Thursday, 29 April 2010

Open letter to Simon Crean on Sharia Compliant Finance

Dear Mr Crean,
I refer to the Austrade Paper “Islamic Finance” of February 2010.
I do not think the Australian government or its arm Austrade should be in the business of promoting any religiously-based financing.  There are a number of seriously problematic areas with Islamic Finance, commonly known as “Shariah-Compliant Finance”.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

"Muslims in Amsterdam", BBC's Heart & Soul Programme

Listen to the podcast here, and at left is the main interviewee, Fatima Elatik, Mayor of the Dutch town of Zeeburg.

My feedback to Auntie...

Congratulations on an interesting and well-balanced — well, relatively well-balanced  -- story on “Muslims in Amsterdam”!

It was good to hear from Muslims who, for once, did not play the “victimhood” card too aggressively and did not try to foist on us the old furphy that “
Islam is a religion of peace which has been hijacked by extremist elements”, or similar farragoes of nonsense.  Thank goodness for such mercies...

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

"Not even in South Park?", Ross Douthat

I have a lot of time for Ross Douthat.  He writes with insight and clarity.  I want to make sure his article below is here in full, just in case it gets pulled.  You never know these days.  The South Park episode from pre-9/11, sometime in March 2001 as I recall, is now no longer available online because Comedy Central pulled it, in response to the bullying Islamist at  What was interesting about that is that the twerp at revolutionislam is noone really, just a guy and a website.  Yet all he had to do was suggest that Matt Stone and Trey Parker might be killed, and Comedy Central stood by their guys' rights to freedom of speech .... "folded like Bedouin tents", says Mark Steyn, in his amusing take on the issue, here.  "They censored 'South Park,' not only cutting all the references to Mohammed but, in an exquisitely post-modern touch, also removing the final speech about the need to stand up to intimidation."
A key para from Douthat's piece:
This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.
One conclusion he has is that
Happily, today’s would-be totalitarians are probably too marginal to take full advantage. This isn’t Weimar Germany, and Islam’s radical fringe is still a fringe, rather than an existential enemy..  
In this he may be underplaying the reality.  For there are large majorities (over 70% in the UK) who are in favour of Shariah law and large minorities (in the 40s%) who support suicide bombing.  It only took around 3-5% of Germans to be Nazi or of Russians to be Bolshevik, for those totalitarian states to take hold.

Now read on....

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

"White House quietly courts Muslims in the US"

A truly egregious piece of apologia in the New York Times, known here in Hong Kong as the International Herald Tribune.
I wrote to the NYT,  as below.  There's no chance of their running this as a letter or as anything else, but there's always the hope that sub-editors will read it and something may stick....

Ingrid Mattson, head of ISNA, at left in full clobber.
Read on, and learn....

Nazism and Islam

Bernie Planck has a post "Were all Nazis Evil?".  This reminds me that I've been meaning for a while to post something about what I call "analysis by coffee shop".  Which means: analysing what a country is like by who you meet at the coffee shop. Or in the taxi.  Or whereever.  That's all very well and useful, and right.  But it's not really relevant to the ideology of the state.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Confucius for the modern world

At left, a portrait of Confucius from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).  You can tell from the mug that he didn't get to where he did -- sage for the ages -- on his looks alone.
The calligraphy above him says, reading right to left, top to bottom
(my translation, so excuse the infelicities):

The spirits gathers from afar
The sage knows whereof all is come
the limits of heaven and earth
the passing brightness of the seasons
The Emperor sets an example
The Old and New in their place
Morality respects the ages
and The Way follows the Six Classics.

South Park gets death threat

One of the themes of what I say here is this: that the so-called "radicals" in Islam, the "extremists" who, we are told, "hijack" the Religion of Peace to the consternation of "moderate Muslims",  are in fact nothing of the sort.  They are mainstream pious Muslims who have read their scripture: the Koran, the Hadith and the Sirah (the life of Muhammad).  The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the same thing, commenting about so-called "moderate Islam":
"These descriptions are very ugly; it is offensive and an insult to our religion.  There is no moderate or immoderate [sic] Islam.  Islam is Islam and that's it." [Source: MilliyetTurkey, August 21, 2007]. 
But back to "South Park"...

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Music in Islam -- a no-no

This is Allah Rakha Rahman (aka A. R. Rahman, née Dileep Kumar), a "huge star in his native India", we are told.  Rahman converted to Islam when he was 23.  I always wonder about that: why do people convert to Islam, if they read the basic texts, the Koran, the Hadith and the Sirah (the Muslim official account of life of Muhammad)?  I wonder how they can reconcile the incessant violent, sectarian, supremacist statements in that fundamental doctrine, with the concept of living in peace and harmony with one's fellow man.  Ahh.. but then he's a Sufi.  All is explained.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Global warming: causes and symptoms

Letter to International Herald Tribune (the global edition of the New York Times) sent 15th April:

Monday, 12 April 2010

"A calm, credible voice for Islam"

Mary Sanchez has bought the Muslim Public Affairs Council line that it's anti-terrorist and just a "misunderstood" representative of moderate Islam.  Her full article is here, and my posting to it below.

Five points to moderate Islam

Every now and then, in response to claims by Muslims that their religion is misunderstood, that it's actually a "Religion of Peace", etc, etc, Robert Spencer repeats five points for Muslims to make it very clear to we "Islamophobes" that they are indeed serious about being anti-terrorist.

He ran the list again today, and I wanted to keep it for the record.  It seems to me to be eminently reasonable.  It's in response to an article by Mary Sanchez headed "Wanted: a calm, credible voice to soothe Americans' fear of Islam". As Spencer notes:

Sunday, 11 April 2010

We live in the smartest place in the world: Hong Kong!

Just back from 1,200 miles on the South China Sea, a yacht race to the Philippines and back.  So, thought I'd slide gently back into Jihad-watching, with a bit of light reading, in the course of which I came across the figures below.  They are IQ per  country, showing a high correlation between GNP and IQ (0.73).