Friday, March 30, 2007

That useless, feckless, terror-enabling organization

I know I have not posted, and so I have a great deal of catching up to do, including a discussion of my meeting with Elliott Abrams (deputy national security advisor), a producer from the film Obsession, my meeting with the Indian ambassador to the US about Israeli-US-Indian relations (see story about it here), as well as meeting the wife of the author of Myths and Facts about Israel (who runs the CAMERA website) I also have been meaning to write about my interpretation of the meaning of Purim and Passover... So many thoughts in my head...I have been overwhelmed! And I have retreated from blogging. But I am going to try to be better. In the meantime, I think you all should see a video compilation of what is and is not allowed to be discussed at the UN. It may or may not shock you. Long term Culture for All readers should already know that I consider the UN to be a useless, feckless, terror enabling organization that aids and abets terrorism. I believe it should be immediately disbanded and/or moved to France. Perhaps those that disagree might change their minds after watching this:

First Post in a Long Time!

Sorry I have not been posting...I just needed to take a break. But I am back, sort of. I just wanted to post what I wrote on Tsedek's blog. I think you may enjoy reading it. I am curious what you all think!

If you want to hold Israel to a higher set of moral standards, that is your right, as an Israeli and a Jew. My only point is that the world has no right to similarly engage in such conduct. I also think that in YOUR OWN judgement, you seem to be missing the boat on the genocidal threat that Israel faces.

It is inhumane and counter-productive to just go around shooting civilians for no reason. However, it is similarly inhumane to let Israeli civilians die because of a negligence and/or lack of desire to protect Israeli civilians.

I do know Israel is guilty of only ONE of those crimes - the former. (see: capitulation at Sderot) Individual IDF soldiers, as opposed to the state, are guilty of engaging in human rights violations. I am fully aware of this. But this is not because the state glorifies violence or the killing of civilians. Rather, I view the reason to be related to Israel's patheticness in defending its civilians.

I spoke to an IDF combat soldier who fought in Lebanon in 2006, and he said that if he wanted to kill a civilian, he could have ON HIS OWN, and there is little the state would have done about it. This certainly is appalling. (He did not commit such acts.)

But why does this happen?

I believe that individual acts of barbarism on the part of IDF soldiers is directly related to a feeling of helplessness soldiers have when they are told to stand down, when they see rocket launch pads in Gaza. It is the inevitable result. Normally kind, decent people devolve into barbarians when they see the state has failed them.

This is not limited to Israel. Witness the mayhem in Gujarat, India, after the state failed to act after the Godhra train burning. (More on Gujarat right here.)

This is what Israel has in store for it if it continues down the road towards capitulation. It will not be pretty.

You are fearful of 'collective punishment' of Gaza residents. I say that this is of a secondary concern, as the actions in Gaza are a fraction of what needs to happen. (no, I do not mean nuke the whole place - I mean GO AFTER THOSE TRYING TO KILL JEWS) Until Israel does the right thing, there will be increasing numbers of IDF soldiers who go off the deep end and kill civilians, in some misguided notion of vigilante justice. That is my prediction.

Anyway, these are my thoughts. I fear what will happen if the world continues on this current path of capitulation.

These fears become all the more immediate when you wonder what soldiers in Iraq will do, knowing 15 of their comrades in arms were taken hostage by Iran, and Britain is hemming and hawing and muttering "WHAT SHALL WE DO?" in response.

I see bad times ahead.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The darker side of blogging

I find this side of blogging to be quite distasteful. Which part ? The part where women suffer abuse and death threats from cowardly people. Kathy Sierra has gotten death threats in the last few days and has pulled out of giving a speech at a technology conference. She says she does not feel safe leaving her own yard. And she's also calling for the blogsphere to combat this form of abuse. Abusing people via death threats and degrading comments is not free speech. It's stupidity speech. Abuse is always the last line of attack for those people whose particular points of view do not stand up to the acid test of other people's opinions. Though i think this sums up the problem better than I can: "It's this culture of attacking women that has especially got to stop. I really don't care if you attack me. I take those attacks in my stride. But, whenever I post a video of a female technologist there invariably are snide remarks about body parts and other things that simply wouldn't happen if the interviewee were a man," said Robert Scoble author of the technology blog Scobleizer. BBC News Article

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Journeying Back to the Shire

Recently I had the honour of being interviewed by the incomparable Tom Paine for the best Anglospheric podcast around: Shire Network News. It was about my intellectual journey out of Islam and back to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - in other words, my induction into the great Zionist Conspiracy. But that is not what I would like to talk about in this post. I have been listening to Shire Network News for many months now and the quality of commentary is always excellent. The combination of scrutiny and occasional mockery is superb, but there is no analytical depth sacrificed in whatever subject matter is being discussed. It is very clear that the hosts know that their listeners are intelligent people; there is no oratory or polemic being hurled around anywhere. And as a listener, I certainly have never heard them address me as "You people". Each SNN show is something truly rare, and I recommend the podcast highly. It's better than what I hear on radio, given that this podcast is a whole lot more fun and educational. How many shows can boast to have interviewed people like Andrew Roberts, Douglas Murray, Mark Steyn, Raphael Israeli, Robert Spencer, Walid Phares... and so on? Shire Network News. It rocks. (Oh, and Tom: just why the hell is my Cosmic-Zionist-Conspiracy-inductee cheque so late?)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The fight for democracy goes on

It's easy for us in secure democracy's to take them for granted. Not so for many other people across the world. From Burma to Zimbabwe. Each country is in a struggle against oppressive regimes.

Burma has been under military rule for the last couple of decades. It appeared that some progress towards democracy was being made with the 8888 Uprising of 1988 and the following election victory by Aung San Suu Kyi in 1990. However the Military refused to hand over power and made the election null and void. She has been hounded by the Military regime ever since, at this moment in time she is under house arrest. The Military Junta have resisted international pressure to release her from house arrest. I think Aung San Suu Kyi summed up her own future predicament quite well in regards to the ruling Military government in Burma:

It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

Until the people of Burma over come the fear that the Military Junta have on them, then they will keep the Military Junta in power. But even if Aung San Suu Kyi dies at the hands of the Military Junta, her legacy will i believe one day drive somebody to strike back and bring about the downfall of that regime (which has been known to use food as a weapon against rebels and those suspected of helping rebels i.e. The Military places land mines in the fields, so that the villagers cannot harvest the crops and therefore have to flee or otherwise starve to death). International pressure has been mounting, but I'm afraid words are not enough. If we value our own democracy's at all, we should help others achieve the dream of democracy.

Zimbabwe is another trouble spot. The Movement for Democratic Change has been fighting the rule of Robert Mugabe for the last few years. Zimbabwe was once described as the breadbasket of Africa. Not any more. Due to the land seizures of white owned farms, Zimbabwe's economy has gone into free fall, current inflation stands at 1,700%. Around 80% of Zimbabwe's population is now in poverty. Robert Mugabe of course blames all of this on Western governments. He has a particular hatred for the British government (being the former colonial power).

Mr Tsvangirai is the leader of the opposition of the DMC (which has split into two factions), he was recently beaten up quite badly by Mugabe's regime after the opposition tried to stage a peaceful prayer meeting. However Mugabe's regime declared it an illegal protest and those taking part were arrested. African nations have so far been reluctant to put pressure on Mugabe, notably South Africa who have the most influence over Zimbabwe as it supply's a majority of resources to Zimbabwe. Things seem to be changing, though only because it seems Mugabe has moved the next round of elections to 2010 which clashes with the World Cup in South Africa.

I'm hopeful that the situation in Zimbabwe will be resolved in the next few years. A tipping point will come for Mugabe's regime and it will topple. Chaos will most likely follow, but hopefully a strong democracy will emerge from that chaos. Now the point i am trying to make is a very simple one. It is time that we in the West stopped taking democracy for granted and to rid ourselves of the notion that we cannot do anything to change things. We can do a lot and it is quite simple. We use what we take for granted the most. The right to vote.

If a Government does something you don't like, you can punish it by voting on the issues as you see them. But if we sit back and think “My vote won't change anything”, then it is a self fulfilling prophecy. Vote even if the government in power does not lose power, you will add dissenting voices to the political processes that your country has in place.

I think it's crucial we do this. Why ? Because we are facing dangers that lead down a dark and dangerous path. Radical Islam is but one of the threats we face, but that threat seems to be a distant one. 5 years on 9/11 seems to have lost it's impact upon people. Yes we remember the day, but we have been taken on a ride by our political masters. And i believe firmly that the Bush doctrine and War on Terror is fundamentally flawed. We are not in a traditional war in the sense of large armies meeting on the battlefield. We are if you like in a guerrilla war. One that is being fought by radical extremists who have no morals and have no fear of death. We can fight that more effectively by standing up for what we treasure the most. Freedom and the ability to vote.

We should not trade in freedom for security, no matter the threat we face. It is our Freedom that defines us. If we let the terrorists define who we are, then they win. So it's time we started to treat our democracy's with the respect they deserve and to be aware that the freedom that democracy can bring can be taken away in a moment. The fight for democracy goes on. And it is a cause worth fighting for.

Aung San Suu Kyi wiki article

Robert Mugabe wiki article

Friday, March 16, 2007

St. Pancake Day

Now, for some, this may seem a little mean, but today is the anniversary of when Rachel Corrie was turned into a terror pancake, so definitely a day to go down to IHOP or wherever and enjoy some pancakes :) ----------------------- EDIT: Red Tulips: I want this to be clear. Rachel Corrie supported terrorists. (as has been documented extensively here and elsewhere) She was a traitor to her country, and she did what she could to help terrorists kill innocent Israelis. I am not sad she is dead. But I do not delight in her death. This post reflects a parody at the myth of "St. Rachel." It does not delight in Rachel's death. You may now continue your regularly scheduled broadcasting!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Once Upon a Time in the West (Midlands)

THE YEAR, 2007.

My name is Adil. I have been born and raised among dutiful and obedient Muslims, and I aim to misbehave.

Already I have fallen from grace. I am no longer one of them, a reason sufficient for their delicately-placed wrath to have me consigned, in this world and the next, to the most grievous of penalties; for what else should the reward be for those who behave like me, they would say if they knew, but disgrace in this life? So no matter where I go in the realms of Islam, I am a hidden traitor to my people, a renegade without honour to be executed. And for them to know of my apostasy is to know of their fear.

Still, now and again I silently walk among the Muslim flock, to observe their incessant bleating and guilty straying, and see how readily they run to the call of their watchful masters, appointees of God who oversee the enjoining of what is good and the forbidding of what is not. And they remind the herd that He is not unmindful of what they do.

Neither am I.

It is raining. Amid the leaf-green patches and high-rise suburbia, the Muslim flock is on the move. As the call to Friday prayers wafts through the doors of the central mosque, an unholy alliance of men walks up the steps and into its entrance. As they remove and shelve their footwear in the foyer, their bland shalwar kameezes, prayer caps, and fistfuls of scraggly hair growth mingle and compete with exaggerated "bomber" jackets, "condom" hats, and goatee beards. But women, all of whom are safely tucked into hijabs and niqabs, move to an unobtrusive side entrance of the mosque.

The car park nearby is, as is usually the case, a scene of confusion. The non-Muslim policeman on duty is feeling the pressure. These Muslims, it appears, do not know how to park their cars, or at least, not around each other. Out of necessity, the ground of the car park itself is not a flat, smooth tarmac: it consists entirely of small, but sizeable, jagged rocks that pre-emptively puncture the ambitions of opportunistic speeders, who would care to exhibit the marvels of their machines. For the more likely that young, fertile, non-Muslim women live and reside in a vicinity, the greater are the efforts invested into displaying male plumage.

But there are males who are aware that sabotaging this holy day in the service of reproductive pursuits is not usually the same as siding with God. As their souped-up, low-slung cars cruise into this arena that is a car park under heavy siege, some of them dutifully decide that it is now appropriate, perhaps, to stop pumping out hip-hop and bhangra. And when the inhabitants of these vehicles finally emerge, together they look like an odd lot. Most conform to the usual urban "rude-boy" stereotype, given how obvious their efforts are in trying to appear "accidentally" attractive; the rest look as if they have just returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca: moustaches are trimmed, beards are not, and the trousers of their long, white jilbabs are jacked above the ankles.

It has long been thus: welcome to this outpost of Islamic civilisation, a colony where the stridency of the faithful collides with vogues that were once confined to the underclass of non-Muslim British society. Muhammad is not just the newest, and the final, of God's prophets; Muhammad is the newest, and the final, of the bling-bling superstars. Since the Rushdie Affair, and more recently the Cartoon jihad, even the most irreligious of the street-savvy Muslim rude-boys have come to know of the new universal limits: nobody disses Mo, the Final Gangster of all time and a Mercy to all the worlds.

Such are the strong sensibilities of those Muslims who are deprived of all high culture, and have only a very nominal sense of their own religious background. If you drew Muhammad sporting gold jewellery, a tailor-made condom hat, a goatee, wraparound orange shades, and tell him to strike a pose, they will not be amused. They will not giggle at how "hard" the prophet is. And, to paraphrase from the movie Pulp Fiction, they will go jahiliyya on your ass. Mo's turf is the entire planet, and his homeboys, which range from imams to the most ridiculous of their underclass congregants, are busy trying to strut their stuff on it.

And many are succeeding.

As I walk into the prayer hall of the mosque, the signs of this being a place for worship are clear: the carpets are arranged in the direction of Mecca, stacks of Korans line the shelves, prayer beads swing from cupboard handles, and an imam is addressing his congregation with a typical sermon, a tedious khutbah admonishing them all and steadfastly calling them to the way of God. By now, the mosque is packed.

Having once belonged to the ranks of believers, I have always understood that heartfelt prayer is to a man's turbulent mind what water is to a flame. For some people, prayer encourages inner tranquillity and peace, and subdues their seething waves of anger, the fiery discontent that simmers away in their heart. And this is an end in itself for some faiths. Not so for Islam: Congregational prayer has always been preferred over individual worship; prayer is just one step on the pathway to mobilising human action within a community. The mosque is more than just a Muslim church; it is like the equivalent of the old Roman forums.

As such, there is little in the way of serenity to be found in mosques. Instead, other things occupy the minds of these congregants. After the prayers, and once the imam's appeal to God to aid the Muslim "resistance" in Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan and so on, ad nauseum, is finally over, I walk over to near where a discussion in Urdu is taking place among some men, including the imam. They are talking about how the police apparently like causing their community trouble.

Not so long ago, the area nearby the central mosque was swamped with media reporters and photographers, after terror arrests had been made of some Muslim men living in the vicinity, men who were thought to have been plotting to kidnap a British Muslim soldier and behead him as punishment for aiding the "dirty kuffar". The embarrassment of the community and its leaders was palpable. The chairman of the mosque tried to take the mature line during the whole fray and declared that the raids were obviously part of a government conspiracy to make upstanding, well-respected, and peace-loving Muslims look bad. And the media, which was promptly dubbed by the community as an arm of an anti-Islamic war machine, searched in vain for reasonable concerns coming from within about radical Muslims.

The press did encounter some other interesting things however. One was a sign of the importance attached to good manners by Muslims in the community, as seen in one press photo: a few women, one of whom is pushing her child's buggy, are walking down the street. All are clad in dark niqabs. One of these upstanding, peace-loving Muslim women, who has spectacles jutting out in front of the slit that allows her eyes to peek through, proceeds to salute the flood of press and photographers by sticking two fingers up at them.

I want to ask the imam of this mosque something. Incompetents like him sometimes amuse me. I get my chance when the discussion group finally disperses and he steps away towards the doors.

"Assalaamu Alaikum", I say. I smile and hold out my hand.

"Wa-alaikum salaam" he replies. He shakes my hand, but only by tentatively gripping my fingers, not the palm. Arrogant sod.

"I'm sorry to bother you, but I'd like your advice on a couple of things, if that's okay."

He is not looking at me. He seems rather distracted by the shape of the door he was just heading towards.

"Please be quick. I am in rush."

Okay. I begin with a random question.

"My professor says that natural selection is the only source of life on this earth. What does Islam have to say about this?"

He looks at me for a few seconds, puzzled. "Evolution? Evolution?" he asks. I nod.

"Yaar, it is not allowed. All mad dreams." He waves his hand dismissively.


"Okay, I'll look into that. The other thing is that Hizb-ut-Tahrir has been tellling me to join their group to implement the caliphate. They say it's obligatory for me as a Muslim to join and help them to work towards this. What do I do? Are they right?

"Aray yaar, these kids. Small groups. No knowledge. Nothing."

"So what should I say to them?"

"Ignore. Ignore".

"But how are they wrong?"

He is tiring of this conversation.

"They are not knowing".

"They don't know what?"

"Uff, do not ask me such things".


But he walks off, with nary a salaam in the wind.

The believers are now feeling suitably chastised and worked up in equal measure, and they file out of the mosque. But there are those for whom the opportunity to chastise has only just begun. As worshippers leave the mosque, they are handed leaflets by Hizb-ut-Tahrir, leaflets that usually rail against an ongoing war against, apparently, Islam, as well as this and that obstacle to the implementation of the mighty khilafah, a universal Islamic state that is said to be the necessary solution given the group's lengthy diagnosis of the ills availing the Muslim world. Usually young, in their 20s and 30s, the supporters of the group are a waste of a generation. They mark out their territory in front of the mosque with a stall selling books and magazines, and their junior supporters, typically smartly suited and booted, coolly patrol the vicinity in search of unsuspecting Muslims, who have not yet realised the potentials of their faith. The flyers and leaflets they hand out freely are all paid out of their pockets.

I walk over to the stall, where a few people are already talking animatedly. Or rather, the designated person looking after the stall is gesticulating energetically. He is not pleased. Your Muslim brothers and sisters are being massacred around the world by the West, he says. There is a hint of embarrassment in the questioner's face at being subjected to such an unexpected display of emotion. No matter how privately posed a question on world affairs may be, it is a religious obligation for the Hizb-ut-Tahrir speaker to spread word of the injustices perpetrated against Muslims far and wide. Any conversation is explored for opportunities for howling oratory. But what is also clear from this spectacle is that senior members of the group are carefully observing the member's performance from the sidelines. And he knows it.

After a while, the man with the question purchases some literature and moves on. I pretend to be looking at a book entitled "The Economic System of Islam". The guy in charge of the stall now turns his attention to me. He seems quite aware that I was in earshot of his little rehearsed monologue.

"Assalaamu Alaikum, brother", he says.

"Wa-alaikum salaam", I reply.

He says nothing, but keeps looking at me expectantly.

"So", I say, smiling.

"Brother, have you been given one of these leaflets?" He holds out one for me to take. I already have one. His accent is a slurred English, although he is clearly more articulate than the imam. I have had many run-ins with the group's suburban mujahideen elsewhere, and I know their type well.

"Actually, no", I lie. "So, what's a khilafah? What does it look like?".

He is pleased at the question, but before answering he quickly glances around to gauge earshot potential. He already knows his seniors are listening.

"Brother, the Islamic khilafah is the Islamic State. It was destroyed in 1924, and ruling by Islam in the state and society ceased", he says emphasising the last word. "Ruling by Islam ceased when the khilafah was destroyed by corrupt rulers who were agents of the kuffar".


"Brother, the implementing of the khilafah is a great obligation upon each and every Muslim. It is haram [forbidden] to remain for more than three days without a pledge to a khaleefah being on your neck. It is haram to rule by anything other than Islam and to stay silent about the implementation of kufr laws over us".

His voice is carrying across the courtyard and he shifts to third-person.

"Due to this, Muslims all over the world are sinful in the sight of Allah and they will all receive punishment except those who involve themselves in establishing the khilafah and restore the ruling by that which Allah has revealed. The sin will not be lifted from their necks until the khilafah is established, and whosoever dies without a bay'ah [oath of allegiance to a would-be khaleefah] on his neck will die the death of jahiliyyah [ignorance]."

As Americans are fond of saying: like, whoa.

"So, it is obligatory for every Muslim to help establish the khilafah?", I ask.

"Yes, brother". He looks at me pointedly. "The daleel [evidence] is laid out in the Koran and the Sunnah, and any Muslim who refuses to help establish the khilafah has committed a clear act of kufr and this takes them outside the fold of Islam".

His mention of apostasy is pregnant with implications of punishment by death. And by this time, more of his colleagues are gathering around to listen to this exchange.

"So, you're basically saying: it's obligatory for every Muslim to be subject to all the laws and customs of Islam but the only way for this to come about is by establishing the khilafah, right?"

"Brother, it's not me who is saying this". He holds up a Koran. "Rather, this is God's command to each of us as laid out in the Koran and Sunnah. To be ruled by Islam is an obligation upon our necks. Establishing the khilafah is the only method for establishing Islam over our heads. Only in the presence of the khilafah can the laws of Islam exist and in its absence they are suspended. Brother, there is a very important, well-known Shari'ah principle that says: that which is necessary to achieve an obligation is itself an obligation".

Much of this explains why many of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir members I have met think themselves superior to those Muslims who are considerably more religious than themselves. If you happen to believe that you are already working towards the greatest obligation, that of establishing the khilafah, then all the other religious stuff can just, well, get in line.

"Isn't that principle illogical, though?", I reply. "That's like saying: It's obligatory to free slaves, so it's therefore obligatory to keep slaves so we can free them".

The area goes quiet. The man behind the stall is unsure of how to respond.

"Who's talking about slaves here, brother?"

This is the best response he can come up with?

"What is your name?" comes a voice from behind him. A fat man with spectacles steps forward.

"How is that relevant?"

"Because you do not have knowledge. You clearly need to gain knowledge. You should discuss these matters in greater detail with us - in private".

It seems I have touched upon a criticism that his colleagues were not trained to publicly respond to.

"Actually, you haven't answered my original question", I reply.

"God's logic is not the same as your logic. These things cannot be understood unless one has understand the proofs as laid out in the Koran and Sunnah, and this means learning the process of extracting them, by first having knowledge of how one may reason about the manaat [reality] of the text".

He seems touchy.

"What's the difference between your version of Islam and that of this mosque's?", I ask.

"There are no versions of Islam. There is only one Islam, that of God and His Prophet. Who are you to be asking such questions?", he says.

There is actually not much difference between the "moderates" and Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Islamic teachings stipulate that if a Muslim ever happens to find himself in a position of power, no matter where he is, then there is a clear religious obligation upon him to implement the laws of Islam. That is what Muslims usually described as moderate or traditional believe. The main difference is that moderates believe that the establishing of Islamic Shari'ah is conditional, since it depends upon having a Muslim in power in the first place. If there is no Muslim in power, then there is no religious obligation to reach that point. However, they have every desire to implement Shari'ah, given that Islam's own vision of itself has become locked such that it cannot pretend to exist as a minority culture. Hizb-ut-Tahrir, on the other hand, believes there are no strings attached in the pursuit of power. The reign of Islam is religiously obligatory, and whatever leads to it also becomes automatically obligatory. Both are deeply anti-Semitic, anti-women, homophobic, anti-science, and anti-freedom. They are dangerous movements and need to be combated strenuously. Moderates and militants differ in degree, not in kind. One is not the solution to the other.

In fact, militant Islamists spend more marketing effort in distancing themselves from the moderates than vice-versa. The more militant a group is, the more effort they spend in delegitimising those who are less so. Hizb-ut-Tahrir markets itself as being heavily divergent from moderates, and constantly brings attention to what it sees as huge errors in the moderate position. While there is little of actual substance between the two, given the main difference is over a question of whether a certain principle is to be expressed conditionally or not, most Muslims have come to accept Hizb-ut-Tahrir's line that the differences to, and errors in, the moderates are huge.

Moderate imams and their colleagues therefore face a dilemma. On the one hand, they refuse to take on the ideology of radical Islamists for fear of looking incompetent to Muslims at large; on the other hand, by refusing to police the radicals the imams look incompetent to non-Muslims at large. The truth is that they are incompetent on both counts; radical Islamists and the not-so radical imams are not so terribly far apart in their aspirations. One seeks to advance their cultural supremacism in a clear-cut way by installing a universal Islamic state, and the other seeks to spread it diffusely, with weakest areas being targeted first. Differences between the two are mostly down to questions over methodology.

The solution adopted in the face of the dilemma is thus: Most Muslim leaders and communities attempt to alleviate their public incompetence by shifting the burden of action onto non-Muslims, claiming that unless they start acting responsibly by stop acting so "belligerently" towards Muslims, then "small groups with little knowledge" will flourish and be attracted towards extreme ideas. Indeed, the chairman of the mosque described has updated this argument of late: these extreme groups, which range from Hizb-ut-Tahrir to al-Qaeda, are all government conspiracies.

Now I am feeling rather more uncomfortable than I did when I entered the mosque's vicinity. There are plenty of people milling around me, but there is also this group of unimpressed-looking men asking me who I am and what I am up to. The fat Hizb-ut-Tahrir man with spectacles is trying his best to be intimidating, but he seems unsure as to whether I'm buying it. I'm not.

"Let me ask you, what if it turns out to be true that those who were arrested last month actually were planning to murder that British Muslim soldier?", I ask.

"Astaghfirullah. And let me ask you, you call that kafir a Muslim? Let me ask you, where is the evidence that these well-respected, peace-loving community members have done wrong? Show me! People are supposed to be innocent until proved guilty, yet the kuffar accuse Muslims of being guilty through trial by media. The kuffar accuse us advocating a police state, yet try to silence Muslims so they can justify their foreign policy! Why? So they can get on with the butchering of Islam and abuses of Muslims across the world!" He jabs his finger violently in my direction. "You need to smell the coffee! Tell me, where do you stand? Do you support the harm done against this Muslim community?"

"I think you're hysterical", I say.

"Hysterical? Hysterical? What about our Muslim sisters and children in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan? Tell me, do they have no right to be hysterical about their situation? Do you expect us all to just sit back and enjoy seeing our Muslim sisters being ripped of their honour at the dirty hands of the kuffar? Especially when an apostate aids the kuffar in abusing their dignity and livelihoods? Do you expect us to stay silent and instead dance to Bush and Blair's tune? Tell me!"

"You're misguided, aren't you?"

"This is a Muslim area. Get out", says one of his comrades.

"Actually, sunshine, this is my country."

Now several guys are facing me. Some step closer. But there are many people still in the vicinity.

"You would contemplate attacking me? For what? What do you think you can get away with in broad daylight?", I ask.

"I do not suffer apostates", the fat man says.

"You want to take over this country? Over my dead body".

He stares at me directly. His look is almost apologetic.

"Yes, exactly. That is the material point".

And they chuckle.

This article has been adapted from a book that Adil is currently writing.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Oh dear, we Brits are really screwed now...

So for crimes against humanity we owe the world £31 trillion in Reparations. The International Coalition for British Reparations. I have no idea if this serious or just a joke. One of the facts:

Are you racists?

No. We don't believe this is due to any inherent defect in the character of the British people. Stretching more than a millennium to the crowning of Alfred the Great in 871, the British Monarchy is simply one of the oldest continuous governmental bodies on earth. For centuries, its power over its citizens was nearly absolute. By the dawn of the 20th century, it controlled nearly one third of the globe. But while other totalitarian reigns have been put on trial and forced to make amends, the British crown has maintained its grip on power, and so avoided being called to account for its numerous crimes against humanity.

First off the crown did not control the Empire. In fact the Royal Family's grip on power started to wane after the English Civil war. By the 1800's the early form of parliamentary democracy was taking shape. The Queen has no real power. Instead those powers have been transferred to the Prime Minister of the day. Who is an elected official. Though i guess we can probably reclaim most of North America and sell it off to pay the $31 trillion. Foxnews is going to be all over this. America is virtually bankrupt, banks call the debts in, wave bye bye to the world economy. Still the site is quite amusing. We will pay it back in tea and crumpets. Further research on the net reveals that this site is just a method for Steven Grasse to promote his new book "Evil Empire: 101 Ways That Britain Ruined the World". Republican supporter and a self employed advertising executive is Mr Grasse. More details about him can be found here.

Ann Coulter at it again

With her razor sharp wit: COULTER: Oh, and I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards. But it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word "faggot," so I'm -- so I'm kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards. So I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions. Source: Media matters I get quite annoyed by people who make those kinds of offensive remarks about politicians. If you want to attack a politician you attack their public office record and performances. Using terms such as faggot to describe a politician is not that intelligent and only creates an atmosphere of negativity around politics in general. Which turns people off from taking part in the political process. I couldn't care less if a politician i voted for was gay. When i vote, i look at a politicians political ability and view points on issues that actually matter. Sexuality is a thorny issue for a lot of people. But at the end of the day we are all human beings who fall in love with other human beings, who might be of the same sex or of the opposite sex. It doesn't make us less human if we are Straight, Lesbian or Gay. It's just one piece of the puzzle that makes us human. Life is quite short when you think about it. I'd rather spend my time debating issues that matter. Like Climate change (whatever the outcome), to the fight against terrorism and tackling world poverty (both issues are linked to climate change in varying degrees). So Anne Coulter is an idiot, who makes money out of other like minded idiots. She adds nothing meaningful to the political debate, in fact she is far more of a threat to America than any liberal ever could be. I did have a point but i seem to have lost in the fog at this hour of the morning. However i bring you.... Anne Coulter vs Jeremy Paxman:

Thursday, March 1, 2007

US versus THEM

I wrote the following email to a friend of mine, when he complained that Moderate Muslims have no reason to side with America/Israel/the West in general, as America/Israel/the West in general is no better (for them) than the alternative. I wrote up a brief statement in refutation, and I hope you like it! --------- Living in America, for all its faults - and there are many faults - Muslims are treated a million times better than they are by corrupt Islamic regimes. Living in Israel, for all its faults - and there are many faults - Muslims (Arab Israelis, Bedouins), are treated a million times better than their alternative. (the horrific Hamas/Fatah 'government' of the Palestinian territories) Muslims have more civil rights in Israel than they do in the Palestinian Territories, where goons are running the show. India has its butchers from Gujarat, and that cannot be excused, and will remain forever a black mark in India's history. I am not justifying or excusing what happened, and I know that there were literal baby killers. I would justify life imprisonment for anyone responsible, and execution of anyone who raped Muslim women. (I hold rape to be a worse crime than murder, that is my personal morals, but anyway) But why did the Gujarat riots happen? They happened because of Indian government policies which were enabling Islamic terror (the catalyst being the inaction to the Godhra train mob attack), and the thought that Hindus had to take the law into their own hands. And yet that said, the life of a Muslim in India, for all its problems, is still far better than in Pakistan, or Bangladesh. The US has never resorted to such mass rioting. Neither has, amazingly enough, Israel. But my point is that the only way to prevent another dip into barbarism again (which the Gujarat riots were), there must be a movement of Muslims to condemn terror groups to the point where terror groups know they will not get any support from their fellow Muslims, and even be branded un-Islamic. (this has yet to happen) There is no moral equivalency between the US, Israel, or the West and the thugs I speak of. Remember, these are organizations who are killing more Muslims than anyone else. And life in Saudi Arabia and Iran is what it is. Lest we forget, people have been killed in Iran for the 'crime' of homosexuality, or the 'crime' of sex outside of marriage. (including a 16 year old girl, who was raped, and then hung for that 'crime') In Saudi Arabia, someone who is caught stealing a loaf of bread has his hands chopped off! Torture? They have torture down to an art form! You really feel that there is a comparison between the US and these nations? And for all the US's strengths and faults, there is no way it is smart enough to invent such divisions of Sunni and Shia. In short, I don't advocate torture or imprisonment without some sort of a hearing. I never advocated this, and I don't advocate it. But to proclaim that the American abuses of human rights is equivalent to anything in the Islamic world (hey, forget Islamic, let's include China and Russia - they are not fond of human rights there, either, and are linked with Islamists!) is simply missing the mark. I have no problem with you setting a higher standard for YOURSELF than you do others. And so certainly I hold the US to much higher human rights standards when looking at the United States individually. But when I compare the US to other countries, I am proud to be an American.

Is the IDF using 'human shields' in the West Bank?

A recent ISRAELI report holds that the IDF has been using 'human shields' in its operation in Nablus. There was on-scene filming by Channel 10 news, and the Jerusalem Post reported this as using 'human shields.' Haaretz, Arutz Sheva, and Y Net News have not weighed in on this yet. What is it that happened? It is clear from the photos on JPost's website that a Palestinian was used to open the door to a home that might have weapons/guns/munitions, in order to basically prevent the person inside from opening fire on the IDF. This was already ruled illegal by the Israeli Supreme Court. I ask you kind folks whether this should be considered the use of 'human shields.' Lest we forget the difference between this and what the Palestinians do - they use human shields to protect weapons factories and terrorists. The IDF, in this instance, used the Palestinian to prevent open fire on the IDF, and a resulting return fire. Some of the human shields' Palestinians use are voluntary, and some are not. In the case of the Palestinian used by the IDF, it most probably was NOT voluntary. Is this morally the same thing? My thought is that this is NOT the same thing. Israel used this person in order to PREVENT gun fire from erupting (due to Palestinians protecting munitions sites), and SAVE lives. The Palestinians use human shields in order to shame Israel when it acts in its military capacity to seek out terrorists (by inadvertant death to civilians - in other words, the Palestinians WANT these civilians to die), or to prevent the IDF from going after weapon factories, and gun and drug smuggling tunnels. In short, the motives are totally different. War is hell. Sometimes tactics such as what was recently used by the IDF are necessary...and the term 'human shield' has a politically loaded implication and should NOT be used to describe what the IDF did. Yet the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that measures used to protect the lives of the IDF are illegal. They are hampering the war effort. And for that matter, just who is on the Israeli Supreme Court, anyway? This is an issue, as there evidently is a court limitation bill in the works. Carl in Jerusalem wrote a report...and it may surprise you.

Anti-Israel hatred at universities

I attended a top-notch undergrad school. At my undergrad school, I was simply apolitical and apathetic with regards to Israel. The four memories I have concerning Israel are as follows...
  • During my last semester at college, I took a writing class concerning the theory of space. The prof would mention Israel with regularity, calling Sharon some sort of a monster.
  • I remember having a conversation with a "progressive" back in 2000 or so, and telling her I wouldn't vote for Nader in part because he was anti-Israel. This "progressive" said she was pro-Palestinian, and this was a positive position of Nader's.
  • Hanan Ashrawi, a spokesperson for the PLO, came to speak at my alma mater. I didn't pay attention to this, but I recall there were Hillel groups who were upset with her. (Please note the Camera link about this woman)
  • Many undergrads were applying to go to Birthright Israel, a free trip to Israel, but at the time, pre-Intifada, (I am oooold), Birthright had a massive waiting list! During the Intifada, no one wanted to go, sadly.
These are the totality of my memories concerning Israel, as an undergrad. My impression is that things have radically changed in the years since I have graduated. Please read the following article about 'Palestine Awareness Week" at Saint Louis University. You will see how there is a concerted effort to indoctrinate students into hating Israel, and blaming the Jews for the world's problems. This is hardly an isolated incident. Columbia University is an Ivy League school that is widely seen as one of the best in the world. Note who the Chairman of the Mideast Studies Department is - Rashid Khalidi. This individual also has served as the President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in 1994. Mr. Khalidi publishes the Journal of Palestine Studies, a Palestinian propoganda journal that regularly refers to the creation of Israel as "an-Nakba," (catastrophe in Arabic) Mr. Khalidi famously said "the tragedy of September 11 was a godsend” to “American Likudniks and their Israeli counterparts” because it “enabled them to draft the United States to help fight Israel’s enemies.” (source) In addition, Mr. Khalidi is responsible for gross plagiarism of his 'academic' works. (source) Essentially, Mr. Khalidi, who is the Chair of Columbia's 'Mideast Studies' Department, was Arafat's minion. (source) Juan Cole was the most recent president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America. Juan Cole is, like Khalidi, a propogandist. He has been known to bend the truth to his liking when it suits him, including the absurd claim that Ahmedinejad (aka Dinnerjacket) never said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map. (source) Mr. Cole also stated some of the following things...

The Neocons wanted to knock down Saddam, Khamenei and al-Asad in hopes that those countries would be so weakened and preoccupied with internal power struggles that Sharon would have an unimpeded opportunity to pursue his dreams of Greater Israel.” (source)

It may be that the powerful Likudniks inside the US government are deliberately engineering a diplomatic rift in NATO, so as to ensure that Paris and Moscow cannot position themselves to influence Washington’s position (usually supine) toward Sharon’s excesses.” (source)

Paul Wolfowitz’ attitude to NATO allies is “so gratuitous and immature that one can only guess something else lay behind it,” that something being a wish to create bad blood between the U.S. government and states that are, in Cole terms “no longer a knee-jerk supporter of Israeli militarism and expansionism.” (source)
For more on Juan Cole, please read here. Mr. Cole is a professor in the Mideast Studies Department at another prestigious school - the University of Michigan. And for the creme de la creme of academia, Harvard, Culture for All already covered the firing of president Lawrence Summers for noting the anti-Israel bent of academia! The anti-Israel entrenchment of academia runs far and wide. Remember, I am not citing junior professors. I am citing some of the top professors in the field. And this is just the US. At Oxford, for example, Tariq Ramadan is teaching - a known propogandist for the Muslim Brotherhood. And lest we forget, Culture for All already profiled Karen Armstrong. What should be done? There is no clear answer. It is troubling to see lies taught as fact in universities across the world. It makes one wonder what sort of primrose path the world is heading down.