Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Narrative Must Survive

Why is it so difficult to accept that Islam has deep rooted problems? We have 14 centuries of evidence and a core text which gives explicit sanction to every single action of Islamic State and all the actions of the various Islamic extremist groups. Yet still we stick with this ridiculous notion that it's all some sort of a misunderstanding. That an essentially peaceful religion is being twisted by a small number of fanatics.

There's a line in the film Full Metal Jacket which so brilliantly sums up the main attitude behind this brilliantly. When confronted with a young private who appears to have doubts about the war he explains that they are helping the Vietnamese because "inside every gook there's an American trying to get out." In a politically incorrect way, this articulates the very politically correct conceit at the core of the multicultural dogma - that our western values are universal human values, and only entrenched tyranny and ancient prejudice is preventing the world from living up to them.

The reality is a little more complex. Even if this is true on a genetic level, deep cultural values are ingrained in people from the moment they enter the world, and clearly not everyone aspires to the secular, western lifestyle. The tyrannies are as much a result of the culture as the culture a result of the tyranny, and thus the prejudices become self-reinforcing.

In this way 'diversity' tends not to lead to a united whole where everyone converges on a central idea and maintains superficial differences, but quite the reverse. People converge on superficial ideas while the deep rooted differences actually grow as they regard each others cultures with horror and recoil into self-propagating isolation.

In this way Muslim communities across the western world are more isolated than they were 30 years ago. Young Muslims born in western countries are more radical than their parents. Young women are more likely to wear hijabs and young men more likely to join IS. The entire narrative and ideology behind peaceful coexistence with curry and real ale has fallen apart.

A collapsing narrative of this type is difficult to process. The film Goodbye Lenin! captures this beautifully, following an East German family attempting to hide the collapse of Soviet Communism from their bedridden mother. It is something that people have a deep emotional attachment to and when defending it logically fails they will swear black is white rather than change their premises.

Thus David Cameron can say with utter certainty that Islam is a religion of peace just days after the Paris atrocity, sanctioned by a man with a Doctorate in Islamic studies and perpetrated by devout Muslims shouting 'Allahu Akbar.' Thus the media greeted with delight the advert in the Telegraph taken out by the Muslim Council of Britain condemning the attacks in the loosest terms. Thus the entire body of incredibly detailed research by the likes of Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes, along with the pronouncements of Muslim scholars themselves can be completely ignored in favour of vague platitudes.

The narrative must survive, even if it is wrong, because if it fails then all manner of assumptions which rest upon it also fail.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Secretary of (Islamic) State

US Secretary of State John Kerry made a telling remark recently about just how far down the Sharia road the Barak Hussein Obama administration is. Responding to the Paris attacks of the 13th of November he contrasted them with the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January:

“There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, ‘Okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.’"
Absorb those words. A sort of legitimacy to mowing down cartoonists and back office staff in a magazine office because they published something that offended them. He backpedalled on the word legitimacy fairly quickly, but his meaning is quite clear. The west must bend and moderate it's values to accommodate Islam.

Viewed as the inane mewlings of an outgoing 'progressive' Secretary of State this is one thing. However, that would be the wrong way to view it.

People have a misconception that sharia law in the west means beheadings and stonings. Sharia does mean these things in it's most extreme form, but that is just one aspect. It's like equating secular law with incarceration. 

Sharia is a legal system outlined in the Quran and developed over 1,400 years of Islamic jurisprudence. It covers how Muslims should live but also how non-Muslims must act, and how the two should interact. It is shamelessly supremacist, relegating non-Muslim dhimmi to second class status by treaty. Those who seek peace without converting to Islam are subject to a raft of restrictions and impositions. Converting to Islam removes these rules. 

The key point for Kerry's comments relates to the principle that the dhimmi, as such conquered people are known, is the well established principle that those who criticise Islam have broken their treaty obligations and are no longer protected.

The west is developing it's own form of Sharia, not by a formal pact but on a case by case basis where overt criticism of Islam or the defence of western values is seen as an afront to Islam.

A better lens through which to view this insane comment is to see John Kerry as some vanquished local priest in the medieval Levant. His church crumbling and his congregation dwindling. His response to another random outburst of sectarian violence against Christians is to try and restore order and safety at any price. To remind Christians that it's their fault for breaking the terms of the pact. 

He still notionally proclaims the truth of his faith, quietly, out of earshot of the Muslim rulers. But the message is clear. We must change to accommodate their violent intolerance. We know the rules, and we can't complain too much when they enforce them.

It is a sad and pathetic attitude for anyone in a free western country to have. For one of the most powerful political leaders in the most powerful of western countries it is appalling. What hope does anyone have of defending free speech when such a figure gives 'legitimacy' to the Charlie Hebdo attacks?

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Five Days

Five days. That's how long it took for someone to come out with the phrase that rightly deserves to be a parody of political cowardice and duplicity as regards violent Islam. The phrase of course is 'Religion of Peace.' I am amazed anyone can say it with a straight face.

"It cannot be said often enough that these butchers of IS are no reflection of the true religion of Islam, which is a religion of peace."

And it gets even stranger

"But we do have to recognise that whether these terrorists are in Tunisia, Paris or London, they spout the same bile that they claim comes from the religion of Islam.

That is why we have to take apart what they say and prove that's not the case."

What if when you take apart what they say you find that what they say exactly corresponds very closely to Islamic scripture and Islamic jurisprudence? A possibility he appears to have already ruled out, which is a strange starting point, unless he claims to know more about Islam than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of IS who has a PhD in Islamic Studies and has dedicated years of his life to better understanding the religion. Of peace.

An Unlikely Islamophobe

The excellent website of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posts translations of items from the media of the Middle East, and often comes up with interesting things. One recent article in particular stands out as being especially illuminating.

Adnan Hussein, the Editor if Iraqi daily newspaper Al-Mada wrote this excellent article in response to the attacks in Paris.

Discussing the causes of terrorism, he nowhere mentions the iniquities of global capitalism or the legacy European colonialism. He doesn't even mention the muddled American led intervention in his country. He uses no empty platitudes about a religion of peace.

Instead he lays the blame firmly at the door of radical Islam and the all pervading culture of teaching this insane creed to generation after generation of Arabs and Muslims.

Had he written this article in a western newspaper he would have been derided as a racist and an Islamophobe. As an Arab Muslim saying this he is simply ignored.

Why do we insist on maintaining this bizarre insistence that Islam is nothing to do with terrorism?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Need for a Western Culture

Islamic State should be a pathetic side show. A rabble of fundamentalist nutcases and disgruntled, bored youths running around the deserts of the middle east living out some depraved fantasy which seems half Qu'ranic literalism and half Grand Theft Auto. Yet this disjointed band of crackpots have managed to baffle the world's major powers and now carry out a serious terrorist atrocity in a major European city. 

If it came down to guns, bombs, planes and military tactics then the silliest, weakest most pacifistic of western powers could crush them in a week. The trouble is it doesn't just come down to that. It comes down to will, and the west had collectively lost it's will to stand up for it's values, or even state them. 

This is particularly so with the pro-Islamist left. All the decent things 'the left' have stood for over the last century from female suffrage and women's rights to gay rights, racial equality, the fight against anti-semitism, racial and religious equality, self governance and the end of imperialism have all been thrown out. Radical Islam stands directly against every single one of them.

I think it's a form of cultural masochism. People with an essentially slave or subordinate mentality now have their freedom and they don't know what to do with it. It scares them. They now have to think for themselves, make moral judgements or drift around in a relativist quagmire clutching at fashionable ideas which later turn out to be wrong.

They hate the culture they have created and find the certainty and moral absolutism of radical Islam appealing. They can still have the same old enemy of the stodgy old conservative white men who disapprove. Their more repellent attitudes can be blamed on their poverty and lack of education, which is our fault. Their radical and violent tendencies towards us can be blamed on our support for Israel and our imperialism a century ago. The continued failure of many Muslims to integrate into secular western democracies is our fault because we're racist.

They couldn't possibly, with a very few exceptions, go back to the culture they hated and I don't suppose most people now would have any real working memory of life before the cultural revolution of the 1960s, nevermind before the post WW2 welfare boom, or the certainties of a bold and confident British empire, run by white protestants.

Nor should we look to go back to these things. They were already out of date when they were overthrown.

What we have failed to do is create or evolve any sort of alternative which is both inspiring and inclusive enough to really motivate people to defend it, let alone evangelise it or wish to see it spread in the wider world. Instead we have a sort of loose buffet of ideas about a welfare state which is already essentially collapsed, freedom of expression so long as it doesn't go too far or cause any real offence, multiculturalism which is fragmented and divisive and gives no central values which all people living here can be expected to share.

We 'tolerate' everything without really standing for anything.

To me, we have many things that are worth standing for. We have had them for centuries, but they have become tarnished by imperialism, militarism and national, religious and racial chauvinism of a long gone era, and we have essentially thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

Monday, 16 November 2015

The Religion of Peace Fights Back - Or Does it?

There isn't a lot to say on the Paris attacks that hasn't been said already. Another 130 lives lost to the religion of peace, and the worst act of violence in France since the end of World War 2.

The immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks provided fairly slim pickings for those of us who were looking out for the usual idiotic platitudes about the religion of peace, and the claims that it is somehow misunderstood by a tiny number of Muslims, who take a few passages of the Qu'ran out of context and blacken the name of an otherwise peaceful creed.

Piers Morgan was first out of the traps with his absurd suggestion that they were not 'real Muslims.' As though the dough faced loudmouth was somehow better placed to determine what constitutes true Islam than Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has a PhD in Islamic studies.

Then the Islam PR machine got into gear, with Qanta Ahmed in the Spectator describing the attacks as 'an act of war against Islam.' An absurd 'black is white' statement and frankly insulting to the scores of people who died in Paris for whom, like many others senselessly slaughtered throughout the world, the last words they heard on earth would have been "Allahu Akbar."

Meanwhile the twits on Twitter, so beloved of people who like to get a slogan across without having to back it up with any substance, have made #notinmyname the hashtag for 'moderate Muslims.' So moderate it seems that they have missed the point that jihad was never done in their name. It is done, as many Parisians found out on Friday in the name of Allah.

And better late than never, Reuters published this on Sunday night. The predictable grim warnings of an 'Islamophobic backlash' and the preparations for cries of persecution and discrimination against Muslims. As though they are somehow the victims here.

The biggest fraud of the moment though seems to be the open letter to al-Baghdadi, published late last month and signed by an array of Islamic scholars. The letter is the brain child of Abdallah Bin Bayyah, a prominent Islamic scholar and it does indeed condemn IS and their actions. There are however, a few problems.

At 18 pages and heavy with references to the Qu'ran and the Hadiths, it's not light reading. At this stage I have only skimmed it but a few things stand out:

Regarding the need to read the whole Quran and not just cherry pick parts of it the "Moderate" Muslims Scholars claim that the reason behind this is that everything in the Qur’an is the truth, and everything in authentic Hadith is Divinely inspired, so it is not permissible to ignore any part of it.

Pretty definitive. Not all that moderate. So presumably including this part

Quran 2.191-193 said:
"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...
but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)"

This literalism is exactly the problem with Islam.

But the real give away comes when they cite this often misused quote:

Quran 5.32 said:
‘Because of that, We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever slays a soul for other than a soul, or for corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers have already come to them with clear proofs, but after that many of them still commit excesses in the land .’
But Muslims are not the Children of Israel. Jews are. So this passage is merely saying that Jews are prohibited from killing anyone.

They acknowledge quite openly the desire for a Caliphate

There is agreement (ittifaq) among scholars that a caliphate is an obligation upon the Ummah. The Ummah has lacked a caliphate since 1924 CE.

Their objection to slavery appears to be mostly regarding the lewdness of taking sex slaves, and the bad image it will give Islam, ending as it does with the warning that

You bear the responsibility of this great crime and all the reactions which this may lead to against all Muslims.

Their section on hudud, the sadists charter for flogging, mutilating, stoning and beheading those who offend Islam begins not with, as you might hope, an unequivocal statement that while this may have been acceptable in 7th century Arabia, it is not acceptable anywhere today. Instead they write:

Hudud punishments are fixed in the Qur’an and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law.
They go on to point out that a high burden of proof is needed.

So at first glance it seems like more of the same duplicity (taqiyya, permitted by the Quran) and lame defence of a fundamentally violent and intolerant religion. And of course at the length and tone of this, few people will ever read it thoroughly. But the likes and the shares on Facebook (tracked on the site) will probably help the image of Islam, and provide a great reply to anyone looking to show how moderate Muslims do condemn IS.

Not that I imagine these scholars secretly support IS or it's methods, they probably don't. But they do not offer an alternative, peaceful, secular interpretation of Islam. They appear mostly to disagree on the means, not the end, and the finer points of it's application rather than the fundamental idea behind it.

They don't disown the principle of jihad, or put any clear distance between themselves and the brutal hudud punishments. They don't offer a reformed, moderate Islam compatible with life in a 21st century secular democracy. They appear to be offering first and foremost advice on public relations.

A long way short of anything that would convince me that the people who chose to slaughter scores of innocent men and women in Paris on Friday are just some loony fringe who have taken a few passages out of context.

On the plus side all of this is a lot more subdued than we have become accustomed to, and indeed than I was expecting. Poland has said no more migrants. France closed it's borders immediately. No major political figure has yet visited a Mosque. Perhaps Europe is finally starting to stir out of the deep and deadly slumber from which it has been so reluctant to awake.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Great Guilt Trip

It was 12°C in Calais last night, where 6,000 illegal immigrants are still camped out trying to illegally enter England. Munich was 8°C. Malmo in northerly Sweden was a positively balmy 13°C. The migrant crisis has gone on against a backdrop of an unusually mild winter over most of the continent. This will almost certainly not last.

I don't suppose anyone knows with any accuracy how many migrants are actually sleeping rough across Europe at the moment but they certainly do know that there are many, and as it gets colder it will get much harder, especially for those from warm climates to sleep outside.

Over the next few weeks it will turn much colder and people who are ill equipped and unaccustomed to cold weather will die if they are sleeping in damp makeshift shelters without heating. Again, officials know this. Migrants know this. Anyone with a modicum of common sense knows that you can not sleep outside in northern Europe during the winter. Every year homeless and elderly people die this way. Any day now we could have a cold snap.

That means that any day now we could see news reports with the dead bodies of migrants being carried out of their makeshift shelters having succumbed to hypothermia. An amateur cynic might say that if this stems the flow of illegal migrants from the third world then it is a price worth paying, however distasteful anyone might find dead bodies. However, a truly accomplished cynic would notice that throughout 2015 perilous attempts to enter Europe have been orchestrated and encouraged and the drowned babies that have resulted from them have been used as a stick with which to beat those who oppose mass Islamic immigration, and say how cruel and heartless are those who wish to enforce, let alone tighten, our immigration laws.

How much more effective would this guilt trip be with the corpses of women and children being carried out of camps in Calais and Malmo? Tiny body bags laid by adult ones. If a handful of these stories come out, in the run up to the season of goodwill how will Europe react? How many really have the stomach to say let them die, or deport them? Do we even have the ability to deport these undocumented people in this time frame? To where? Even ship them, against their will, to warmer climes within the EU would be a logistical and political nightmare?

Of course we have no such stomach anyway. European politicians and the public will cave in and house them, and as a result millions more will come. The media, the government, the churches and the Islamist terrorists who have manufactured this crisis will have achieved their ends for the price of a few dozen deaths or poor, ignorant migrants and the women and children they drag along with them. Something they have already proven themselves completely indifferent to. The already strong fifth column of angry young Muslim men across the continent will be further strengthened, and the pathological self-loathing masquerading as good nature, will be even more ripe for exploitation.

If we want to have any chance of stopping this blatant set-up from being a success then we had better fortify ourselves now for the sight of people frozen to death, in Europe, and reconcile ourselves to the idea that the migrants themselves and the 'kindness' of the liberal left have brought this about by encouraging vast numbers of people to come here in this fashion.

Monday, 9 November 2015

BBC Bias - The Little Things

There's sometimes a perception that BBC bias means the whole organisation is simply a mouthpiece for the Labour Party, a latter day Pravda grotesquely distorting the facts to promote it's own view of the world.

Understandable, but also simplistic. The BBC's bias is also a subtle and maybe subconscious reflex, as demonstrated by the headline of this fairly trivial article about the European Union referendum, which reports that the 'No' campaign are urging the incoming head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to rethink their unswerving support for EU membership.

The trouble is there isn't a 'No' campaign. After the Electoral Commission criticised the inherently biased wording of the original question it was changed from Yes or No to Leave or Remain. It is the 'Leave' campaign who are lobbying the CBI.

The BBC continue to call it the No campaign because, as the Electoral Commission ruled, this has connotations of a negative, regressive and insular stance, which is exactly how the typical BBC staffer perceives those who wish to leave the European Union.

Whether this was a conscious decision or an involuntary oversight is anyone's guess, and anyway it doesn't really matter. The BBC view is that being in the EU is inherently good, progressive and nice while leaving it is bad, and this continues to leak through into their coverage.