I’m as sick of “diversity” as I am of “cultural appropriation”

I wonder whether Marlon James will draw down the same opprobrium down upon himself for critiquing “diversity” as had Lionel Shriver for doing so with “cultural appropriation.” My guess is he will not, for like me, he is black. The diversity proponents don’t quite know how to deal blacks who don’t comply with this comfortable construct. We make it hard. It’s not supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be comfortable. Since this is the era of white guilt, all manner of knee-jerk abuse can be heaped on whites (especially if they’re male) backed up with pseudo-philosophy and guilt-trips substituting for analysis. Who, exactly, needs this? Who thrives on this?

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything Marlon is saying (or perhaps I’m missing bits he isn’t saying), I’m glad that “diversity” and “cultural appropriation” are not universally held to be self-evidently correct. Looking at the actors driving such phenomena will yield more than “doing one’s bit for them.” One of the wonders of being human is the rich diversity of our species. When diversity is appropriated from the species and ossified as sacrosanct and inviolate attributes owned by circumscribed groups, we end up in our currant bizarre situation of selling diversity back to ourselves, only this time without the vibrancy, fluidity, adaptability and fertility, for now it is pressed into service to preserve our divisions. White are not the only guilty ones.

“Liberal Submission: Protect Islam, Defame Christianity”

How far the rot has spread. In an interesting checklist by Giulio Meotti, published today, he takes stock of media reactions to comparable acts directed alternately at Islam and Christianity. It seems apt to draw attention to it given a recent exchange on this blog over reactions to a commentator’s call for mosques to be burnt down, compared to the comparatively tame, if not silent, responses in the media to the Qur’an’s wholesale exhortations to mass murder and other similarly depraved acts. When is someone going to publicly say that they are appalled that such a book bears the adjective “Holy”? When is someone going to openly demand Muslims choose between ethics and the Qur’an? Why are so few appalled by this free pass? The murders and the rapes and the slavery and the mutilations, all commanded by the Qur’an, continue under cover of Muslim silence and Western collusion in that silence. Whose job is it, whose moral responsibility is it, who can be relied on, to put the Qur’an on trial? Muslims? The ethical state? The Western general public? Atheists and secularists in the Muslim world? Who will do this?

The war against ISIS is good and necessary, in that it saves lives. The war against ISIS is also delusional, in that it protects the Qur’an. The war against ISIS cannot be a substitute for the war against the Qur’an, the real poisoner of minds. This ISIS is not the first, and it will not be the last, not while the fountainhead spews forth.

Peaceful Muslims, well, it’s complicated

“And fight them [jihad] until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief or unrest from it] and all worship is for Allah alone,” (Qur’an 2:193).

“He who provides the equipment for a soldier in Jihad has himself performed Jihad,” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book O 9.1)

There is no punishment to be imposed on, “a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim,” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book O 1.2)

“Kill them wherever you find them,” (Qur’an 2:191).

“Never shall I be a help to those who sin!” (Qur’an 28:17)

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you…” (Qur’an 4:59).

“And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way over the believers.” (Quran 4:141).

 

The once-strident claim that 99.9% of 1.7 billion Muslims are peaceful is seldom heard these days. Similarly, the complaint that the 0.1% of Muslims who engage in jihad (as per Allah’s numerous commands) get all the attention, while the peaceful majority is ignored (usually accompanied by the body language of deep hurt, as so well effected by, for example, Tariq Ramadan).

Much has been written of late about the Western taboo against confronting Islam’s terrorism head-on, and especially against acknowledging such terrorists as Muslims. It is a self-imposed taboo observed by Western non-Muslims anxious, supposedly to, “not offend the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful.” One consequence of this misguided counsel, of course, is ineffective anti-terrorism.

In this context, “peaceful Muslims” are held up as innocent people caught in the crossfire. How true is it that peaceful Muslims are standing on the side-lines in jihad? In previous posts I have talked about the continuing Muslim practise of enrolling their children in madrassas as the starting point of creating the terrorists who will later carry out 2:193 and other similar commandments, and appealed to peaceful Muslims to cut off that supply by no longer sending their children to madrassa. While I may not have grounds for confidence, I find it a hugely positive sign that there are Muslim parents who take the anguished step of reporting their suspect youngsters to the authorities before disaster strikes. But what are we to make of peaceful Muslims who actively undermine effective anti-terrorism measures? Bulgaria may serve as one case in point.

According to Mariya Cheresheva, in Bulgaria Moves to Make Radical Islam a Crime, published in Balkan Insight on 3 October 2016,

Preachers of radical Islam in Bulgaria face up to three years in prison and fines of up to US$2,800 under changes to the penal code adopted on a first reading by MPs …“six hypotheses of preaching an ideology that could be qualified as ‘radical’. Among them are agitating for the creation of an Islamic state or Caliphate, calling for the enforcement of Sharia law and calling for jihad against non-Muslims. Recruiting followers, agitating for or collecting funds for terror organizations, ‘whose ideology is based on the Islam,’ will also be considered a crime if the legal changes make it past the second reading.”

Most instructive (and depressing) about this development was that MPs from the ethnic-Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms Party, MRF, (Muslim) made themselves scarce from the Chamber when the proposed legislation came to the vote. “We are against radicalization,” MRF Vice-Chairman Aliosman Imamov is reported to have said, “But I… deem it profane for someone from this tribune to try to convince me that my religion creates terrorists.” Imamov, playing word-games over his Qur’an, considers it profane to even try to convince him. What hope is there of Muslims saving themselves, let alone “reforming” Islam, if they actively undermine anti-terrorism in this way, or worse, close ranks to protect imams on trial for incitement to jihad, as in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria, through systematic abuse of the right to due process, ultimately weakening this attempt to curtail jihad and Shari’a incitement, and terrorist recruiting, by judicial means?

Not only does Islam impose no punishment on a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim, it commands Muslims to kill non-Muslims “wherever you find them.” While many peaceful Muslims make peace with themselves by pretending that no such commands exist (there are many), how likely is it that the same circumspection guides their response to the religious encouragement to lie to and deceive non-Muslims, for example, by being friendly to them when such friendship is expressly forbidden. When clearing the way for others to commit mass murder gains you the religious benefit of having done so yourself, how many peaceful Muslims will be ready to assist anti-terrorism?

I am well aware that the Patriotic Front is a right-wing party. I consider that fact to be irrelevant. Are we saying that a government or a political party has to have impeccable credentials before we’ll allow it to act against killers? At the time of Muammar Gaddafi’s fall, I was teaching at a university in an Arab country. My students, all Muslim, had been rock-solid in their condemnation of Gaddafi and his murderous regime—until an Israeli musician created the Zenga, zenga song parodying the dictator. The switch was instant and complete. It is already inconceivable for a Muslim, any Muslim, to countenance criticism from any non-Muslim for any reason, but when that non-Muslim happens to be Israeli, the response is a psychological phenomenon of an altogether different order. I am not saying that people who call themselves Muslim cannot be peaceful. I’m saying that the word “peaceful”, when applied to Muslims, has to come with some heavy caveats if it is not to be misleading. The unconditional praising of “peaceful Muslims” is itself an aid to jihad.

The Bulgarian Muslims going out of their way to scupper their government’s anti-terrorism measures may not be inciting pogroms against non-Muslims, but by their actions and wilful omissions they are facilitating terrorism and enabling terrorists, thereby showing themselves to be anything but peaceful. It puts into sharp relief the folly of our Human Rights moral high ground. Such Muslims don’t care tuppence about their own Human Rights, themselves wishing to see these abolished along with those of everyone else by way of the imposition of Shari’a, whether they or someone else is doing the actual killing. These examples illustrate once again, if such is still necessary, that confronting Islam is not a matter of denying Human Rights to Muslims, but of defending those rights for all of us from Muslims who are out to destroy them but need those Human Rights protected for themselves in order to do so. If “peaceful Muslims” such as Imamov had their way, or stunts such as those by the “peaceful” congregation of Pazardzhik were aloud to succeed, there would be no effective anti-terrorism at all (Western authorities don’t know that the terrorists are Muslim, remember?) Farewell Human Rights. It was good while it lasted. Well, at least we will have gone down defending the Human Rights of those who never wanted them in the first place — in other words, on whom we had imposed them — and who spit on those rights, and on us for doing so. But we are too sanctimonious to take this reality into account and to modify our defence of Human Rights accordingly. It’s what makes us superior, right?

 

Spreading knowledge of Islam

The Pennsylvanian today carries a short report by Elizabeth Winston on a Muslim Students Association initiative to “spread awareness of their faith”. Winston’s report begins with the words, “In a year marked by Islamophobia,” thereby setting the tone for a minor catalogue of happy-clappy Muslim stuff and not a single word about Islam. She tells her readers that “The goal of the event was to show that Muslims are just regular people and are more than just a stereotype.” She’d apparently by then already forgotten her own headline: “The Muslim Student Association is spreading knowledge of Islam to fight bigotry”. One commentator, Arafat, was having none of it. In response, he posted this (I’ve cleaned up the formatting a bit for clarity; the text is unaltered in any way):

I’m in! Let’s teach infidels about Islam!

Shari’a and Apostasy

Sharia is Islamic Law. It is the religious legal system that governs the political, social and moral duties of faithful Muslims. It is what is meant by “God’s Law.”

The Sharia was derived from the Sunnah – the way of life of Muhammad as recorded in the Hadith (traditions). It pulls various Quran verses and historical narrations into an organized body of rules.

Although Muslims as individuals often decide which parts of Sharia to follow or ignore, the Quran (33:21) says that it is not fitting for a believer to choose for themselves (i.e., disregard) any matter already decided by Allah.

Likewise, a government that limits God’s Law in any way is an enemy of Allah and must be fought. The establishment of Sharia is the fundamental objective of every Islamic terror group. Once an Islamic state is in place, the Quran (9:29) and Sharia (o9.8) make it mandatory for Muslims to fight those Jews and Christians who will not convert or accept inferior status.

This reality is left out by proponents of Sharia in the West, who hide behind the cloak of religion and expose only the more benign personal rules (such as those dealing with prayer and hygiene). This is to make it appear as if detractors are religious bigots whose real problem is intolerance for a different set of beliefs about God and worship.

In fact, Sharia is explicitly opposed to religious freedom, freedom of conscience and the free exchange of ideas. It is violent, openly bigoted toward non-Muslims, discriminatory, and unflinchingly sexist. Large sections deal with the practice of slavery. None of this changes by affixing a “phobia” label or otherwise insulting detractors.

The following sections highlight what Sharia actually says about important issues. References are to the classic manual, Reliance of the Traveller, considered one of the soundest translations of Islamic law. The full version in PDF form can be found here.

(Literal text from Reliance is in italics).

 

Freedom of Conscience and the Free Exchange of Ideas

(o8.1) – When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.

(o8.4) – There is no indemnity for killing an apostate (since it is killing someone who deserves to die).

Acts that define “leaving Islam” and being subject to execution are listed in o8.7. They include:

 

-2- to intend to commit unbelief, even if in the future

-3- to deny the existence of Allah… or any of his attributes

-6- to be sarcastic about Allah’s name, his command, his interdiction… or his threat

-7- to deny any verse of the Quran

-8- to mockingly say, “I don’t know what faith is”

-17- to believe that things in themselves or by their own nature have any causal influence independent of the will of Allah

 

Holy War (Jihad)

(o9.0) – Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion…

The scriptural basis for jihad… is such Koranic verses as:

-1- “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2: 216);

-2- “Slay them wherever you find them” (Koran 4: 89);

-3- “Fight the idolators utterly” (Koran 9: 36);

and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah”;

(o9.1) – Jihad [against non-Muslims in their own countries ] is a communal obligation… “He who provides the equipment for a soldier in Jihad has himself performed Jihad”

(o9.7) – The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax in accordance with the word of Allah Most High:

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden-who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled” (Quran 9.29))

(o9.9) – The caliph fights all other people until they become Muslim

 

Homosexuality

(p17.3) – The Prophet (Allah Bless him and give him peace) said: “Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.”

 

Women

m3.4 – 3.7 say that a woman may not “conduct her own marriage”, meaning that she is not free to marry by choice. A male guardian is required to validate the marriage agreement.

m3.8 says that a woman is not free to choose her guardian. It is assigned by family relation. Once she is married, she becomes the charge of her husband’s guardianship.

A Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man (Quran 2:221). An untranslated portion of the Sharia even forbids an Arab woman from marrying a non-Arab man (source).

(m13.4) – A woman has no right to custody of her children from a previous marriage when she remarries.

(m5.1) – It is obligatory for a woman to let her husband have sex with her immediately when he asks her… and she can physically endure it.

(m10.11-2) – It is not lawful for a wife to leave the house except by the permission of her husband.

(m10.11) – When a husband notices signs of rebelliousness in his wife, he warns her in words. If she commits rebelliousness, he keeps from sleeping with her without words, and may hit her, but not in a way that injures her, meaning he may not break bones, wound her, or cause blood to flow.

(o4.9) – The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man.

(L10.3) – Divide the universal share so the male receives the portion of two females (Rule of inheritance based on the Quran 4:11)

(m2.3) – It is unlawful for women to leave the house with faces unveiled

 

Non-Muslims
(Bigotry toward those outside the Islamic faith)

(o4.9) – The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third of the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid of a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth of that a Muslim.

(h8.24) – It is not permissible to give zakat to a non-Muslim.

(e2.3) – It is offensive to use the vessels [dishes] of non-Muslims or wear their clothes.

e8.3 says that a non-Muslim may not touch the Quran.

f21.2 says that non-Muslims are not allowed to ‘mix’ with Muslims at certain events.

g1.2 says that it is permissible for a Muslim to visit a non-Muslim who is ill, but not recommended. (Same with visiting the grave of a non-Muslim relative – g5.8)

(L5.2) – a non-Muslim may not inherit from a Muslim. (or vice versa)

o1.2 states that there is no penalty for a Muslim who kills a non-Muslim

o11.0-11 says that non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic state may live free from harm if they
– pay a special ‘poll’ tax (the jizya)

– comply with certain Islamic rules, specifically the penalty for adultery (stoning) and theft (amputation)

– distinguish themselves from Muslims by dressing differently

– keep to the side of the side of the street when Muslims pass

– accept a lesser form of greeting

– agree not to build new churches or build houses higher than those of Muslims
The agreement is broken (meaning that the non-Muslim may be lynched) if he breaks the rules, fails to pay the poll tax, “leads a Muslim away from Islam”, “mentions something impermissible” about Islam, or has sex with a non-Muslim woman.

(o22.13) – The judge treats two litigants impartially, seating both in places of equal honor, attending to each, and so forth, unless one is a non-Muslim, in which case he gives the Muslim a better seat

See also Rights of Non-Muslims in an Islamic State

 

Sex and Honor Killing

(o1.2) – The following are not subject to retaliation: … -4- a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring or offspring’s offspring

o12.2 – The penalty for adultery is stoning. The penalty for unmarried sex (fornication) is 100 lashes.
Slavery

A large section of the Sharia is devoted to codifying the practice of slavery (k32.0). The Reliance of the Traveller omits these rules from the English language translation, perhaps to obscure the comfortable relationship between Islam and slavery. However, parts from other sections address both the capture of slaves and the sanctioning of forced conversion under obvious duress.

(o9.13) – When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled.

(o9.14) – When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph considers the interests (O: of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy. If the prisoner becomes a Muslim (O: before the caliph chooses) then he may not be killed, and one of the other three alternatives is chosen.

(o9.12) Whoever enters Islam before being captured may not be killed or his property confiscated, or his young children taken captive.

o4.9 is one of several rules that establish slaves as property, to be traded as a form of restitution.

o20.2 makes it clear that a slave freed as a method of expiation must be a “sound Muslim.”

 

Theft

(o14.1) – A person’s right hand is amputated, whether he is a Muslim, non-Muslim subject of the Islamic state

 

Art and Music

r40.1 says that musical instruments are condemned.

(r40.3) – One should know that singing or listening to singing is offensive (with the exception of songs that encourage piety).

(p44.1) – Every maker of pictures will go to the fire, where a being will be set upon him for each picture he made, to torment him in hell

(w50.2) – Pictures imitate the creative act of Allah (when they are of animate beings).

(o17.9) – It is unlawful to decorate walls with pictures (generally interpreted as pictures of animate beings).
Apostasy

Does Islam allow freedom of religion or does it threaten the death penalty for apostasy?

Those who turn their back on Islam are to be executed. This is confirmed by the words and deeds of Muhammad. The only freedom of belief in Islam is the freedom to become Muslim.
Quran

Quran (4:89) – “They wish that you should reject faith as they reject faith, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.” Verse 4:65 says that those who have faith are in “full submission” to Muhammad’s teachings. This verse explains what should happen to Muslims who do not have faith.
Quran (9:11-12) – “But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief – Lo! they have no binding oaths – in order that they may desist.”

Other verses that seem to support the many Hadith that establish the death sentence for apostates are Quran verses 2:217, 9:73-74, 88:21, 5:54, 9:66.
Hadith and Sira

The most reliable Hadith collection contain numerous accounts of Muhammad and his companions putting people to death for leaving Islam. According to verse 4:80 of the Quran: “Those who obey the Messenger obey Allah.”

Sahih Bukhari (52:260) – “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ ”

Sahih Bukhari (83:37) – “Allah’s Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate.”

Sahih Bukhari (84:57) – [In the words of] “Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

Sahih Bukhari (89:271) – A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to “the verdict of Allah and his apostle.”

Sahih Bukhari (84:58) – “There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu’adh asked, ‘Who is this (man)?’ Abu Muisa said, ‘He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism.’ Then Abu Muisa requested Mu’adh to sit down but Mu’adh said, ‘I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice.’ Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. Abu Musa added, ‘Then we discussed the night prayers'”

Sahih Bukhari (84:64-65) – “Allah’s Apostle: ‘During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.'” This verse from the Hadith is worse than it appears because it isn’t speaking solely of apostates, but those who say they believe but don’t put their religion into practice.

Sahih Bukhari (11:626) – “The Prophet said, ‘No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the ‘Isha’ prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl.’ The Prophet added, ‘Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses’.”

Abu Dawud (4346) – “Was not there a wise man among you who would stand up to him when he saw that I had withheld my hand from accepting his allegiance, and kill him?” Muhammad is chastising his companions for allowing an apostate to “repent” under duress. (The person in question was Muhammad’s former scribe, who left him after doubting the authenticity of divine “revelations” – upon finding out that grammatical changes could be made. He was brought back to Muhammad after having been captured in Medina).

al-Muwatta of Imam Malik (36.18.15) – “The Messenger of Allah said, “If someone changes his religion – then strike off his head.”

Reliance of the Traveller (Islamic Law) o8.1 – “When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.” (o8.4 affirms that there is no penalty for killing an apostate).

 

Islamic Law:

There is also a consensus by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (i.e., Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafii), as well as classical Shiite jurists, that apostates from Islam must be put to death. The process of declaring a person to be an apostate is known as takfir and the disbeliever is called a murtad.

Averroes (d. 1198), the renowned philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist, provided this typical Muslim legal opinion on the punishment for apostasy: “An apostate…is to be executed by agreement in the case of a man, because of the words of the Prophet, ‘Slay those who change their din [religion]’…Asking the apostate to repent was stipulated as a condition…prior to his execution.”

The contemporary (i.e., 1991) Al-Azhar (Cairo) Islamic Research Academy endorsed manual of Islamic Law, Umdat al-Salik (pp. 595-96) states: “Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst…. When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostasizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed. In such a case, it is obligatory…to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.”

The OIC’s Sharia-based Cairo Declaration is transparent in its rejection of freedom of conscience in Article 10:

“Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion, or to atheism.” Ominously, articles 19 and 22 reiterate a principle stated elsewhere throughout the document, which clearly applies to the “punishment” of so-called “apostates” from Islam: “[19d] There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia.; [22a] Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia.; [22b] Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Sharia.; [22c] Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.”

We will not be bullied. We will not be intimidated. We will not cower.

I’ve not yet seen the film Exposure: Islam’s non-believers, but here is Maryam Namazie in an interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer before the screening. http://talkradio.co.uk/news/listen-ex-muslim-reveals-brutal-reality-life-apostate-1610135351

We have been brave enough to come out as former Muslims, despite the compulsion (yes, compulsion) on all Muslims to kill us. We have been exposing the fraud that is “peaceful Islam”. We have taken on the apologists and are taking apart the web of lies and half-truths they’ve fed to Western governments, policy-makers and the general public about Islam’s intentions in the West. We must now dismantle the infrastructure of intimidation and bullying that Muslims (people who live by the Islamic holy book) and their sycophantic non-Muslim accomplices have put in place, and that we’ve seen so scandalously put to work over the last week.

Brava, Maryam! Bravo, all who have escaped Islam!

“Our faith is not to be mocked, our faith is to be celebrated.”

This was Mohammed Shafiq’s response to the bullying of someone who dared to mock Islam. If you think it sounds familiar, perhaps you’re thinking of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s even more prized utterance along similar lines:

Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humour in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.

Of course this demands to be roundly parodied. But assuming that an executive of the Ramadan Foundation and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran can both be said to speak for Islam, it raises an interesting question of how one celebrates without fun. And if there’s no fun in celebration, is it then OK to celebrate, say, the death of Khomeini? Yes, these points are flippant, but then again they’re not. They follow from giving credence to a religion that makes the most preposterous demands on modern civilisation. It claims unto itself the right to kill and maim with impunity (yes, you’ve read the clear and unmistakeable verses in its holy book, and heard about the deeds of those who take those verses seriously). Indeed, this “faith that is to be celebrated” has inspired 29,429 deadly terrorist attacks, and that’s only talking about those since 9/11. Yet this murderous and bullying faith needs to be protected from those who would mock it?

I disagree that the bullying and incitement to murder of those who say things that Islam doesn’t approve of, or that Muslims find offensive, is merely a matter of free speech. This is about the right to life and the right to security and liberty, concepts fundamentally incompatible with Shari’a and hence Islam. One of my frustrations during the “Satanic Verses Affair” has been that outrage at Muslim behaviour after the publication of the book never seemed to transcend the free speech paradigm. Free speech has no meaning, if your paradigm is Islam. It’s ships passing in the night.

What needs to be tackled is Islam’s claimed entitlement to get people in the twenty-first century to act according to its seventh-century values, and the uncritical Western presumption that affirms that entitlement. It is a presumption spawned of the delusion that Islam can be judged and measured as if it operates within the paradigm of human rights and freedom of choice. It does not [1] (and this is leaving aside the folly of identity politics). The precepts of the religion, and the behaviour of Muslims expressing those precepts, will rile against a cartoon on one day, kill a perceived wayward daughter the next, burn down an embassy the day after that, and fly a passenger jet into a building the day thereafter. When we “protect” Islam and Muslims from “offence”, we are protecting nothing less than their insistence to behave in the twenty-first century as if we live in the seventh, retribution included.

And while that “protection” goes on, peaceful Muslims can postpone the day when they will have to reckon with their own religion and its holy book, if their claim that Islam is a religion of peace is hold on to what little credibility it can still muster amongst the naive and the deluded.


 

[1] Not for nothing did prominent Muslim countries respond to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with their own Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, to which forty-five countries are now signed up.

Out of the mouths of cardinals thou hast perfected praise

The Catholic Church’s reputation is so shot that even in Ireland, a country whose name had long been synonymous with Catholicism, its bishops and priests, despite their best efforts, could not convince the population that homosexuality was bad. What does it say for the reputation of Muhammad when a high official of that disgraced church is still in a position to give Muhammad a leg up. So unsure is the prominent Hyderabad-based Muslim mouthpiece, The Siasat Daily, of Muhammad’s prophethood, despite every Muslim proclaiming it everyday and the Qur’an proclaiming it on every page, that it must seize upon a Catholic Cardinal’s favourable utterances about Muhammad to help boost their prophet’s credibility. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., is quoted as having said,

Catholic social teaching is based on the dignity of the human person… [and] as you study the holy Koran, as you study Islam, basically, this is what Muhammad the prophet, peace be upon him, has been teaching.

Now it would have been interesting to set the Cardinal’s remarks against the longstanding Catholic doctrine that holds Muhammad to have been a false prophet, but that would, admittedly, complicate things a bit. Siasat was never going to go there. I think the paper might have been able to get more mileage out of comparing which of the two: the Catholic Church or the Holy Qur’an, makes the greater mockery of “the dignity of the human person”.

The cultural inappropriateness of “cultural appropriation”

This has been an exceedingly tedious question to consider, which put me somewhat in mind of what Ibn Rushd might have felt as he was preparing to respond to Al-Ghazzali’s The Incoherence of the Philosophers.

Lionel Shriver is to be admired for the patience she demonstrated in composing a response to the “cultural appropriation” thesis, the idea of the perceived members of a powerful culture “stealing” the products and experiences of the perceived members of a less powerful culture.[1] I consider her to have dealt sufficiently comprehensively with the substance of that thesis, such as it is, to obviate any need for me to do so here. I shall consider the dynamic surrounding that thesis, and show it to be a cultural own goal.

Opposition to Shriver’s Brisbane address cannot rebut the basic point that the concept of cultural appropriation, as a vice to be opposed, is not only ahistorical, but anti-historical. Cultural appropriation, even as a neutral concept, has no meaning because all history is cultural appropriation, and good this is, too, else all the world would find itself in the same condition as the those parts dominated by Islam, Confucianism or some other cultural-isolationist ideology that actively sought to not appropriate from other cultures, considering itself as it was then, perfect and in no need of learning anything from anyone else. In the case of Islam, this was the seventh century. In other words, “cultural appropriation” only becomes a useful concept where no cultural appropriation has taken place, and then only as the absence of a virtue, rather than the presence of a vice.

Opposition to Shriver’s stance does not deal with her stance itself — it cannot — but instead deals with the hurt feelings her stance has caused. Feelings are hurt because identities are wedded to the “cultural appropriation” thesis, much the same as identities are wedded to religions. Opposition to Shriver amounts to offence taken, and very little else. The “very little else” is the squeals of righteous indignation from some on the “power” side of the cultural appropriation construct, and the extra-special care they take to avoid hurting the feelings of those on the “powerless” side of the construct, a state of affairs readily abused by the so-called subalterns that the “powerful” feel beholden to let them get away with — post-modern racism, one might call it.

Because the cultural appropriation thesis posits an unjust balance of power (stemming from colonialism, imperialism, slavery, racism, orientalism, etc.), it demands a redressing of the perceived injustice. In this respect, “cultural appropriation” is not the same as that absent from Islam or Confucianism, for it reserves for its stated victims the right to liberally appropriate from the powerful culture — we would not even know of the “cultural appropriation” thesis without the English language and the Latin script.[2] So it is cultural appropriation if “they” use “our” cultural products and experience, but it is not cultural appropriation if “we” use “their” cultural products and experience.

Not only that, should the powerful have the temerity to use the cultural products and experience of the powerless, the powerless have the right to set the criteria for such use and to criticise without hold any perceived failure to meet those criteria, regardless of how inappropriate those criteria might be to the work in question. At the same time, the powerless may use the products and experience of the powerless with full entitlement to use it any way they like, free of critique from the powerful, who are not entitled to such critique. The result is a ghetto in which no outside values are permitted. It is the impoverishing of those who have identified themselves as powerless, or, if the “cultural appropriation” thesis is to be accepted, the entrenchment of the powerlessness of the powerless.

This impulse to ghettoisation happens to dovetail nicely with a still-extant publishers’ obsession with such ghettos. The desire to get published, even at the cost of the quality of the writing, drives an enshrining of such ghettos as the only perceived way forward for the ghettoised writer. As such, ghettoisation comes to be held up as a virtue.

So while the cultural appropriation thesis is not quite as culturally inappropriate and anti-historical as Islam or Confucianism in that it does want to “steal” from other cultures (except that that it doesn’t call that stealing, of course), it wants to appropriate on its own terms. Its own terms are what are impervious to the criteria of the culture appropriated from. The result is that cultural products and experience of the powerful often come back out of the powerless culture in the mangled, stunted forms that they do, born aloft by the politically-correct virtue of not hurting their feelings. The real victims of the so-called cultural appropriation thesis are none other than its supposed beneficiaries, whose poverty is now dressed-up as wealth. It stands to the great credit of writers who could so easily have fallen into the cultural appropriation trap by virtue of their perceived identities, but have avoided doing so and have come to write works that stand tall amongst the best that humanity can produce.

[1] This idea has been around long before it came to assume its present form. In the 70s and 80s, much post-colonial ink was spilt on opposition to the English language. In this case it was not so much about stealing from another culture as having another culture imposed. In the 80s and 90s there were controversies over such things as whether American singer-songwriter Paul Simon had “stolen” certain musical forms from South African musicians.

[2] At least Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o had the integrity to renounce English, Christianity, and the name James that he had been baptised with. Though from then on writing in his native Gikuyu, he could, nevertheless, not escape the Latin script, for Gikuyu was preliterate when encountered by those who had come to colonise Kenya.

 

“Islam’s Non Believers”

I’d like to share information about this forthcoming film (courtesy of Maryam Namazie of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain). 

Islam’s Non Believers, a new film by the award-winning film-maker Deeyah Khan, will be aired on 13 October 2016 on ITV Exposure at 10:40-11:40pm London time: http://tinyurl.com/z3soezz.

The film is the first in depth documentary following the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and investigating the lives of young women and men in Britain who face threats, ostracisation, discrimination and even violence for leaving Islam.

It also highlights the heinous violence faced by ex-Muslims in countries under Islamic rules (including the death penalty in 13 countries); draws attention to the role respected “community leaders” play in encouraging discrimination and violence; and makes important links between the transnational Islamist movement in Britain and internationally. Moreover, the film reveals the extent of non believers amongst Muslims and the international nature of the ex-Muslim resistance movement.

According to Sadia Hameed who is featured in the film: “There is  a link between family disownment due to apostasy and a rapid decline in mental health that is being neglected. Ex-Muslims are left feeling as though there is something wrong with them for thinking critically and asking questions or wanting answers”.

 

According to Maryam Namazie, a founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain: “Many young ex-Muslims feels desperate and isolated  but they are not alone. There are millions of us in every home, every family, every country – though we are often ignored, silenced and persecuted. Deeyah Khan’s film has given us the chance to speak for ourselves and to remind the world that Islam’s non believers need support and solidarity to end apostasy laws, social discrimination and violence”.

 

Per Rayhana Sultan who is also featured in the film: “This documentary is a bold step towards promoting the rights of ex-Muslims around the world and for years to come”.

 

ITV Exposure’s Press Release on “Islam’s Non Believers” is available here: http://tinyurl.com/zjlome5 

 

See also The Independent’s “Islamic communities contain ‘tsunamis of atheism’ that are being suppressed”: http://tinyurl.com/zrvdc7f

 

On 13 October, we call on the public to:

* Support Islam’s Non Believers by promoting: #IslamsNonBelievers #NotAlone

* Sign a petition calling for action: http://tinyurl.com/hlpnrzo

* Support the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

 

For more information, please contact:

Maryam Namazie

Rayhana Sultan

Sadia Hameed

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB)

BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

Email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com

Web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

Webforum: http://www.councilofexmuslims.com/

 

CEMB is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8059509 and depends on donations from its members and supporters to carry out its work: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/donate/.

 

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