How do Muslim terrorists perceive Human Rights?

Would it have constituted unlawful discrimination for the Enterprise car rental attendant in Birmingham to have refused to hire the car to Khalid Masood, perhaps on the grounds that he looked like most terrorists we see these days plus he has a name like most terrorists we hear of these days, or perhaps even that the attendant just got a weird vibe off the guy? Should the attendant have refused to hire him the vehicle, and then tipped off the police? Should the attendant have hire him the vehicle, but then tipped off the police anyway? Would the police have been guilty of harassment had they intercepted him to run some checks? (are there restrictions on how long the police and stop a vehicle for?) Whatever your answers to these questions, four people who had absolutely nothing to do with Khalid Masood are now dead. He killed then. Deliberately. Not because ISIS said so, but because Allah said so. Cut the crap! You may remember: Khalid Masood, a Muslim terrorist, killed them in London on Wednesday, and injured forty. What you may not know, is that Muslim terrorists killed fourteen other people and injured a further twenty on the same day. The tally for the thirty days leading up to Wednesday 22 March was “138 Islamic attacks in 24 countries, in which 997 people were killed and 1142 injured.”

I get berated sometimes, for suggesting that in the case of Muslims terrorism, Muslim terrorism in particular, Human Rights is a mistake. It is a mistake because Human Rights offers that kind of terrorist an opportunity and encouragement. It is a mistake to see a Muslim’s terrorist act as merely a crime. That terrorist perceives himself or herself as part of something far greater, far grander, than a single act of mass muder. And apart from our Human Rights offering that terrorist the encouragement and opportunity to commit the terrorism he believes it his duty to commit, he is at the same time offended that despicable, lesser beings who deserve death should presume to treat him equally, should “offer” him rights. In his eyes, equal treatment with a kafir is an affront. They will only start taking us seriously if we deny them equality and deny them Human Rights, especially in prisons. And before you throw up your hands in that clichéd “then we become like them,” let me say that if you insist on the blind application of Human Rights on those whose express intention is to destroy those right, then we will become like them. Those willing to say this explicitly are still far too few. One clear voice is that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, quoted in Real Clear Politics yesterday:

“We empower them because every time we appease and appease and appease, they see that as God’s hand – their perception of God – they see God’s hand making it easy for them to advance their agenda,” Ali said. “They don’t see that here is a decent, civilized society that is trying to understand them and give them time, and try to persuade them to put their weapons down. That is not how they see it.”

“That is wrong,” she said about efforts to assimilate Islamic immigrants. “That is seen as weak and you are inviting aggression if you do that.”

I have argued repeated on this blog, given what Islam is, and given our obstinate denial of its nature (and our lily-livered approach to apprehending terrorist suspects), it’s a miracle we’re not yet overrun with terrorism; other parts of the world already are. Of the almost 1000 people killed by Muslim terrorists in the thirty days leading up to and including 22 March, six have been in the West. Of the 138 terrorist attacks in which they died, two of those attacks were in the West. Isn’t it obscene to cry lone wolf?

Faith is all it takes

My inbox is often a commentary in its own right. From this morning’s rich pickings, I pass on:

Islamists kill ex Muslim in Southern India, a piece by the good doctor, Arun, at Freethought Blogs:

Farooq was an Iron scrap dealer living in the South Indian city of Coimbatore. He was an outspoken ex Muslim atheist who regularly used to criticise all religions including Islam on Facebook and Whatsapp. He was an active member of an outfit called Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhakam, a break away group of Dravidar Kazhakam.

Not able to answer his criticisms, Islamists decided to punish him as per their holy book.

“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,”                     Quran 5 : 33

[more here…]


And the very next item in my inbox today…

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 10.27.54

This is a newsletter entitled Faith and Skepticism, comprising a selection of material from the New Yorker archives:

A 1955 piece on the Dead Sea Scrolls that mentions someone named Muhammad (!)

A 1981 piece on End-of-Days ambassador Jerry Falwell.

A 1995 piece on the commonly-fathered bastard child of all Abrahamic faiths.

Then we leap across the back of an elephant to:

A 2007 piece on God’s own Rottweiler yapping at an even meaner, fiercer dog.

A rather good 2016 piece on Kemalism, modestly covered.

Then we time-travel back to:

A 1968 (and none of that) piece on Pope Paul, the one the Rottweiler venerated (same kennel, different dog).

A 1999 piece entitled The Future of Faith: Confessions of a churchgoer, not to be confused with the more gung-ho The End of Faith: Confessions of an atheist.

A 2000 piece on that most millennial of existential crises.

And, finally, a quick shimmy under the belly of the beast to:

A January 2002 piece on the religion that was on everyone’s mind at the time.

Yes, every media outlet knows exactly what an elephant looks like, but I suppose when it’s in the room, you’d best stick to describing the tip of its tail, and a bit of its left earlobe, maybe.

Al-Azhar Sheikh, “Islam is guilty of religious violence and terrorism”

In a spectacular act of self-beheading, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, imam of the highly-regarded and authoritative Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, in an attempt to prove Western double standards when it comes to the treatment of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, complained that “all [Islam, Christianity and Judaism] are guilty of …religious violence and terrorism.” This is cataclysmic. No doubt there will be howls of “Islamophobia!” from Islamic apologists of all stripes as they clamour to inform the Sheikh that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. The poor ignorant man has no idea what’s coming his way.

As for the terrorism of Christianity and Judaism, sorry. Our priority must be the sheikh’s scandalous claim that Islam is guilty of terrorism. A Zionist agent, no doubt.

[Sorry, I can’t get the link to work, but it’s on the website]

Political correctness is the new opium of the people

Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. …Religion is …the fantastic realisation of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

These are the words of Karl Marx, written between December 1843 and January 1844, and published in February 1844. They are often quoted out of context and often misunderstood, as indeed, is the fate of their author. How poignant these words have once again become. The fight against religion is just beginning in one part of the world, when it has to be taken up all over again in another. It seems there is no better time than the present to rescue this profound insight from its vulgar sound bite, “Religion is the opium of the people.”

In my view, the most important line of this quotation is not the last one, but the first, for it contains all that follows: “Religion is …the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again, [my emph.].” How prescient that final clause, for we find ourselves in a world of free people who dare not be free, of unchained people who fight their way back into chains, of people who vocally silence themselves, and of people who say unto God, “Rest, oh Lord, for we are the oppressed creatures who oppress ourselves; we, the heartless, are the heart of the world; and we, the soulless, will shepherd the souls. Our ways are the opium of the people.” I cannot shake from my mind this haunting image:

Credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times.

Credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times.

It stands as a testament to how oppressed, how heartless and how soulless free people have again become. I shudder at recollecting a rabid sexist leading a women’s march. We live in a time when racist black youths can attack an old white man (an old white man who was single-handedly calling out an entire population for their complacency in the face of the steady erosion of their freedom), those youths then claiming the moral high ground for their conduct and getting it. When racism is hailed as a virtue, when a movement terrorising the world is embraced as peaceful, then the “inverted world” that Marx talks about is back. It is an inverted world in which God, the ideal human, is captured in a racially-composed photograph (right down to a religion masquerading as a race), and in which its context — oppressed, heartless, soulless reality — is purveyed as “intersectionality”. How bankrupt we have become.

When the free have abandoned freedom and taken on the role of God in oppressing themselves, in silencing themselves and in imposing conformity upon themselves, it falls to those still enslaved under God to free not only themselves from God, but also the free from themselves. The new religion of the free, multiculturalism, with its dogma of political correctness, finds its place very easily in the great fake war with the alt-right. Meanwhile, in the real world, the nightmare continues.

There is nothing “Eurocentric” about the Enlightenment, and it is only Western to the extent that it first occurred in that particular locality. It is also not a product of “our Judaeo-Christian heritage,” as is sometimes claimed. The Enlightenment, both in its conception and in its actions, espoused that ideal human that religion outsources to a supernatural being. Not only did it posit the ideal human, free of want, free of fear and in pursuit of happiness, it posited the ideal human in terms that transcended all difference, without sublating difference.

The formulation, “All men are equal,” (in the archaic wording then current), recognises that we are all human, above whatever else we may be, and presumes itself applicable to us all. Recognition of equality at any level below that of human must necessarily entail the erosion of equality. As soon as we confine ourselves to the equality of races, the equality of sexes, the equality of cultures, etc., as opposed to the equality of all human beings as human beings, we are on a slippery slope that leads inexorably to the philosophy of despair that is identity politics, political correctness, interfaith dialogue, diversity training, intersectionality, and all the other icons of the perplexed. It is a recipe for infinite fracturing as all must continually differentiate themselves from all in a struggle for resources that becomes increasingly attainable only through sectional identity and the greater claim on pathos. In this inverted world, the preservation of racism becomes more important to black people than even to white racists. The preservation of sexism becomes more important to women than to misogynists. When “Black Lives Matter” perceives “All Lives Matter” as an existential threat, we have reached the pit of despair. When feminists dare not raise as much as a peep against the horror that is the lives of women under Islam, then we are in the pit of despair.

The Enlightenment recognised that the formulation “All men are equal” was also a battle cry. It expressed an ideal that has to be fought for. Indeed, it arose out of the eighteen million lives lost in the 125 years of war to the subjugate Christianity to humanity. Like all wars, it is one with many setbacks, many retreats and many regroupings. And now, beset as it is by a fifth column of free people bent on destroying their own freedom, humanity arrives at the gates of Mecca. It does so, however, from within, struggling to break out. It is to be hoped that it succeeds in time to save the free people from themselves.

A self-serving “sensitivity” that beggars belief

A few months back, a contributor to this blog expressed outrage at my refusal to challenge another contributor for calling for the torching of mosques. I considered this irresponsible, but not an act of such magnitude as to warrant a response. I saw this expression of an opinion as paling into insignificance against what was actually taking place in the world, and to which I did (and do) give my full attention. Today I am reminded of that little spat. There’s apparently been a spate of arson attacks on mosques in the US, “Four Mosques Have Burned In Seven Weeks — Leaving Many Muslims and Advocates Stunned” said one headline.

We’ve never seen four mosques burned within seven weeks of each other,

said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Really?

Muslim terrorism 2016 – Mosques Sheet2

Fifty-seven mosques attacked in fifty-two weeks, with 365 deaths and 776 injuries thrown in. How’s that stack up?

It seems Muslim lives only matter if they’re murdered by non-Muslims. There’s a ring of familiarity to that.


Sam Harris on what ISIS really wants

Regular readers of this blog will know that I admire Sam Harris, but also have some strong disagreements with him. What ISIS really wants is a podcast of his from the middle of last year in which he comments on an issue of Dabiq, that outfit’s mouthpiece titled in deference to their fantasy ground zero, the eye of the apocalypse. His commentary makes me aware that he is far better at making sense of Allah’s finest to those who have never been Muslim, especially those who have never known unfreedom and all-pervading unreason, than I am. I would not have been nearly as able to accessibly comment on Dabiq as he does in this podcast.

I struggle with finding the point, the knot, in the Western mental make-up that makes people reject certain unimaginable things before it even reaches their thoughts, like blinking before you see something heading for your eye. There’s much about the way Muslims are brought up to think (not just ISIS) that Harris lays out very carefully in his commentary. Much of this it would not have occurred to me to explain as I take them to be self-evident. But they’re only self-evident, I’ve come to realise, because I was once a Muslim. If I’d commented on this material, I’d have run into the same tired objections from Western people that I always run into. Harris, I suspect, will do better.

By the same token, I think he still doesn’t quite appreciate what madrassas do to the minds of children. There is a difference between someone who converts to Islam in adulthood, and someone who’d been done in a madrassa. And while the story of the Finnish convert to Islam is horrific and her worldview glows in the same light of insanity as that of her co-religionists around her (and there is no reason to doubt a word of it), it is also misleading. It tends to prejudice the reader into thinking that what ISIS calls for and offers, in fact what the Qur’an calls for and offers, is something that appeals or fails to appeal equally to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It does not. A Muslim who has been through the madrassa experience is primed to be receptive to this and does not require ISIS to turn him or her into a similar monster, indeed, does not require anyone at all, when it comes to it. For as long as there has been Islam there have been people who, if imagined within today’s context, would have been a perfect match for any of the Muslim terrorist groups plaguing the world today. In their own time, they might’ve taken up the sword, or wandered around as isolated, lonely individuals whom others might have politely avoided. I can think of several people I’d known in my childhood (before the world went nuts), who would have been viable candidates for jihad. Muslims turning to practising Islam in the manner the Qur’an demands (for example by joining ISIS) is much more like flicking a switch that sets something in motion, than the voluntarism implied by an appeal a convert might respond to.

Nonetheless, I am very glad that this excellent commentary is out there.

My take on Trump (something I really didn’t want to write)

The most powerful democracy in the world, in every imaginable sense, has recently had a presidential election. It is a democracy often praised for its robustness, not least by those living under it and benefitting directly from it. Key amongst its lauded strengths is the system of checks and balances that comes from three independent arms of government and resulting in a self-correcting system. It is a system that isn’t perfect, some would say far from perfect, what with the corroding influence of money, the dumbing influence of the media and the trivialising influence of celebrity culture. Another of its key strengths is the rule of law. Elections are held every four years without fail and no President serves more than two terms (I believe there has been one in extremis exception).

I was stunned, not by Donald Trump’s victory at the polls, but by the meltdown that hit liberal America in its wake. Sure, this man is a gross specimen of all there is to be embarrassed about in the human character, but didn’t he just get elected fair and square by one-person-one-vote secret ballot? Isn’t he as much proof of the robustness of American democracy as the election of Barack Hussein Obama before him? Indeed, witnessing the apoplexy besetting America’s liberal intelligentsia, I couldn’t help recalling the anguished sound and inarticulate fury of the barely-literate right in the wake of a black man’s moving into the White House on 20 January 2009. Liberal America seems to have forgotten that.

They seem also to have forgotten that Donald John Trump did not elect himself to power. Distasteful and dangerous as many of his views might be, those are the views of enough Americans for the robust democratic system to have cleared him for Presidential office. There was no mistake here, not even a hanging chad. American democracy is intact and working exactly as it should. So far, Donald Trump is no threat to it. Should he get out of hand, well, there are those checks and balances we’ve all heard about. Let’s see whether it’s really the guarantee that it’s made out to be. If he manages to avoid impeachment to make it to the four-year mark, he’s going to have to face another election. That’s what the law says.

So I was more than a little alarmed to read Rosa Brooks’ 3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020 in the 30 January 2017 issue of Foreign Policy magazine, in which she calls for the ousting of the US President by military coup. Ever since the frenzy to seek out and murder Salman Rushdie, I have been implacable opposed to the notion “responsible free speech,” which has only been reinforced by the slaughter of the staff at Charlie Hebdo. Rosa Brooks’ piece is a clear case of irresponsible free speech, one that gave me much pause for thought. Ms Brooks’ irresponsible exercise of free speech does not prompt me to call for responsible free speech, but I have a few things to say about it.

Brooks seems unaware of what fire she is playing with. Equally unaware she seems, of the very a large population in the world, and many generations of them, who are all too familiar with military coups d’états, the people who seize power through them, and the near-impossibility of getting rid of them afterwards, not to mention the ‘clean-up’ they feel obliged to carry out while they hold power. One can only hope that Brooks doesn’t live within earshot of a stadium, for her children’s sakes, if not for hers. The bizarreness of her proposition deepens when one keeps in mind that she proposes a coup because she finds the US democratic system’s checks and balances wanting. She explores each of the three checks-and-balances provisions of the democratic system: the next Presidential election; impeachment; and the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. These will not do, she finds. Call in the generals!

Donald Trump may well turn out to be the catastrophe he threatens to be. But let’s just take a look at this. The first point, and one that Brooks might do well to take note of, is that Donald Trump did not seize power in a military coup. This alone shows him to have more respect for democracy than she has. The judicial arm of government (remember those checks and balances?) has already stepped in to block one of his Executive Orders, and although he is considering further legal action, the point is that it is legal action. At this moment, democracy is safer in his hands than it would be in Brooks’.

The judges who blocked the Executive Order banning travel from a number of Muslim countries didn’t do so because Trump is the crazy maniac of many a commentator, but because his Order did not comply with the rules of American democracy. It is worth remembering that to another section of the electorate, Barack Obama had been a crazy maniac, but he, too, complied with the rules of democracy. Many of those voters wanted extra-judicial action against Obama and his family. But then they are right wing, many of them barely literate; that’s what they do; it’s their dinner-table talk.

Of course Trump’s bigotry against Muslims, against anyone, needs to be opposed. But I know Islam, I know its dangerous agenda and I know how its fifth column operates. I am very familiar with the Muslim track record of turning very unpleasant indeed, once they reach a certain proportion of the population they joined. The Muslim Brotherhood is the organisation through which this infiltration takes place. The task of moving against the Muslim Brotherhood does not go away, just because Trump is a bigot against Muslims. Put differently, Trump’s coming to power does not abrogate the Qur’an. It is still there in every Muslim heart, as ISIS so tauntingly boasts. Trump’s bigotry against Muslims risks all critique and exposure of Islam and action against the Muslim Brotherhood being associated with his bigotry. It tends to silence critique of Islam for fear of association with Trump. How long will it be before the increasingly hapless regressive left accuses ex-Muslims, the ultimate critics of Islam, of complicity in anti-Muslim pogroms? Another side effect is to bog down critics of Islam in endless disclaimers of not being against Muslims (this is, in fact, a double problem because Muslims do need to be criticised, as I do in some of my earlier posts).

Donald Trump has taken Office and placed others of similar outlook into all the key positions of power, another complaint of the liberal intelligentsia. But that’s what all presidents do. Note that none of those he put in power are his children or his brothers-in-law. In most of the world, for example, in the Muslim world or where coups are perennial, that standard remains a fantasy. He has moved against people he perceives to pose a threat to the security of the United States. That is part of the job of the President. Arguably, his main appeal to the electorate lay in his contention that his predecessor had been negligent in this aspect of his duties.

But here’s the rub. When considering impeachment against the President, Brooks enthuses, “the good news is that Congress doesn’t need evidence of actual treason or murder to move forward with an impeachment,” exactly what Trump maintains when he moves against all Muslims. I would grant that Ms Brooks is “not actually insane,” despite her sharing this excitement for extra-evidential coercion with Mr Trump.

Of course Americans are right to protest what they perceive as the excesses of their government, whether holding placards or writing articles in magazines. It is something the intelligentsia have both the skills and the time for. One wonders what scenes will have unfolded on the streets and in the airports of America, had those who were distressed by the previous elected President’s policies and actions had the skills and the time to vent their spleens likewise. We’ll, they have neither the skills nor the time, and what we saw was white rage, the only avenue open to the inarticulate poor. Until Bernie Sanders came along, that is.

The Bernie Sanders campaign reminded us that the working class is not inherently socially backward, and also that they’d been abandoned. The way I see it is, firstly, why would the party of finance capital want to open that particular can of worms? Secondly, why would the liberal intelligentsia, especially its regressive and more vociferous elements, want to rock their very comfortable multiculturalism and diversity boat? The key lesson that I take from the Sanders campaign is that the answer lies not in taking over the Democratic Party, as some propose, but in rendering it irrelevant. That came very close to actually happening, until the diversity button got pressed and all energy had to be diverted to putting a woman in power, even if she was the crooked mouthpiece of finance capital.

And now that same identity politics with its multicultural mind-set, having indirectly put Trump in power, instead of taking a good hard look at itself, doubles down to entrench multiculturalism still further. It is the whine of the regressive liberal, all sound and fury, signifying petulance.