoint could be included in your programme. In my humble opinion the mark of balanced investigative journalism is to do just this, to talk to everyone who is going to feature in an article or documentary, even if this means that some preconceived notions may prove to be unsustainable before they are aired.

If, which I hope is not the case, this is going to be just another attack on Islam and Muslims, which is very much in vogue nowadays, then I must remind you that if I or any member of my staff or anyone who worships at the Green Lane Mosque or the Mosque itself are subjected to any form of physical attack as a result of your programme then you, HardCash Productions Ltd and Channel 4 will all be liable to prosecution for incitement to commit a criminal act.

As regards corporal punishment, the teachings of Islam permit a light smack as a mark of disapproval, but never the violent physical abuse of either children or marriage partner ..

As regards amputations, whippings, and crucifixions, [...] Some of the hadd (fixed punishments) punishments in Islam work as an effective deterrent, even for those who do not fear Allah and the Last Day.

Has that cleared that up for everyone?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Essential Viewing

UK Mosques. Part 1 Of 3.

Part 2:

Part 3:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Princess & the Frog

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self assured, princess happened upon a frog as she sat, contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.

The frog hopped into the princess lap and said:

"Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil feminist witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young prince that I am, and then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in yon castle with my mother, where you can work full time, prepare my meals, clean my clothes, look permanently gorgeous, bear my children, contribute to declining world birth rates and forever feel grateful and happy doing so "

That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on a repast of lightly sautéed frog legs seasoned in a white wine and shallot cream sauce, she reflected on the frogs earlier offer and thought

'Not fucking likely'

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Africa A Key Battleground

The New Year began with a spectacular and much-needed defeat for terrorism: in Somalia

Most Westerners still think of sub-Saharan Africa as the frontline in the battle against poverty and Aids, not terror. But the region is becoming an increasingly critical front in the global struggle against terrorism, as the events of the past few days in the Horn of Africa have demonstrated. To anybody with an interest in maintaining international stability, the march of globalisation and preventing fresh terror attacks around the globe, Africa warrants increasingly close scrutiny.

Africa A Key Battleground in the global war on terror - great article here

Black Hawk Down

In an interview in Le Monde Ethiopia's prime minister has said a whole bunch of international terrorists had been killed, injured or captured in the fighting recently - including 'Britons'. I use the term loosely because frankly i dont see them as such - real Britons dont go around killing for islamic shari'a. Meanwhile, Somalia's deputy prime minister claimed that much of the funding for the Islamist militants was coming from Britain and that some of their fighters were British and American passport holders. How depressing.

I was pleased to see America get its men in the bombing today. The media went into typical overdrive about civilian casualties as if only American action in removing these guys had ensured any innocent blood spilled in this country.

Of course this is the first American action since American troops got caught in vicious street to street fighting in Mogadishu as part of the U.S. military's 1993 campaign to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The raid itself by the Delta operators was successful but unprepared for an RPG onslaught 2 of their Black Hawk helicopters were brought down and the personnel killed (and paraded) - one survived and was taken hostage. A quick in and out mission turned into lengthy pitched battles into the night as they tried to secure the crash sites and recover bodies.

I was privileged to meet some of those involved in that fateful mission, something i wont forget in a hurry.

One of the best portrayals of those events is in the brilliant film Black Hawk Down. A stark, powerful and accurate interpretation of events. The book by Mark Bowden is a great read too.

British trrops destroy more Taleban

British troops have destroyed a Taliban training camp in Afghanistan, killing dozens of the enemy, in a victory the military said would help bring electricity to nearly two million people, Guardian reported on Monday. About 110 Royal Marines swept through northern Helmand targeting insurgent boltholes to pave the way for much-needed repairs on a hydroelectric dam in the north of the restless province. Launched on New Year's Day, Operation Clay saw troops from Plymouth-based 42 Commando engaged in four days of ferocious firefights.

The raids resulted in the deaths of a senior Taliban commander and "tens" of his henchmen. Amazingly, only one marine was injured during the deadly battles. He was shot through the hand.

An equally tricky task remains to overhaul the Afghan government:

Mr Hoon said MPs were being too pessimistic about progress in Afghanistan and he praised the way Afghans had "effectively rebuilt their nation from scratch" since 2001.

The "key state institutions are now in place" the economy was growing rapidly, five million children, 37% of them girls, were in school and "much of Afghanistan is at peace", Mr Hoon told MPs, but he conceded "challenges remain".

"We cannot win in Afghanistan through military action alone"

"There is a need to extend the rule of law and the writ of the democratically elected Afghan authorities across those parts of the country where there are still challenges.

Afghan MP Malalai talking about the same issues but not so enamoured with whose in power:

"Look, they want again an office of 'vice and virtue,' just like the Taliban had, and which they used as a pretext for their crimes. This is the reason we want a secular government. With a secular government, they cannot commit their crimes in the name of Islam. Or in the name of Jihad. Until these warlords, these drug lords, who right now have the support of the U.S. and its allies in our country, until they become powerless, our people can never hope for democracy, women rights, human rights, and especially security in Afghanistan."

As one example of the approach that Joya objects to, Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., while visiting Afghanistan before Christmas, voiced his support for efforts to bring "people who call themselves Taliban into a larger, more representative government." These, according to Malalai, and easy to see, are the same "warlords and drug lords [who] committed lots of crimes when they were in power under the name of jihad and even now are committing lots of crimes under the name of jihad and Islam."

We cannot follow this ridiculous process of appeasing thugs by putting them in power. Especially not in this region.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

We are not being bold enough

Tony Blair has written quite a piece on Islam for the Council for Foreign Relations.

I only take issue with the start. But since it is at the start i think he intends to ensure that battle for hearts and minds' that has become government policy is not given shortshrift. Without the carrot and stick approach he might not have had to wax lyrical about Islams 'great achievements' and the Korans 'progressive stance'. After all if it was so progressive then islamists, extremists, muslims whatever you want to call certain factions (that he goes on to talk about in depth) might not have so easily been able to skew their world view using the Koran itself.

Salman Rushdie has always hit the nail on the head in this respect arguing that the texts are taken literally because they can be and because of a lack of any reformation. And you cannot argue that shari'a is progressive. It is interpreted as it is by mysoginist societies - which means that any sections which 'extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition' or are 'practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance' as Blair states are lost on these very societies given to exercising extreme forms of control via religion. When he talks about reformation and rennaisance leaving Islam behind, he forgets that pre these periods christianity was used as a socio political force and it is Islamic nations intentions that this force remains the status quo for them.

The intentional gushing aside he is really quite emphatic in outligning the core issues. To focus on the gushy bits would be a mistake in what i assume is his swansong on this issue. (Besides he goes on to talk about 'religious doctine' and refers to those he loathes as 'Islamists' - that can only come about from religious texts in Islam and he knows this)

Some of it we have heard before but he draws us back to the key key point:

"Yet despite all of this, which I consider fairly obvious, many in Western countries listen to the propaganda of the extremists and accept it. (And to give credit where it is due, the extremists play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party.)

If we recognized this struggle for what it truly is, we would at least be on the first steps of the path to winning it. But a vast part of Western opinion is not remotely near this point yet.This ideology has to be taken on -- and taken on everywhere. Islamist terrorism will not be defeated until we confront not just the methods of the extremists but also their ideas. I do not mean just telling them that terrorist activity is wrong. I mean telling them that their attitude toward the United States is absurd, that their concept of governance is prefeudal, that their positions on women and other faiths are reactionary. We must reject not just their barbaric acts but also their false sense of grievance against the West, their attempt to persuade us that it is
others and not they themselves who are responsible for their violence.

The debate over the wisdom of the original decisions, especially about Iraq, will continue. Opponents will say that Iraq was never a threat, that there were no weapons of mass destruction, that the drug trade in Afghanistan continues. I will point out that Iraq was indeed a threat, as two regional wars, 14 UN resolutions, and the final report of the Iraq Survey Group showed. I will remind people that in the aftermath of the Iraq war, we secured major advances in tackling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, not least a new relationship with Libya and the shutting down of A. Q. Khan's nuclear weapons network. I will recall that it was the Taliban who manipulated the drug trade and housed al Qaeda and its training camps..'

It is almost incredible to me that so much Western opinion appears to buy the idea that the emergence of this global terrorism is somehow our fault'

"Why are we not yet succeeding? Because we are not being bold enough, consistent enough, thorough enough in fighting for the values we believe in"

Our media, his own government (at times to his frustration not to mention mine...) and the Opposition have all been slow to understand what is at stake, flopping around trying to placate and posture the you know who's - and the continuing moronic ranting about the rights and wrongs of Iraq both here and in the US add nothing but fuel to the islamist fire. He is right to remind us of the reasons for going to war and of course he is right in the reasoning. But he is most right in slamming the wars critics for their part in adding to the victim mentality he very appropriately mentions.

It wont just be Britain that loses out when he steps down. The thought of a power hungry Brown keen to distance himself from Iraq, an inept Bush, utterly utterly useless at vocalising this situation and worse still those grandstanding policy-light Democrats, shaping the future on this problem sends shivers down my spine.

(p.s imho the manner of Saddams execution was a disaster. That we are instrinsically involved in it by virtue of our prescence there and allowed this get out of hand as it did and find its way into the media like that is more than embarrassing, it was an unmitigated FIASCO)

An invite to America

Always dreamed of going to Mecca, but didn't have the time, the money or the spiritual inclination? starts the article..! hinting at the exciting assortment of pleasures that await you in Sacramento courtesy of the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM, of course!).

Of course there is nothing wrong with holding a religious exhibit promoting your faith to others. But talk about being loaded with nonsense....

SALAMs imam gushes:-

"Above all things, hajj celebrates the diversity of human beings," Azeez said. "No place on Earth has 3 million people, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, saying the same stuff, sleeping in the same places, wearing the same clothes (a simple white gown), worshipping the same God."

Celebrates diversity? How? By forbidding non muslims, segrating women from men? Lets be at least honest.

Indeed he goes on to confirm this in a very roundabout sugar coated fashion:

"It's perhaps the only place on earth where non-Muslims -- who are forbidden to visit the real Mecca -- can experience a bit of hajj, which celebrates the tradition of the prophet Abraham, revered by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, Azeez said"

The irony is subtle. It is less so more generally:

"....Even non-believers were moved by the virtual hajj. " the artcile continues. "After 9/11, I wondered, 'Why are they attacking us,' but they (Muslim Americans) didn't attack us, crazy people attacked us," said Jim Hulcy, who built the Ka'ba and the mountains while his wife, Ladonna, made sure they met fire and safety codes. "I'm an atheist," said Ladonna Hulcy. "I believe in my community, though. We're the human race."

These crazy people (above pic) who cant stand even the smallest criticism ( and havent since the days of at least the Rushdie affair) dont believe in the essence of an equal community though - and they are willing participants to the easy manipulation of Koranic texts to fuel extremism at worse or trumpet Shari'a at 'best'. There is no such thing as atheism in Islam without consequences ...and real equality, women's rights? Forget it. If there are going to be these exposes on 'Islam' such as here in the US or at IslamExpo in the UK then Islam needs to at least face its own demons first and accept its faults FIRST-any responsible 'unbeliever/islam fan' who insists 'islamophobia' is the real modern issue should be promoting the merits of proper debate with some of Islams critics - from amongst its own - if there is any true concern for society's views. Not brushing the issues under the carpets (at Virtual Mecca ) and hinting at the blame elsewhere. Its depressing to think that in sections of America, the proud modern champion of enlightenment values, they can't see that.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Al Qaeda's New Year Message

There are some muslim women for whom freely choosing to wear the veil is merely an attempt to intimidate. Its really the equivalent of donning a nazi uniform, after all.

Al Qaeda agree.

"AL-QAEDA'S deputy leader said yesterday that any Muslim woman who wears the veil in Western countries is a supporter in what he described as a fight between Islam and "Zionist Crusaders".

If you are born in this country and then choose to wear this garb you are making it very clear where you stand in 2007. In turn so am I.

Happy 2007