Taxicab talk: The world has changed

How are you today?

I’m good, ma’am. Where you heading?

Fortieth, Fifth. How are you today?

I’m good. New York Public Library?

Yes. I’m depressed. You must be depressed.

Sorry, can you say that again?

I’m so depressed. Aren’t you depressed?

No, I’m not depressed, ma’am. You are my passenger and I get to take you where you wanna go. Why are you depressed on such a beautiful day — if it’s OK to ask?

You don’t know? Aren’t you depressed? Oh, I’m so depressed.

I’m sorry to hear that.

I don’t know. This is so bad. It changes everything.

Er, I’m sorry. What changes everything?

The election. ­­—Oh, I get it. You only just arrived. Where are you from?

Originally? I’m from Kinshasa. The Congo.

The Congo? Is that in—?

Africa.

I thought so.

So when did you come to the US?

I came to America in 1997. It will be twenty years ago in June.

Your English is very good.

Thank you, ma’am.

You must be really worried since the election.

I can’t say that I am, ma’am.

Aren’t you worried how bad things can get for immigrants.

You mean about Trump?

Yes! He said some really bad things. He’s going to do some really bad things.

I’ve heard some things here and there, ma’am. But from what I know of America, they have elections every four years, guaranteed, no matter what.

But have you considered how much damage he can do before then?

How much damage he can do?

Yes. Affordable Healthcare, marriage equality, abortion, immigration, and all the good things Obama has done. It’s never been so bad. The world has changed.

The world?

Yes, the world.

Then what happens after four years?

Then we have all this damage. You’ve been here twenty years. You must know that.

Maybe I’m still learning, ma’am. But in three years and ten months’ time you can change it all back. No hard feelings. That’s what I like about America.

You like four years of Trump?

I don’t know. I drive my cab, take people where they want to go. They pay me. I feed my children. I’m happy. I don’t vote, but I understand more people are happy with trump than people who are unhappy with Trump. They gave him their votes. Secret votes. Free votes. You can vote for anybody you like. Even a black man can be the President of United States. When Obama became the President, everybody said it proved how great America is: anybody can be President, if he can get enough votes. So I see the same thing again. A man gets enough votes and he becomes President. America is still great. I’m safe.

But Trump? Donald Trump?

I don’t understand, but if I can ask, did Trump take the country by force with his own army?

That’s impossible. There are no private militias in our country. We have the ballot. One person one vote.

Will Trump suspend the Constitution?

That’s impossible. The Supreme Court will not allow it.

Will Trump arrest all the judges and close down the Supreme Court?

That’s impossible. We have the Rule of Law.

Will Trump ban all political parties and keep only his own?

That’s impossible. We have a democratic system.

Will his birthday become a national holiday for seven days?

What?

Will he rename Washington D.C. after himself?

What?

Will everybody who is not his family lose their job in the government?

That’s insane!

My children can still go to school, even if I do not vote for trump?

Where are all these questions coming from?

Will he arrest anybody who insults him?

We have the First Amendment. Why are you asking all these crazy questions?

Will he move all the money out of the Federal Reserve Bank into his own Swiss Bank account?

Of course not. He’d be impeached!

Will Trump declare himself Life-President?

That’s impossible. A President can only serve for two terms.

And for the second time he must again be elected like before.

Exactly.

So he can be elected for a second time after he did all his bad things the first time — no firing squad even?

Yes—I mean, no! I mean it would be really, really bad if he got re-elected.

So even after all that, there is still another election and the one with the most votes still becomes the President.

Yes, but…

Haish! If Congo was like America, I would not be driving cabs in New York.

At least you’ve got an exotic escape. I’m happy for you.

Here we are, ma’am: New York Public Library. That’ll be seven dollars and forty cents.

Keep the change. I’m so depressed. You take care of yourself. Really. I mean it.

“only if you were able to remove the Koran from Muslims’ hearts.”

“O America,” Adnani said. “Would we be defeated and you be victorious if you were to take Mosul or Sirte or Raqqa? . . . Certainly not! We would be defeated and you victorious only if you were able to remove the Koran from Muslims’ hearts.”

Thus reports Robin Wright in her latest New Yorker piece, After The Islamic State, without comment. I am wondering whether this is her clever way of getting the message out there without falling foul of the censorship that Western media have imposed on themselves in respect of Islam, or laying herself open to attack by the “Islamophobia” mobs.

Adnani was a terrorist and, alhamdullillah, he is now working his way through his allotted 72 virgins. As this blog, and so many others have been saying repeatedly, if you want to see Islam, look no further than ISIS. No one knows Islam better than ISIS. No one is more honest about Islam than ISIS. And Adnani, evil as he was, was right. There have been may ISISes down the centuries. One by one they’ve been defeated, and one by one they arose again. Why? Because the victors had failed to, “remove the Koran from Muslims’ hearts.”

If you are not wondering about how to achieve that, then you cannot claim to be serious about solving the problem of Islam, its terrorism obviously hasn’t affected you too badly yet, and you’ve not yet tasted Shari’a.

Islamic apologetics stands firm in the face of Muslim terrorist car rammings and knife attacks

The Star Tribune is not my go-to paper for social critique, and I was not surprised to read a particularly puerile piece of apologia, History abounds with contributions of Islam to civilization, by the “writer and social activist” Omar Alansari-Kreger on its website today. The piece has all the signs of having been thrown together in haste, and I wonder whether the recent spate of terrorist car rammings and knife attacks perpetrated by Somali youths, of whom Minneapolis, the Star Tribune’s base, has a significant number, was the impetus. This is how Alansari-Kreger sets things up.

Islam has been portrayed as something reprehensible. …There exists an impression that Muslims are inherently oppressed by virtue of their faith, portrayed as a religion with little tolerance for dissent, and quick to liquidate detractors. …Certainly, extremists [read: critics of Islam] …help preserve the slanted narrative that drives the modern-day perception of Islam.

He then juxtaposes this with:

Yet, how many outsiders ask the simple questions: What is Islam? What are the beliefs of Muslims? And what are Islam’s core contributions to the world?

Does he then proceed to answer these “simple questions” that many outsiders are supposedly so loathe to ask? No. Instead, he takes his readers back more than a thousand years to what he perceives as safe territory, Islam’s Golden Age, and a safe aspect of the then culture, scientific discoveries and technical inventions. “Contrary to conventional belief,” says Alansari-Kreger, “the Islamic civilization of centuries past was the world’s premier intellectual superpower.”

Not only are Muslim scientists’ and engineers’ contributions to the world not in dispute, the irrelevance of this red herring couldn’t be clearer than from Alansari-Kreger’s own words: “modern-day perception of Islam,” to which he offers, “Islamic civilization of centuries past.” This is how Alansari-Kreger hopes to salvage the damned reputation of his religion (and it might work; if his readers are as willing to be manipulated as he assumes them to be).

Let’s just briefly look at what he does have to say about the world’s premier intellectual superpower of centuries past. He mentions the contributions of three individuals, Hasan ibn al-Haytham, Abbas ibn Firnas and Fatima al-Fihri, by no means amongst either the most important or the most prominent. Nevertheless, almost all of the examples can just as easily serve to answer the begged question that Alansari-Kreger does not ask, “What went wrong?” If Islam was the world’s premier intellectual superpower centuries past, why is it no longer? The answer might lie in the lives of these accomplished individuals themselves.

Hasan ibn al-Haytham was unquestionably a brilliant man. He had the perfectly sensible idea of damming the Nile at what is today Aswan. But his site analysis revealed such a project to be beyond the superpower’s technical abilities at the time. Rather than revealing this truth to the caliph and risking a beheading, he had to pretend to have gone mad and thereby managed to save himself, an effective self-beheading, one might say.

The only reason Fatima al-Fihri had set up her University of Quaraouiyine in Fez is because her family had to flee the bloody persecutions of the Aghlabid Emir in Qayrawan, capital of the then Emirate of Ifriqiya (present-day Tunisia), vassal of the Abbasid Caliphate. So large was the influx of refugees from Qayrawan into Fez, that that part of the city now bears the name Karaouiyne, as does the neighbouring Andalous from the influx refugees from one of the other jewels in the crown of the Islamic superpower, al-Andalus.

One such Andalusian refugee who spent his final years in Fez was none other than the great philosopher and jurist Abu al-Walid ibn Rushd (who died in Marrakech in 1198). He fell foul of the caliph after having spent years trying to reconcile the Qur’an with reason, and coming out on the side of reason. Alansari-Kreger’s “premier intellectual superpower” of centuries past was destroyed by Islam itself, exactly as it is trying to destroy today’s the premier intellectual superpower. Islam’s Somali foot soldiers are ramming cars into students on university campuses and then knifing them to maximise the killing.

…all of which makes me wonder what Alansari-Kreger is really up to.

A challenge to peaceful Muslims and to Islamic apologists

I find it very hard to believe that Robin Wright has actually read Rumiyah, Issue 2 of October 2016. A Muslim ploughed a car into pedestrians at Ohio State University, then got out and attacked the horrified pedestrians with a knife. Of course it was a Muslim terrorist and there was every chance of a connection with ISIS. So tracing his actions back to an actual ISIS source counts to Wright’s credit, though this, too, is a no-brainer. Input: Knife attack + America + ISIS. Output: The Hand Of Isis At Ohio State. Sure enough, ISIS’s knife attack instructions are there on pages 12–13, in all their glorious barbaric detail, and Wright is accurate in her account of those instructions. But how did she miss the conclusion, at the end of page 13?

The overall objective of any just terror operation is to bring horror and misery to the enemies of Allah, and to remind them that their efforts to wage war against Islam and the Muslims will only lead to more and more mujahidin appearing in their very midst, ready to strike them mercilessly on their own soil. So, “Let them find harshness in you” (At-Tawbah 123 [Chapter 9 of the Qur’an]). And remember that Allah’s Messenger said, “Never shall the kafir and his killer be united in the Fire” (Reported by Muslim from Abu Hurayrah [A hadith]).

Maybe it was too general, as in, not specific enough, unlike the meticulous knife murder instruction. Maybe. But Robin Wright has been a contributing writer for newyorker.com since 1988, with a string of other major media outlets to her name. Did this passage that she quoted not at least strike her as uniquely mediaeval?

Many people are often squeamish at the thought of plunging a sharp object into another person’s flesh. It is a discomfort caused by the untamed, inherent dislike for pain and death, especially after ‘modernization’ distanced males from partaking in the slaughtering of livestock for food and striking the enemy in war.

Wasn’t she even tempted to take just a peek at the rest of the thirty-eight pages? If she had, she’d have found the very first paragraph to say:

When mentioning the obligation of jihad for His cause, Allah indicated that some people would have reservations towards this noble commandment. He said, “Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it contains that which you dislike” (Al-Baqarah 216 [Chapter 2 of the Qur’an]). He then reminded the believers to place their trust in Him, by deferring to His infinite wisdom instead of relying upon their limited knowledge. “But perhaps you dislike a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not” (Al-Baqarah 216). He further taught them that if it were not for jihad, the world would be filled with corruption. “And if it were not for Allah curbing people by means of others, the earth would become corrupt, but Allah has much bounty for the creation” (Al-Baqarah 251).

Three times in an eighty-nine word opening paragraph, the Qur’an is quoted directly as the prelude for what is to follow. And what follows is page after page of incontestable demonstration that not only is the hand of ISIS on the knife, as Wright correctly reports, but the mouth of Allah is behind the commandments that the knife fulfils. ISIS is meticulous (to PhD standard; not just “slick,” as Wright describes, although it is that, too) in demonstrating exactly which command, chapter and verse, is being carried out by which terrorist action. Rumiyah is nothing if not the Qur’an made flesh. Yes, my words are deliberately chosen, for although Wright mentions the blood-covered knife on the cover, how could that picture score over two beheading action shots (pages 22 and 37), and a quadruple-beheading trophy pose (page 24)[1]? How is it possible to miss that all this grotesque carnage is the direct outcome of doing as Allah commands? How is it possible to write a 953-word piece on Rubiyah and not say a single word about the initiating role of the Qur’an in all this?

So here are my two challenges. My first challenge is to peaceful Muslims: it is your holy book that is causing all this — that has been causing this for fourteen hundred years — whether you know that or not, whether you ignore that or not, whether it hurts your sensibilities to be told that or not, your Holy Qur’an is doing this to our world. Your Holy Qur’an creates and sustains these monsters. Straight out of the Qur’an, mass murder is unleashed onto our streets.

You claim to be peaceful. You want the world to be nice to you. You want to get along with everybody. All of that is fine. We would like that, too. But tell us why anyone should believe that you are peaceful? The onus is on you to prove it: you are the one with the holy book that commands you to murder everyone else. Why should we believe you when you hold in reverence the book that commands you and ISIS alike? How can anyone trust you, if you are not prepared to show, like those of us who are not Muslim, that we not only abhor ISIS and its ilk, but that we abhor the source of the commandments they obey (commandments that you, too, are obliged to obey). How peaceful can you be, when you protect the very book responsible, directly or indirectly, for all the beheadings, the crucifixions, the enslavements, the amputations, the rapes, the knife rampages, the throwing off from cliffs and high buildings, the whippings and lashings, the ploughing of cars and trucks into pedestrians, and planes into buildings, and on, and on, and on? You may object that you do not do any of these things yourself, even that they repel you, and you may even be sincere, yet your first reaction to any Muslim terrorist mass killing is always to worry about your religion’s precious “good name,” while the rest of us rage for the victims, and exercise ourselves on how this mediaeval madness can be stopped. There are no ideas forthcoming from you, no suggestions, ever.

You hold silly little talks and quaint little eat-ins to show us how nice Muslims are. We know there are nice Muslims. We are not stupid. We want to stop the mass killings and you are not helping; yet it is your holy book that’s doing all this [2]. What are you doing about that? If nothing, then you should not be surprised to be sidelined when others go about solving the problem in the way they see fit, including treating you as part of the problem. Furthermore, you cannot complain when national governments, such as Hungary, Japan, Slovakia, India, Bulgaria, Switzerland, etc., take blanket actions against you, whether with or without ulterior motives. Your prevarication invites this and, given the overriding priority (for us) to save lives, makes such measures legitimate. By saying, “this has nothing to do with Islam,” you’re saying, “this is not our problem.” I’m sorry: it is your holy book; it is your problem.

The howls of indignation from Islamic apologists in response to such national measures merely bring into focus your apparent insensitivity to what your religion is doing to the world compared to your hypersensitivity to how that religion is viewed. I’m afraid not everyone shares your peculiar blend of sensibilities. Scottish law differentiates between guilty, not guilty and not proven, which is one obvious answer to the simplistic and much abused “innocent until proven guilty,” notion. For as long as you adhere to a holy book that exhorts you to murder, ipso facto, you cannot be proven innocent; the most you can hope for is not proven. When a Japanese Muslim responds to his country’s public safety measure by complaining, “They made us terrorist suspects, we never did anything wrong,” he may well be right about his second statement, but about the first he is wholly wrong. It is not government surveillance measures that make you a terror suspect; it is your adherence to a terror manual that makes you a terror suspect. So far, your best performance has been to keep that suspicion alive, at least amongst those of us who are not naïve or co-opted. You’ve not yet shared whatever knowledge you may have on how to tell the difference between Muslims who live and let live, and Muslims who die to kill. They all adhere to the same Qur’an, the same mass murder manual. Governments cannot be expected to sit idly by while their citizens get slaughtered. In the absence of anything better, blanket treatment is what you’re going to get.

My second challenge is to the Islamic apologists: You’re educated, right? So read Rumiyah and prove to us that what ISIS says about the Qur’an isn’t true. Otherwise, please keep out of this because, whatever your agenda, you’ve done enough damage. Your whitewashing and denials of the Qur’an’s compulsion to terrorism are an affront to the thousands of deaths resulting almost daily from it. Better still, get out of the way altogether so that those who are willing, can at least do what they can to arrest this headlong descent into an epochal nightmare. What? You’re appalled and outraged that a humanist should rely on Right-wing political parties? Do you know any philosopher-kings who are prepared to deal with this problem? Besides, it’s a strange objection, coming from you.

An oft-quoted version of Occam’s razor is, “Everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Robin Wright started out at the simplest possible, and unfortunately made things simpler. If she’d taken into account the rest of the publication, she might’ve done better than the inane, “the event could have come straight out of the Islamic State’s manual—and it appears to have inspired him.” She might’ve realised that the Qur’an, too, advises on when to strike, and which parts of the body to attack, and how, and that the Qur’an, too, glorifies killing and promises great rewards for doing so. She might’ve realised that the passage she quoted flows directly from chapter 2 of the Qur’an. The Rumiyah opening paragraph makes the connection explicit. Knowing this, she might, instead, have said, it came straight out of the Qur’an through the Islamic State’s manual—and it appears to have exhorted him. Inspired? No—that’s the wrong word. Inspired implies an independent creative act. This was nothing of the sort. Islam is nothing of the sort.


 

[1] It’s interesting how this photo is cropped to cut off the heads of the murderers. Who says there’s no art in Islam?

[2] What are we to make of “counter-extremism” think tanks that won’t even touch the Qur’an?

My other problem with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) recent brazen and aggressive Islamic apologetics, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is again in the news, this time as an alleged “anti-Muslim extremist”. This is an interesting formulation, since “extremists” is what everyone calls those people who go around committing Islam-inspired mass murder, such as Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaida, Boko Haram, ISIS, the Taliban, etc. Their extremism, as it happens, kills many more Muslims than non-Muslims. If the description “anti-Muslim extremist” is to be accurately applied to anyone, it is to these terrorist outfits. So how Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who, as far as I know, has never killed a single Muslim, or anyone else for that matter, can come to upstage an entire slew of the world’s worst realisations of Qur’anic doctrine is staggering. The word “Poverty” in “Southern Poverty Law Center” has just taken on the same meaning as in The Poverty of Philosophy, Karl Marx’s critique of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s The Philosophy of Poverty.

But I’d like to pick up where I left off. In an earlier post I said that I have some difficulty with Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s formulation of three groups of Muslims. While there are many different ways in which one might subdivide the category “Muslims” and there are certainly very great differences to be observed across the world’s Muslim communities, I believe that Hirsi Ali’s grouping is not supportable, or, at most, supportable only in the broadest terms. Her formulation appears in at least one place. Here it is quoted from Islam Is a Religion of Violence that appeared in Foreign Policy magazine just over a year ago, in which she says,

I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims in the world today based on how they envision and practice their faith.

The first group is the most problematic — the fundamentalists who envision a regime based on sharia, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version and take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else. I call them “Medina Muslims,” in that they see the forcible imposition of sharia as their religious duty, following the example of the Prophet Mohammed when he was based in Medina. They exploit their fellow Muslims’ respect for sharia law as a divine code that takes precedence over civil laws. It is only after they have laid this foundation that they are able to persuade their recruits to engage in jihad.

The second group — and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world — consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence or even intolerance towards non-Muslims. I call this group “mecca Muslims.” The fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts.

More recently, and corresponding with the rise of Islamic terrorism, a third group is emerging within Islam — Muslim reformers or, as I call them, “modifying Muslims” — who promote the separation of religion from politics and other reforms. Although some are apostates, the majority of dissidents are believers, among them clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.

In broad terms, Hirsi Ali is correct: there are Muslims who violently impose Shari’a; there are Muslims who do not observe much of what their religious texts require of them and more or less coexist peacefully with non-Muslims; and there are Muslims who perceive the need to change Islam into something other than what it has been since its inception.

Below this level the formulation breaks down several times. Let us consider each group’s raison d’être. The first group, “the fundamentalists who envision a regime based on sharia, Islamic religious law,” do not argue for anything. The do not “take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.” And it is not that they “see the forcible imposition of sharia as their religious duty.” This is not a matter merely of their perception and their making a case. Hirsi Ali herself, in the same article, very successfully shows that this is a matter inherent to the sacred texts of Islam. Even if these fundamentalists did not exist — and this is the point of my blog — the wellspring of the violent imposition of Shari’a on the entire world can find outlet in anyone who has been inculcated into the teachings of the Qur’an. The desire to violently impose Shari’a on the world can lie dormant for centuries and fail to trigger in millions of Muslims, but it is always there and can always flare up, as it has been doing repeatedly right from the earliest days of Islam. And, of course, if it is a forcible imposition, as Hirsi Ali says, then it obviously isn’t argued for, unless “argued for,” means something like the glowingly generous Qur’anic mandate towards apostates: first try to persuade them to return to Islam, and if they fail to be persuaded, only then kill them. I’m sure this is not what she means.

But it is Hirsi Ali’s second group, “Muslims who are loyal to the core creed …but are not inclined to practice violence or even intolerance towards non-Muslims,” that I have the biggest problems with. Of course, there is the contradiction inherent to this formulation itself: the core creed is violent and intolerant towards non-Muslims. Again, this she shows successfully in the very piece I’m quoting from. It is not possible to be non-violent and tolerant towards non-Muslims and simultaneously loyal to the core creed. It is either one or the other. Thankfully, Hirsi Ali is right in that this second group, “are not inclined to practice violence or even intolerance towards non-Muslims,” but she is wrong in saying that they are, “loyal to the core creed.” If they were loyal to the core creed, then they would be part of the first group.

My biggest problem, though, is with the classification of these first two groups as either “Mecca Muslims” or “Medina Muslims”. It may be useful to differentiate between Muslims in this way for the purposes of more insightful understanding, but this bears no relation at all to, “how they envision and practice their faith.” No Muslim picks their way through the Qur’an and the Hadith to consider and select/reject those bits that correspond to Muhammad having been in one or the other location when the particular commandment was “revealed,” or the particular saying or practice was first recorded. I would argue that while the first group is simply loyal to the core creed, the second group envision and practice their faith according to their own humanity and sense of decency, learned from their upbringing and social circumstances, independently of the holy texts and early Islamic history. They prefer not to know, or not to be reminded, of those parts of the holy texts and Muhammad’s behaviour that induce their fellow Muslims to behave in ways repellent to them. The only way they can be Muslim is by being ignorant (wilfully or otherwise) of what it means to be a Muslim, while continuing to identify as Muslim. If they were cognisant of the distinction between a “Mecca Muhammad” and a “Medina Muhammad,” then one would have to say that they practice as much of Islam as they are able to stomach.

This distinction between Mecca Muslims and Medina Muslims makes Hirsi Ali’s third group, “Muslim reformers” or “modifying Muslims,” i.e., those “who promote the separation of religion from politics and other reforms,” particularly shaky. If they are neither Mecca Muslims not Medina Muslims, i.e., they are not premised on any of the saying and doings of Muhammad, or, indeed, on any of the “revelations” he received, then on what grounds are the “Muslim”? Certainly, there are many who would wish Islam to be something other than it is. Every schism, and there have been many, attests to this. It is certainly not a recent phenomenon in response to terrorism. It doesn’t take terrorism to see what’s wrong with Islam.

A more useful differentiator, if I were to run with this thought, would be between those who wish to change Islamic practise into what it has never been, i.e., reformers, and those who seek to restore it to what it once was, i.e., revivalists. The reformers may then, in turn, be differentiated between two subgroups: those ignore the Qur’an and the Hadith who start from the premise of ethics and humanity, and retain those Islamic practices that meet their civilised standards; and those who find it necessary to search for their own civilised standards within the core texts of Islam. This latter subgroup is the creative interpreters, the obfuscators and the downright liars (not to be confused with those who lie to non-Muslims in order to advance jihad, protect terrorists and impose Shari’a – another admirable requirement of their faith).

It isn’t clear to me why Ayaan Hirsi Ali felt the need to invent “Mecca Muslims”, “Medina Muslims”, and “Muslim Reformers/Modifier Muslims.” She has enough honesty and intellectual acumen to get to the bottom of the problem of Islam without resorting to such contrivances. Indeed, it is a job she has already accomplished and accomplished well. The thrust of Hirsi Ali’s formulation, and its Achilles’ heel in my view, is a presumed voluntarism. I would suggest that she has missed the most important distinction of all: Muslims who are subject to secular law verses Muslims who are subject to Shari’a (to whatever degree). Had she started from this premise, she would not have missed the single most important group of Muslims in the world today: those Muslims in the Muslim world who have looked at their religion and come to the same conclusions about it as she has. Such people tend not to be interested in reforming Islam, for they recognise it to be irreformable. If they are believers, then they either go off and join or form another sect, or they convert to another religion, but by the time they’ve seen through Islam, they’ve usually seen through all religion. I am convinced that hope lies with the latter.

Hirsi Ali closes her formulation by referring to “clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.” Such clerics are not the only ones who have realised this. Occasionally, one also hears of the rare cleric for whom it comes as a shock that the interminable cycle of political violence is the conditio sine qua non of their faith. To the vast majority of their colleagues, the interminable cycle of political violence marks out their faith as superior to all others. The more mindlessly a madrassa child repeats a Qur’anic command, the more proud such clerics are of their achievement. Am I hinting at another problem I see with Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Lest someone gets the wrong impression, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is someone I admire.

 

Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) and the African block, yet again.

This probably arrives too late for the requested action, but knowledge is power.

In June this year, 628 organisations from 152 countries joined a statement asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a Special Procedure: an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). The mandate was brought into existence by a vote of the 47-member Human Rights Council, and in September Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn from Thailand was appointed to fill the position.

In November, a group of States tabled a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly 3rd Committee in New York that threatens to undermine the creation of this mandate. This threat is to the integrity of the human rights framework and its impact goes far beyond the SOGI Independent Expert, setting a dangerous precedent for other parts of the human rights system to be undermined.

Eight Latin American States have filed an amendment to the resolution that will safeguard the mandate and protect the human rights system.

Therefore, once again we need to join our voices and call on the 193 member States of the United Nations to protect human rights for all with no distinctions and oppose the resolution being brought by the African Group and support the amendment being brought by the Latin American States. [Read more here]

The creeping dhimmitude

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We’ve all seen signs similar to this at banks and other security-sensitive places. We also come across it in department stores and schools. It is, of course, a ban on the wearing of full-face crash helmets. There are no exceptions and no one suspects any ulterior motive on the part of the institution or facility that enforces such a ban. We consider it reasonable and even in the interests of those not wearing such a helmet. We understand that the whole point of banning the helmet is so that the wearer’s identity is not concealed. Doing so not only improves the safety of all, but improves the feeling of security of all. It helps us all enjoy our public spaces as we are entitled.

We would consider it very odd, indeed, if the wearer of such a helmet objects to having to remove it, and then, as a “reasonable accommodation” compromise, demands a special private room in which to remove the helmet and reveal his or her identity to security personnel of a stipulated gender. Afterwards they can then put the helmet back on and rejoin others not concealing their identities. We would be justified in feeling that our public space was being violated in that a sense of insecurity is being imposed on us by an individual allowed to escape the usual security measures that make us all feel secure in the public space. We do not need to know anything about the wearer or his or her background, religion or musical tastes. We do not need to know what they may or may not have concealed under their clothes or in their bags. The insecurity comes from their identity being concealed, and not only from the security cameras, but also from everybody else around. There is no other consideration involved here. Chances are that the wearer of the full-face motorcycle helmet is male and a courier. Regardless of how many people hate men or the presence in the land of rabid courierphobia, we still need to know who this person is, and we are entitled to feel safe in a public place knowing there is no one wearing a mask in our midst (not to be confused with “safe spaces”, please).

no-niqabSo why should a sign such as this cause objection? The insecurity comes from their identity being concealed, not only from the security cameras, but also from everybody else around. There is no other consideration involved here. Chances are that the wearer of a niqab, burqa or chador is female and Muslim. Regardless of how many people hate women or the presence in the land of rabid anti-Muslim xenophobia, security personnel still need to be able to identify this person, and we are still entitled to feel safe in a public place knowing no one in our midst is hiding their face.

It is an affront to our society that someone wearing such a garment should demand a private room in which they might reveal their identity to someone of a gender of their choice, namely, female. What do they imagine would happen to them that does not happen to the millions of other women who do not conceal their identities in public? Are they saying that non-Muslim men can be expected to behave inappropriately if they should see their faces? Is this their experience with men where boys have had no sex education, social mores hold females to be fair game, or there are no laws against sexual violation? “Reasonable accommodation” has to be made for such bigotry? Yes, I accuse such women of bigotry towards both our society in general and towards our male population. We’ve seen this kind of “reasonable accommodation” demanded by bigots who did not want to serve same-sex couples who wanted to marry. We rightfully called out their bigotry, and we rightfully refused to accommodate them.

But no, we must be “culturally sensitive” towards this peaceful niqab-wearing woman who is obviously not a terrorist. That is not the point. The point is that we are “culturally sensitive” towards a culture that holds itself supreme above all others. We are bowing to Muslim supremacism. That is called dhimmitude. Before they have even imposed Shari’a upon us all, we already feel ourselves subdued, as the Qur’an commands them to make us feel (9:29).

Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

When we spend of our money to provide such private rooms where a woman might reveal her identity, and spend of someone’s paid time to verify such identity, do Muslims who demand such “reasonable accommodation” pay to cover the cost? No, we are already paying the Jizyah. It’s as if the entire Western population has had some kind of madrassa toxin added to our water supply that slowly but surely turns free people into slaves, little reasonable concession by little reasonable concession.

Islam: a religion not yet put in its place

Just imagine for one second that Christian fundamentalists call for the murder of atheists in Europe on a regular basis, for the reason that Christianity is being insulted by their absence of faith… One would be back to the times of Chevalier de la Barre, who himself was so young a man when he was tortured and executed for exactly the same reasons of ex-Muslims today. Would this be tolerated by the Left and human rights organisations, if it were Christian fundamentalists doing that? I doubt it. Then why this special treatment, this tolerance which only covers up for an unconscious racism, in the wake of such violations of the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, including in the heart of Europe, – when it comes to Islam?

says Marieme Helie Lucas in UK: Blame the Victim. Read more here.