Monday, 31 August 2009

Should Rifqa be sent back to Ohio?

The case of a young girl called Rifqa Bary has been much in the media.  Should she be sent back to Ohio?  There are some who say that no matter what you've done, being sent to Ohio would constitute "cruel and unusual punishment".  Hmmm..... anyway, should she be sent back home to her family?  You decide….
She’s a 17 year old from Ohio, her parents from Sri Lanka, came to the US about 10 years ago.  Rifqa converted to Christianity four years ago, without telling her Sunni parents.  When the father found out, he threatened to kill her (says Rifqa: because of the Islamic laws on apostasy) and so she ran away to Florida, and is now in the care of a Christian group.  The father wants her back, says he loves her and she can follow any religion she wants. 
Public concern was voiced.  The Florida governor ruled that she is to stay in Florida until an investigation can be made into the family’s circumstances.
Muslim and some non-Muslim commentators say she should be sent back to her family. Others say she should be left where she’s safe from the possibility of another “honour killing” at the hands of her male relatives.
What’s fair to say:
For now, it’s still a “she says, he says” situation.
What’s not fair to say:
That the father has “good will” (the Ohio police) and that he’s “not a fundamentalist” (Salam al-Marayati, refs below).  How do they know?  If they’re wrong, the penalty is Rifqa’s life.
It seems to me that while there’s any doubt, she has to stay where she is.
Meantime, the case has raised –  yet again –  the issue of apostasy in Islam and the penalty for it.  There is no death penalty for apostasy says al-Marayati.  “no it’s not [in the Koran], sweet little Rifqa”, says al-Marayati. "...sweet little Rifqa" (!!).  shudder... and ... ugh….
Al-Marayati is plain wrong.   The penalty for apostasy in Sunni Islam is death.  Many commentators on the Huffington site have pointed this out.  I would add the mandate from the Classic Manual of Islamic law the ‘Umdat al-Salik, o.8.1:
When a person … apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed”. 
And apostates have been killed, most recently and most often in Pakistan.   Islam is the only religion that had and still has laws mandating the death for those who wish to leave it.
Interestingly, the comments on the Huffingon Post, which is a left-of-centre site, are solidly against the tenor of al-Marayati’s piece and point out the juridical and religious grounds for the death penalty for apostasy in Islam. 
References:
1.    Rifqa Bary.   YouTube, 11 August 09.
4.    Rifqa, the Reverand [sic] and Apostasy,  Salam al-Marayati, Huffington Post, 18 August 2009
3.    Anti-Muslim bias in Fathima Rifqa Bary case.  Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel, 23 August 2009
4.    Media Distort Facts of Threatened Muslim Girl Story, Pamela Geller, Newsmax, 24 August 2009
5.    “Apostasy” and Wafa Sultan’s exchange….  Andrew Bostom, JihadWatch, 30 August 2009.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Islamic charity: alms for arms?....


My wife has been onto me recently: “you’re always banging on about the negative side of Islam.  Surely there’s some positives”.
So I took her up and started a re-read of the Koran, looking for positives:  and I found one!   Or did I?...  The Koran calls for the giving of alms, zakat.   How this is given in practice is defined in the Umdat al-Salik, ("Reliance of the Traveller").  Read on, for more on Zakat, the Islamic giving of alms...
What is Zakat?: it means “growth, blessings, an increase in good, purifications or praise” (h1.0.  For source of these see bottom of post)
Who must pay Zakat?: all free Muslims (h1.1).  Apostates need not pay because “their property is considered to belong to the Muslim common fund from the moment such people leave Islam.” (h1.2, emphasis in the original).  This is because as apostates, they will have been killed (o8.1).
How much is Zakat?:  2.5% (h4.0 et. seq.).  The percentage is a bit different if your wealth is goats or camels, in which case discuss with your investment adviser.
To whom must Zakat be given?:  Most importantly it can only be given to Muslims (h8.7 et. seq.).   This law is derived from the Koran, 9.60 “Alms are only for … those whose hearts are made to incline to Truth (i.e. to Islam)… and in the way of Allah.”  The meaning and intent of the word “Zakat” is therefore materially different from the western concept of “charity”.
There are eight – and only eight -- categories of authorized recipients of Zakat (h8.8-18):
1.  The poor
2.  Those short of money
 3.  Zakat “workers”: i.e. charitable agencies
4.  Those “whose hearts are to be reconciled”: such as new converts to Islam. But specifically not non-Muslims.
 5.  Those purchasing their freedom (i.e. slaves)
6.  Those in debt  [just like the TARP...]
7.  "Those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster, but who are volunteers without remuneration” (h8.17.  Emphasis in the original)
       8.  The traveller in need of money (Muslim only).
In all but the Hanbali legal school, the amount of Zakat that one gives shall be divided equally between all eight categories.  That is 12.5% each.  That means that by Islamic law, 12.5% of Zakat will go to those engaged in offensive Jihad.  Note re category 7: Wikipedia simply says “in the way of Allah” (ref).  The Sunni Law according to the 'Umdat is much more direct: “those fighting for Allah” and in case we miss the point: “in Islamic military operations….”.  Not much doubt about what the “charity” money must be used for…. 
Muslim charities, distributing Zakat, have been in the news recently. Muslim organisations and the American Civil Liberties Union claim that Islamic charities are being unfairly targeted for investigation by US authorities, scrutinized, unfairly they claim, for possible payments of Zakat to terrorist-linked groups.
You be the judge: given that (A) all Muslims must give Zakat; that (B) Zakat can only go to Muslims (oh dear!); and that (C) by law at least 12.5% of Zakat must go to military Jihadi operations, is there not an a priori case for close scrutiny of all Islamic charity groups?  Isn’t there?  Given that in practice, not just in theory, we know that Zakat has gone to Jihadi organisations?  Don’t want to judge?  Ok, then, let me do it for you: of course there’s a case for srutinising them!  Edmund Blackadder: “of course, of course, of course, of course…..”.  Of course.

References with letter/number (eg, h8.17) are from the ‘Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), the Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, authorized, inter alia, by Cairo’s al-Azhar University, the ancient seat of Islamic learning (and the co-sponsor of Obama’s recent address to the Muslim world), and the International Institute of Islamic Thought.  The ‘Umdat summarises the Sharia of the four schools of Sunni Islamic law (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali), and is recognised in the Islamic world as the authoritative summary of Sunni jurisprudence.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Water, water, waste away

I've upset the greenies in my family by coming out against "organic" food as being a big con.  But here's one that should please them: stop using bottled water!

  • 28 billion plastic bottles per year
  • 86% end up as garbage
  • 1500 per second
  • Cost $US 100 billion per year
  • and create 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide

And the crazy thing: where most of us live, tap water is fine.

(See if you can find mistakes in the pps; there are at least two internally inconsistent numbers; they don't detract from the message, but still....)

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

"The book I just couldn't put down". Free speech alert!

 (Brief background: Author Sebastian Faulks was interviewed about his new book, A Week in December, in the UK’s Telegraph.  He made some fairly tart remarks about the Koran and Muhammad.  Amongst other things, he said that Muhammad could be considered to have been schizophrenic, given that he heard voices in his head (true!).  Two days later, the Telegraph has pulled the original interview and Faulks is in the Telegraph again, this time with a full column of apologia, all of a sudden finding great merit in the Koran, and Muhammad a model of leadership.)
PF Letter to the Sebastian Faulks website:
Like many others, I was disturbed to see the apology by Mr. Faulks to the allegedly upset and offended Muslims....  I happened to agree with pretty much all of what he said in his original article, [pulled from the Telegraph, and only available here].  the one in which he robustly characterised the Koran as “very one dimensional”, “a depressing book”, and about Muhammad, said:  “Muhammad had nothing to say to the world other than, 'If you don't believe in God you will burn forever.’”
These are demonstrably true statements (at least, they are the conclusions of a reasonable, sane and analytical mind on reading the source work).
What on earth possessed Mr. Faulks to issue the craven apology for upsetting the over-delicate sensitivities of some Muslims?  Who — which Muslim organisation -- was it that scared him into the retraction of his views expressed so robustly, into apology, into “humility”, into “plenty of respect”?
On a proposed meeting with Ajmal Masroor, spokesman of the Islamic Council for Britain, why does Mr. Faulks think it necessary to “navigate” by a “cultural compass” of Mr. Masroor’s Islam, rather than expect Mr. Masroor to navigate by the prevailing cultural compass of the surrounding, British, culture?  To take the metaphor a bit further, navigating by two compasses, if they read differently — as one assumes from the context they will -- is surely a recipe for getting well and truly lost.
Why does Mr. Faulks say “I would enter any such dialogue with a degree of humility and
plenty of respect for his religion and his scripture” (my emphasis).  Isn’t it enough to approach such a meeting with sincerity and an open mind.  (“humility”? “respect”?? and “plenty” of it?? gild that lily, sir !..).

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

BBC reads out part of my letter...

BBC Radio just read out on air the first bit of my letter, in full here.  (I was never expecting they would read it in full; just that some of it might be read by BBC editors and inform future coverage).
They also read out -- for balance, of course! --  a comment from someone else saying Scheuer's views were "a breath of fresh air", which only goes to show how little attention and research people do into these issues.  I guess people have jobs....  
They're pretty big issues, one might add, when they revolve around whether giving in to alleged Islamic grievances such as Palestine, the "US occupation of Arabia", and so forth, will be sufficient to have us coexisting peacefully with Islam (as Scheuer maintains), or whether the likes of al-Qaeda have broader aims, such as full Islamic suzerainty over the world via imposition of the Sharia -- as is the demonstrable case, as I point out below.
I'm still hoping the Beebs might take up my suggestion to have Raymond Ibrahim on the show to counter Scheuer's dangerous and disingenuous views.

If we give away Israel, all will be ok.... (not)

Michael Scheuer claims on BBC Radio International (675 AM Hong Kong) that there is no "corpus of rhetoric" to show that Osama bin Laden “hates the West’s liberty, freedom or our way of life”.   If we address Islamic grievances (Palestine, Iraq war, abandon Israel, and so forth) we shall be able to coexist in peace.
In this he is demonstrably wrong.  Worse: he is willfully –and therefore deceitfully – wrong for he knows that such writings exist.
Demonstrably wrong:
In bin Laden’s  essay (a “letter”) of May 2002, directed at Saudi sheiks (that is, for Islamic-eyes only), titled “Moderate Islam is a Prostration to the West” 1, bin Laden says:
On freedom, liberty and the West’s way of life:
“For practically everything valued by the immoral West is condemned under Sharia law.” (p.37)
On coexistence:
“Does Islam or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually?  Yes.  There are only three choices in Islam; either willing submission; or payment of the jizya [tax on non-Muslims]…; or the sword – for it is not right to let the infidel live.  The matter is summed up for every person alive: Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam; or die”.  (p.42)
In case we miss the point: 
“In fact, Muslims are obligated to raid the lands of the infidels, occupy them and exchange their systems of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practice that contradicts the Sharia from being publicly voiced among the people…”. (p.51)
These are clear and unequivocal statements by al-Qaeda, and there are many, many more, authorized or written by bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri.  Why does Mr. Scheuer say they “don’t exist”??
Willfully wrong: it would be one thing if Scheuer were ignorant of bin Laden’s writings.   But he is not, as evidenced by the debate, in late 2008, with Raymond Ibrahim here. Scheuer says Ibrahim has been “selective”.  Well, of course one has to be selective in any “Reader”….   But, as Ibrahim points out, the Reader quotes writings and speeches from al-Qaeda which are directed both at the Muslim world and those directed at the West.  In any case, whatever the selectivity, to say that there is no evidence of al-Qaeda hating the West’s freedom (“hating our MacDonalds” as Scheuer cutely puts it), is clearly false and it is equally clear that Scheuer knows of these writings.
This is too  important a topic to leave the last word to Scheuer and his deceit.  As Scheuer himself says, it’s a matter of “knowing one’s enemy”.  Are al-Qaeda after settling grievances (Palestine, the Iraq and Afghani wars, etc), or are they after world domination of Islamic Sharia?  Clearly the former does not preclude the latter.  And clearly the latter – suzerainty of Islamic Sharia – is of overarching importance to al-Qaeda and their fellow travellers.  To say that it’s only the former (Islamic grievances), as does Scheuer and to ignore the latter (Islamic suzerainty) is surely propagating a dangerous misconception.
I urge the BBC to invite Raymond Ibrahim to put the case that the world view of bin Laden and his cronies includes world-wide Islamic caliphate, under Sharia law.

1. The Al Qaeda Reader,  Raymond Ibrahim, Doubleday, NY, 2007, p22 et. seq.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Hit 'em, but please don't starve 'em; that's un-Islamic!

There’s been a lot in the MSM about a new Afghani law that allows the marital rape of women and punishing them by beating or starving them if they refuse sex. Some commentators have said the law is (i) against the Constitution of Afghanistan, or (ii) it’s not Islamic.
What are the facts?
The Afghanistan Constitution Article 3 states:
“In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.”
In other words, “provisions of the sacred religion of Islam” are paramount even over the Constitution.  That is, Sharia trumps the Constitution.
What does Sharia law say about this issue?  I turn to my trusty bedside companion: Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), the “Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law”.  The Umdat is authorized, inter alia, by Al-Azhar University, the oldest university in the Islamic world and the chief centre of Sunni Islamic learning (also the co-sponsor of Obama’s recent speech to the Muslim world).
What does the Umdat say:
“m5.1:  It is obligatory for a woman to let her husband have sex with her immediately when he asks her.”
“w45.1    A woman is not obliged to serve her husband by baking, grinding flour, cooking, washing, or any other kind of service, because the marriage contract entails for her part, only that she let him enjoy her sexually and she is not obligated to do other than that”.  
Got that?  No need for her to bake a cake or grind his flour, but if he wants to put sausage in her cooker, or grind her flower, he has the right to do that, whenever he wants.
What of punishment if she refuses?   The rules don’t beat about the bush here; for those of us used to bemoaning political correctness in public discourse, there’s a refreshing frankness in the title of this provision:
“m10.11 DEALING WITH A REBELLIOUS WIFE
“m10.12  When a husband notices a sign of rebelliousness in his wife… or he asks her to come to bed and she refuses… he warns her in words…. If she commits rebelliousness he… may hit her, but not in any way that injures her, meaning he may not break bones, wound her or cause blood to flow.  He may hit her whether she is rebellious only once or whether more than once…”. [emphasis in the original]
So, there you have it.  Clear rulings.  No mention there of starving the woman.  Just hitting her.   Got that guys: it’s ok to hit; not ok to starve her.  So in that sense the law is un-Islamic.  Hey, maybe that’s what they meant!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Khomeini on non-Muslims and camel-shagging

Remember the old fun-loving grey-beard, the Ayatollah Khomeini?  He who led the Iranian revolution in ‘79 and issued a fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie?  He who said "there is no fun in Islam"?
I came across this recently in his collection of fatwas:
There are eleven things which are impure: urine, excrement, sperm, bones, blood, dogs, pigs, non-Muslim men and women, wine, beer, and the sweat of the excrement-eating camel.
Resaleh Towzih al-Masa'el (“Questions Clarified”), Qom, 1961, No. 83. P48.
So there it is folks: we non-believers are wedged in there between pigs and camel sweat!  Mind you, in a rare case of treating the sexes equally, the "men and women" are treated as one.  Then we are only infidels, after all.
Oh.. and talking of camels:
A man can have sex with animals such as sheep, cows, camels and so on. However he should kill the animal after he has his orgasm. He should not sell the meat to the people in his own village. However, selling the meat to the next door village should be fine.
Khomeini, Tahrirolvasyleh, Translated by Darol Elm, Qom, 1990

Gwyneth Paltrow, Larry King in Vanity Fair


Wonderful words from La Gwyneth, in this month’s Vanity Fair (September).   So funny, unexpected when I read the first para.  Woody Allen meets… who?… Steve Martin, Dave Barry?....
 A taste …
What is it about books that make them so truly great to read? I think it’s the way the words are printed on every page, the right way up and in just the right order.
This means you can start reading on the first page and then continue reading through the middle pages all the way to the last page.
Here are some of my absolute favorite books. War, by Leo Tolstoy. A great read. Bonus: You can get it as part of a two-volume edition which includes Peace by the same great author.
Shakespeare, by Shakespeare. He has so many great lines. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” “I am the Walrus.” “My heart will go on.” They’re part of the language.
Next week, we learn to peel a banana with a world-expert fruit psychologist.
Share her “secrets to happiness” here.
Another line I  liked in this week’s VF:  James Wolcott, in Mourning with Larry [King], on the recent death of Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s longtime sidekick who
“…lobbed Carson setup lines that he could swat into the bleachers with a cool flick of the wit."

"Europe's Islamic Revolution"

In the latest Newsweek (24 to 31 August), Michael Freedman, under the title above, reviews Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.
Freedman concludes as follows:
Caldwell is right that Europe is struggling to cope with people who don’t always share its liberal values.  But he too easily discounts the strength and resilience of those values.  After all, in the past 65 years European civilization and ideals prevailed over two far more anchored, confident and intimidating regimes – communism and Nazism – that were targeted at the proletarian or middle-class majorities in major powers.  To argue as Caldwell does that it will be unable [to] do so again – against extreme Islam, which has no center and appeals to the fringe of what is only a small minority – is deeply and unnecessarily pessimistic.”
Thoughts on this:
Do we want to wait until Islam is as great a threat as Communism and Nazism?
Both Communism and Nazism were essentially secular.  Islamism is “religious”.  It’s Allah and his Prophet who call the shots and if one dies doing their commands, one goes to a bacchanalian heaven.  That’s a much more powerful draw.
Freedman trots out the “tiny minority of extremist argument”.  This is simply not true.  See my comments here, in part…
“In a poll conducted in 2007 and broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 TV, nearly 25% of British Muslims said the July 7, 2005, terror bombings in London were justified. Another 30% said they would prefer to live under strict Islamic Sharia law rather than England's democratic system.
One in four justifying terror may not be a majority, but it certainly isn't a ‘tiny section’ either.”
As Caldwell points out “There were probably fewer Bolshevicks in Russia in 1917 than there are Islamists in Europe today."
Finally: the very fact that Islamism is carried out as a Stealth Jihad, that it’s not outwardly as confrontational as Communism and Nazism – well, the little issue of violent terrorism aside…. –  makes it all the more dangerous, the classic case of the slowly boiling frog. A Sharia court here, a fear to publish a cartoon there, the steady spread of Sharia.  Not that the Islamists’ aims are any sort of  conspiracy; far from it, as they advertise their aim clearly, forcefully and often.  It is to bring Europe into Dar al-Islam, the Land of Islam, ruled by Sharia law. But the effort proceeds steadily rather than by revolution.  In that sense, of course, Freedman is correct.  It’s not a Revolution.  At least not yet. 

Gates closing to Fortress Europe

From South China Morning Post, 21 August, an article by Shada Islam, a senior programme executive at the European Policy Centre.

Facing a worsening economic outlook and increasing public hostility to foreign workers, Europe's governments are quietly revising their asylum policies. This controversial new approach includes stricter maritime controls in the Mediterranean, including the interception of boats carrying would-be refugees and immigrants before they reach European territory.

Those caught by patrol guards are forcibly sent to Libya, the North African country used by many would-be asylum seekers as a base to set out for Europe but which is notorious for flouting refugee rights.

The tough new policy, favoured by politicians such as Italy's conservative prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, certainly plays to the public mood.

Note here: democracy is good, the likes of Shada Islam would no doubt say.  But when the δμος – the people –  come to a common-sense conclusion they don’t like, then it’s either “populist” or it“plays to the public mood” or some equally pejorative term, because we intellectuals – don’t you know – are more enlightened and know what’s best for society.

But, by keeping out young potential workers, it fails to take account of the continent's longer-term concern about labour shortages, clouding the future of ageing Europe.

True, but the needs of the labour market in Europe are for skilled workers, while those from Islamic countries, North Africa, the Middle East or South Asia are young, uneducated and unskilled.

Mass forced deportations also breach European countries' commitments to international conventions on the protection of refugees and run counter to a European Union pledge to craft a more humane policy for providing shelter to those fleeing violence and persecution.

Europe's battle to keep out the unwanted is being played out in dramatic - and often tragic - fashion in Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Malta. The UN High Commission for Refugees estimates that, in 2008, more than 67,000 people, including African, Asian and Middle Eastern asylum seekers…

For that source read: Islamic

…tried to enter Europe via the Mediterranean, often making the perilous sea journey in rickety boats. Many are known to drown or starve to death during the voyage.

Those lucky enough to survive are interned in crowded, make-shift camps in places like Lampedusa, an Italian island halfway between the European mainland and Libya, pending a review of their asylum applications. Determined to stem the tide, however, Rome is now leading the way in sending the refugees it intercepts in the Mediterranean back to Libya. About 900 people are so far believed to have been packed off to Tripoli in Libyan patrol boats, following a co-operation agreement between the two countries.

Human rights groups, backed by the Vatican, are angry at Italy's open flouting of international rules that ban mass deportations, but Rome says its new stance is more humane because it discourages migrants from embarking on hazardous sea voyages to Europe.

Certainly, the number of refugees seeking asylum in Italy has gone down. But human rights groups fear that Italy's aggressive action marks the start of a Europe-wide move to "outsource" the bloc's asylum and migration policies to African countries, many of which are anxious to receive European funds in return for such co-operation, but which, like Libya, have not signed the 1951 Geneva Convention on refugee rights.

"Fortress Europe ... is a reality," Irene Khan, secretary general of Amnesty International, said during a visit to Brussels earlier this year. "Access to Europe is very difficult and the initial border of the EU is being pushed further and further away."

With illegal migrants in the EU believed to number about 8 million, Ms Khan's criticism is shrugged off by policymakers who view refugees as would-be economic immigrants seeking to bluff their way into Europe. Governments across Europe are restricting peoples' right to apply for asylum upon reaching European soil - and to appeal against a rejection if necessary. Like Italy, other EU countries are also increasingly ignoring international conventions that bar refugees from being sent back to countries where they might be in danger.

Reflecting the new get-tough stance, the European Commission, meanwhile, backed efforts to strengthen the EU border control agency Frontex to stop the influx of boat refugees while racist and xenophobic parties performed exceptionally well in elections to the European Parliament held in June.

For “racist party” read Britain’s BNP, which is indeed explicitly racist and a rather horrid political grouping.   For “xenophobic”, read Dutch Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders.  It’s not so much “xenophobic” (Wilders specifically refutes that charge), as it is against the Islamification of Europe; as, say I, should anyone be who has studied even a modicum of the tenets of that baleful “religion”.

As the recession bites, mainstream European politicians are also using anti-foreigner rhetoric to win votes. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown caused consternation last year when he said he wanted to keep "British jobs for British workers". Many French and German politicians increasingly make no secret of their anti-immigration sentiments.

So far, only Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden have met or surpassed a long-standing United Nations target for rich nations to provide 0.7 per cent of their income in development aid by 2015.

The current economic slowdown may help ease some of the pressure on Europe. However, given the vast disparity in wealth between Europe and Africa, despite Europe's downturn, the prospect of a better life will continue to entice many to risk the dangerous voyage to Europe.

That is probably just as well: old and ageing Europe needs skilled and unskilled foreign labour to work in its factories, farms and growing service industries.

Again, true, but the needs of the labour market in Europe are for skilled workers.  Those from Islamic countries, North Africa, the Middle East or South Asia are predominatly young, uneducated and unskilled.

Even as it implements tougher policies to keep out illegal foreigners, the European Commission is encouraging EU states to sign "partnership" agreements with developing countries to encourage the legal immigration of workers.

The commission is also behind a so-called "blue card" scheme under which EU states are allowed to open their doors to a limited number of high-skilled workers. The initiative is enthusiastically backed by Europe's hi-tech sectors.

Such workers are much more likely to come from East Asia, SE Asia and Eastern Europe, than the Islamic countries in N. Africa and the Middle East, where the education systems are so rotten that illiteracy is high and education/skill levels woefully poor.  See the 2009 Arab Human Development Report, which highlights this.

As EU governments struggle to compete in the global race for talent, they will have to work harder to convince a sceptical public of the need to create a more open and inclusive society.

An “open and inclusive society”, by all means.  That means immigrants that buy into that philosophy as well, that want to be open and inclusive themselves.

Europe's appetite for forced deportations may help leaders like Mr Berlusconi to win the next election but it could spell disaster for the long-term economic well-being and stability of the continent.

Not if the immigration is of high-skill people, or those willing to work hard and buy into the European enlightenment legacy.  The converse is true if the immigration brings in Muslims subject to the rantings of their religious leaders to exclude themselves from their host countries, to purify themselves with Islam, to fight the non-believing kuffirs, and to bring Sharia law to Europe.

 

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Snooze Patrol in China


Lovely article in South China Morning Post, 18 Aug, about photos taken of sleeping Chinese, by German business guy, Bernd Hagemann, who has lived in Shanghai for the last four years.  
The German amateur photographer has captured his subjects in a variety of unusual positions and places on the mainland - huddled in a plastic tub, dozing on an airport trolley and in a hammock tied beneath a truck - that bring smiles to viewers' faces.
"It's rare to see people sleeping in public places in Europe or America. It shocked me at first when I saw people napping almost everywhere and the fact that it was accepted by society," says Hagemann, 41.
I well remember when I first lived in Shanghai, in 1990, being charmed by people wandering round the streets in their pyjamas and wearing wet towels on their heads in summer.  The street is the common bedroom.


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

"Generation Islam" of the CNN

A Reader writes:

Saw a great report last night [14 Aug] about Islam. “Generation Islam” by Christiane Amanpour [CNN]. Backs my thoughts that it is about education and tolerance..

Tolerance.  Exactly.  But it doesn’t work if one religion is intolerant of others and claims supremacy over mankind, as does Islam. 

Generation Islam is not yet on YouTube, at least in full. There’s only snippets on the CNN site.  Amanpour visits a Taliban madrassa for young boys, which is pretty scary (“you will find my body in little pieces” sing the 10-year-olds, rocking as they chant from the Koran).  Eboo Patel, a “moderate Muslim” from the US talks of the need for good schools for the youth of Afghanistan.  Agree fully.  But he ends by saying that the education should include education on Islam; and here the circle squares, because if they’re being educated in Islam, they are being taught that Islam is supreme and “the best of religions”, for that’s in the heart of Islam.

Another of the contributors to the documentary is the Holy Land Trust, which in the US is an idicted co-conspirator charged with funding Hamas through its charity. (It is a requirement of Islamic charity, zakat, that it not go to non-Muslims, a distasteful enough requirement, worse when it goes to suicide killers).

Christiane Amanpour made a three-part 6-hour documentary called God’s Warriors which aired on CNN in August 2007.  I saw it and was startled by her moral equivalence.  She says there are terrorists in all religions (Timothy McVeigh, the bombers of an abortion clinic).  Quite true.  But there’s no real equivalence.  The sheer number of Islamic terrorist acts dwarfs the few Christian or Hindu terrorist acts, by a factor of thousands.  And in the west, any terrorist acts are universally condemned and abhorred, pursued by law enforcement, and brought to account.  Whereas the thousands-fold more committing Islamic acts of terror are praised as martyrs, supported by the public.

Rabbi Marvin Hier,  founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, notes that while there are about 200 Jews in Israel prone to violence there are literally thousands in Palestine.  And while the Israeli fanatics are hunted down and the whole of Israel speaks out against them, Hamas honours and applauds their “martyrs”.

There is simply no counterpart in any other religion for the radicalism of Islam.  It’s rather like saying “in Japan, there are not only Japanese; there are foreigners too”.  Right.  But 99% of the population is Japanese.  There are non-Islamic terrorists.   Right.  But 99% are Islamic.   Amanpour’s bias is in the very structure of the series: equal time to all three religions, even though the “warriors” today are almost all Islamic.  Even granting that she had to give this equal time, there is within the series the same sort of moral equivalence.    For example: “Jewish warriors” mentioned 22 times; “Moslem warriors” only 5.

There’s this same morally relativistic view in Generation Islam.  A report by John Blake, part of the documentary, says

 Terrorism is not confined to any faith or any culture. Terrorists are driven by varying impulses. Yet since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, terrorism has often been associated with young Muslim men. 

Now why would that be?  Could it be because almost all terrorist attacks before and after 9/11 have been by “young Muslim men”.  Could that be it?  Nah…. That’d be “islamophobic”.

Post-post: long discussion of Blake's article here.