Sunday, 27 February 2011

Muslim Freezone Posters

Find the idea of that acceptable? Imagine how gays feel in parts of the UK.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Where Are The Neocons Now?

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."*

*Source: David Ignatius's article 'Beirut's Berlin Wall' in the Washington Post quoting Walid Jumblatt  - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45575-2005Feb22.html



Since the extraordinary events started taking place across the Middle-East both camps that arose after 9/11 that were either for or against foreign intervention have risen up proudly proclaiming that their side has been vindicated. The 'Neocons' are claiming that the policy in Iraq was the first forceful push of the Democratic Dominos that we see now and the isolationists (also known as the liberal-left), have claimed that that this proves that they were right all along and that it was perfectly possible for the people of the Middle-East to rise up without the need for aggressive intervention. The truth is, it is very hard to tell whether these events have taken place because of, or in spite of the Iraq War. It is my understanding that, most of the Muslim world tends to view the Iraq War in the typical 'War For Oil/ Israel' vein and would have been put off by the chaos that ensued post-2004, although the quote above suggests that there are some alternative narratives that are floating about.

These events have produced a chorus of the typical cliches we hear from the left on these issues including many that are trying to re-write history and pretend that they had no problem with the morality of intervention merely the practicality of one, despite the huge strain of liberal thought that became as realpolitik and isolationist as the Paleoconservatives and in many cases went as far as actively supporting the insurgency. The confusing and vacuous discourse that grew out of those years opposing the overthrow of a murderous tyrant have left them in a bit of a muddle. We hear lefties criticising Tony Blair for having done deals with Gaddafi despite his effort's stopping Gaddafi's programme for nuclear weapons (and imagine where we would be if that had failed). We also hear them criticising the Americans for not having done enough to ferment democracy in Egypt. So the Americans that were utterly 'stupid' to think that they could democratise the Middle-East in 2003 are being told off for full blown intervention in Iraq, warned against light intervention in Libya, but will also be condemned if they don't do much at all as in Egypt. Is it any wonder that the Americans are so well known for completely ignoring world opinion?

Whatever will come of these uprisings there is cause for great hope and cause for great worry. Whatever emerges from the instability and toppling of these regimes relies first and foremost on military might. Will the civilian population of Libya organise and arm themselves effectively enough to fight off the members of the military that stay loyal to Gaddafi, or will in fact most of the army defect against the former regime? With the left's new religion of isolationism they will not be receiving any support from us so as the death toll increases daily, we have to hope that the Libyan spirit prevails. There is another mistake however that a lot of people are making while analysing the situation in the Middle-East. While it is fairly clear in many of these countries what the general population do not want, it is not entirely clear what they do want. Europe was not a democracy with a separation of Church and State from the outset. It took many, many years and far more bloodshed than is currently being spilled in the ME for that to come around. It is clear that the human response to oppression has kicked in and the people have made it clear that they do not want to be governed by dictators. Ethnography is important here. Political institutions do not spring out of a vacuum, but evolve over time, and despite the promising signs that we are witnessing in the Middle-East there is nothing in the Middle-East's history to suggest that these regimes will suddenly become, pluralistic, free-speech loving, Israeli tolerating and Islamist condemning nations by the end of the year.

For the time being we see people united by a singular goal of removing their dictators but were a democratic state to emerge then over the next few months political factions would rapidly emerge dividing the people that currently march together. There is nothing particularly wrong with factionalism either, as long as there are institutions to satisfactorily deal with those differences in an open and peaceful manner. This was one of the benefits of Operation Iraqi Freedom, because the Americans were able to create a blueprint that could (and has) been unilaterally applied with all of the different factions of Iraqi society participating and working out their differences. We cannot safely assume that the anarchy that will result in the event of a successful overthrow of the state will not descend into civil war and the complete breakdown of society. To make sure this does not happen not only must there be a political evolution, we must also witness a religious revolution. Islam has still not gone through the enlightenment process that Christianity and Judaism has gone through in the West. There was a time even in Europe when Catholics and Protestants were not equal before the law and living harmoniously, with the Middle-East in such an infantile stage of its democratisation if that is in fact what it is going through, there are far more reasons to be more wary in this unpredictable time than positive. The two hopes of countering these difficulties are the birth of social networking and the possibility of a UN lead intervention.

This situation has been made all the more worse by the moral coward that is currently sitting in the White House who is apparently unable to see beyond his Stimulus Package and Healthcare Bill. So what are the Neocons up to at this time? Are 'they' (referring to the American right) as my housemate proclaimed only worried about what's going on at home first? Well the 'progressive' President that was supposed to be the man of change seems quite unmoved by the possibility of change in the Middle East. The Neocons in contrast, to take the heir to the movement Bill Kristol as an example on his website the 'Weekly Standard' is demanding that the President act in the interests of a foreign democratic movement that is not Christian. Bill rightly points out in a recent blog post how absurd it is that Obama made the extra effort to offer his condolences to the people of New Zealand due to their recent Earthquake disaster but has been almost entirely mute on the issue of the Middle-East. Who are the selfish isolationists now? More importantly before this chance for real change slips by us, where are the Neocons when you need them?

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Mehdi Hasan and Forced Marriages

As mentioned in the previous post the poor people of Britain were recently subjected to the embarrassment that is Mehdi Hasan appearing on Question Time to lecture us and interrupt others on many important issues. If you haven't seen it, here are the highlights of Douglas Murray that appeared on the show with (unfortunately) plenty of Hasan included in it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn7EaTh1gL4 (Part 2 in the video response).

In particular, other than throwing in a few ad hominems to satisfy myself about what an arsehole the man is I would like to zero in on Mehdi's reply to Douglas' point about forced marriages. The exact quote of Hasan is the following:

"...and to talk like Douglas, about forced marriages, sorry, how many people have forced marriages in this country and show me which cultural group defends forced marriages and which government defends forced marriages I've yet to come across a single one"

To break this down bit by bit. Firstly the part where he says "sorry, how many people have forced marriages in this country" as anyone that watches the the link that I have provided can verify for themselves was spoken in a particularly disbelieving and snide tone as if Douglas was inflating the issue. Well to address the 'how many' part of the question head on, here is a recent article from Newsbeat (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat12536948) which shows that in 2010 there were nearly 2000 cases of Forced Marriage in that year alone. Of course these are only the cases that were actually reported, in order to deal with this problem a 'Forced Marriage Unit' has been created that has to chase up links all the way to Pakistan to try and rescue the girls that are put through this traumatic experience, meaning that there may be plenty of cases that go tragically unreported.

Now to address the the second part of what Mehdi said. Hasan responded by asking for examples of a cultural group that defends forced marriages or which member of government defends them. It may well be true that no such group can be found, the only problem is that it is totally unrelated to what Douglas had actually said. To address the government related aspect of that sentence first;

Douglas' point was not that the government publicly defended forced marriages but that Multicultural policies and ideologies had made it harder to criticise and publicly address this issue for fear of being called a racist. Hilariously only moments after Douglas had suggested this was the case, Mehdi proved him completely correct by partnering with Jacqui Smith to refer to the EDL, BNP and French National Front merely for raising these issues. As for a more concrete example let's take the case of Tulay Goren, who twice requested help from the police, a plea that was ignored before she was murdered by her father for refusing to take part in a forced marriage he wished to sell her into. Does anyone really think that, the same treatment would be afforded to a white non-Muslim victim who came to the police asking for help because she feared for her life? According to Hasan who spat "rubbish" as Douglas made this point, this is either the uniform policy of the police in the UK or far more obviously this was treated as a cultural issue rather than a criminal issue. For more on this and other issues see this article (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6960875.ece), which has been made even more relevant with the recent rape gangs and the defence through cries of racism that the perpetrator's enjoyed. Anyone that has studied this area will know, this is but one of many many examples where the police have been shackled when dealing with 'minority' communities due to a misplaced 'cultural sensitivity'. This problem is not at all limited to just forced marriages.

As for the final point of Hasan's outburst "show me which cultural group defends forced marriages", this is made marginally more tricky to deal with, by Hasan's deliberately misleading statement. If by 'cultural group' he means every single member of a certain ethnic identity in this country, you clearly would not find a public consensus on forced marriage or probably any controversial issue at all from any group. That being said, this does not divert away from the fact that the problem of forced marriages is largely an 'underground' or secretive problem that is not publicly proclaimed, and while it may not have the support of all members of the Pakistani communty in Britain (where the problem largely stems), that does not change the fact that there is a serious wider cultural problem within many of these communities.  The video at the bottom of this post contains Mehdi's specific comments on this issue followed by a recent Newsbeat piece on forced marriages that involved an interview with a victim of the practice. In the segment we are told that one of the difficulties in uncovering these practices in finding people willing to report to the police against the family in question which is extremely hard to do in these communities, because of a wider problem of cultural attitudes in this area which encourage complicity in these acts.

In this interview this poor girl says that more needs to be done to spread awareness about the problem of forced marriages, I wonder how she feels listening to Mehdi snidely imply that there isn't too serious a problem of forced marriages or any of the other nearly 2000 girls a year that go through this barbaric practice. Part of the way through the show Mehdi also argues with Douglas that a few hundred EDL protesters may not seem like much to him but are more frightening if you are a member of the community that they are targeting and I actually sympathise with Hasan on that point (even though Douglas only said they shouldn't affect Cameron's plans for a speech, not that they were not a threat). Sections of the EDL have behaved thuggishly in the past and people have a right to fear them, but I would apply the same argument to those that are being targeted by Muslim gangs for rape, girls that are being forcibly married against their will and innocent civilians being blown up on a bus. These are not problems with the Muslim community as a whole but have become a far disproportionately bigger problem as a result of white skinned, non-Muslim liberals who provide a cloak to such heinous actions through the identity politics, political correctness and other acts of misguided stupidity that come under the banner of Multiculturalism. This is a cloak that on this episode of Question Time, Mehdi Hasan was more than happy to thicken. Perhaps if Hasan did not spend every Question Time behaving and interrupting like a petulant teenager he might have understood Douglas better. Then again I'm non-Muslim "cattle" and therefore a person of "no intelligence" so what do I know (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APAPqT3QdFU).

How To Avoid Debating An Issue

I've been unable to post for a week or two and so there are a few issues I would like to backtrack on. I'm going to do a more fuller post on it in a second, but a few weeks ago we had the misfortune of watching Mehdi Hasan on Question Time who made use of a particularly nefarious verbal device I've seen deployed quite a few times since David Cameron's speech in Munich. This tactic allows one to dismiss the entire message of Cameron's speech without actually addressing any of the content of what was said, any of the arguments used or any damn thing from the speech itself. Instead of actually calling David Cameron a racist or actually contesting something he said, this involves referring to the fact that some far-right groups may have agreed with some of what the speech contained.

The obvious implication of this, is that if Nick Griffin agrees with something or part of something it is automatically wrong and racist to even imply such a thing in the first place. This is very similar to the 'Reductio ad Hitlerum' we hear everyday in the YouTube comments section by 10 year olds. By this logic anyone that is a vegetarian or a lover of animals is automatically a racist, because Hitler was those things. While I appreciate that Question Time has a very 'soundbitey' format that does not allow a lot of time to develop one's arguments, this truly is the lowest and most juvenile form of argument. Right up Mehdi Hasan's street you may think as the petulant little teenager continues to interrupt, belittle and pull stupid faces while other people are speaking, every time that he is invited onto the show.

Let's take his logic and apply it to some of the things he has said on Question Time shall we? I remember when I saw the ghastly man on his first QT appearance and he was belittling the Lib Dems for joining in a coalition with the Conservatives and criticising their cuts has been a running them of his appearances in public media. Well. Who else do we know that opposes the Coalition's cuts? I know! The Communist Party of Britain is certainly not a fan of rolling back the state. Does anyone, including Hasan and his large selection of New Statesman 'groupies' (all certified Islamophiles), really think it would be relevant or fair of me or anyone else to mention this after Hasan has criticised the cuts and by extension accuse him of being a communist because they vaguely share his views?

Let's go one step further. Now when he isn't whining that the non-Muslims of Britain don't essentially bow down five times a day and worship the almighty Allah and agree with everything that Muslims say and believe, he's complaining that people too often associate Islam and Muslims with terrorism. But wait! By quickly googling Hasan's name and the word Israel, I find a piece written by him dated 28 December 2010 criticising the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Who else do we know that does not like Israel's policy towards Gaza? That's right, Hamas! And we all know that if Hamas are agreeing with some of what you are saying, you know you've got a problem, right Mehdi?



Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Criticising Israel

When it comes to the Middle East in today's media driven culture the debates often split into two camps. The 'Zionists' on the one side and the 'Islamic camp' on the other. One side I agree a lot with, one side I agree with virtually none of. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly common on both sides to play the victim and cry racism instead of actually addressing the relevant topics that are being raised. The Muslim community in the UK has in recent times been able to co-opt the term 'Islamaphobia' to silence all forms of criticism of Islam or Muslims whether reasonable and rational or hateful and stupid. Unfortunately however, it is becoming increasingly common to hear the Israeli side call critics of their policy in Gaza for instance as Anti-Semitic, not only when those protests come from sex-deprived Islamists but even Jews in the West that disagree with Israeli policy.

I should point out before I start that the following people; Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Mehdi Hasan, Tariq Ramadan and Asghar Bukhari are all people that I cannot stand who continually make use of the 'race card' and 'Islamaphobia' card and so I do actually quite enjoy sometimes seeing them taste some of their own medicine when they are called racists for their commentary on Israel.

Any form of race card or Ad Hominem is a means of censoring and silencing what a person is saying by not actually addressing the content of what they are saying. Now I accept that it can at times be difficult to have a rational discussion with a dribbling racist from the EDL that is in the process of smashing an asian shopkeeper's windows to pieces. But even in the most extreme circumstances, violence and outrage over sensitive issues like immigration are created precisely because people feel like they are denied a voice and a say in the policy in question and ignoring what a protester is saying and labelling them a racist is likely to fuel that anger even further, not extinguish it. The most controversial aspects for Israeli apologists; for example the building of the separation wall and the occupation of Gaza, I actually find the most obviously justified and easiest policies to defend. I would far rather discuss with someone, why they think those actions are unjustified and attempt to convince them that the opposite is true instead of sending that anger underneath and amplifying it by labelling them a racist for having an opposing opinion. Censorship on this scale remind me of the quote from Kennedy:

"Those who make peaceful protest impossible will make violent protest inevitable" 

If one truly believes in the convictions of their arguments when it comes to Israeli policy (as I do), they should rely on them and not resort to name-calling. I was reminded of this issue when watching a recent episode of Michael Coren someone who I am quite fond of. The discussion related to a group known as 'Queers Against Israeli Apartheid'. Now, I'm not entirely sure why this or any issue of foreign policy should be a specifically 'gay' issue, but on the Coren show the protesters were chastised for supporting a place in the Middle-East where gays are murdered against the only place in the Middle-East where gays are allowed to marry. Now to be clear, I completely disagree with the so-called 'Apartheid' rallies and would happily debate with someone why that is, but once again on this show instead of actually discussing the issues that were raised, the show was drawn as it always is into discussing completely unrelated points of Israel and expecting the listener to therefore ignore the policies they are supposed to be protesting. In other words, without saying a single word about the so-called 'Apartheid' in question, they mentioned that it was only in Israel that gays were tolerated and allowed to exist. Now I do think that is a good thing and something the 'Queer Alliance' should take into account but it also totally irrelevant to what they were protesting. Using this logic, if Stalin had allowed Gay Marriage (which he didn't) then gays would not have had a leg to stand on to criticise the millions that perished under his regime. Alternatively, are the people that make this argument really suggesting that if the Palestinian territories suddenly stopped killing homosexuals, that suddenly Israeli policy that was just yesterday would become unjust today? The more I think about it, the less and less I hear from commentators about why I justify Israeli actions (such as what happened when Israel initially pulled out of Gaza and why it had to re-occupy the city) when the topic is raised and the more I hear about vague unrelated good points to attempt to distract people from an actual discussion.

Of course I do not want to exaggerate this issue. While you will often hear accusations of anti-Semitism in the debates on Israel, I remember in my last year of University seeing a poster for a talk from Jenny 'Jihad' Tonge called 'Persecuted for Criticising Israel!' Which had a face who's mouth was being covered up, implying that her free speech was literally being stopped by a hostile environment to criticism of Israel. Now while I will concede that the debate can slide into name-calling at times, it is utterly ridiculous for this woman to suggest that she is persecuted, when every bloody time the seals on Question Time clap in unison for her before she has even got one of her misinformed sentences on Israel out of her mouth. Not to mention that she is able to go around the country giving lectures on the topic with virtually no resistance. It reminds me of the 'brave' resistors who used to call George Bush a terrorist and treat that heroic stance from their living room as if it was a statement that could get them killed.

If I'm being honest I used to think the cries of 'Islamaphobia' and the hostility to criticism of Islam was solely a cultural issue associated with newly arrived immigrant communities that were not used to free criticism against their beliefs. I remember however, during the Pope's last visit to the UK that there were many born and bred British Catholics who ignored every word spoken about Paedophilia, Rape and Coverup relating to the Catholic Church and decried the protests and reaction to his visit as entirely the result of 'persecution' and 'anti-Catholic' sentiment. It seems this is a problem that all religions and points of view can face, and this is why I find it so particularly frustrating when my allies on this issue resort to such unnecessary name-calling as not only does it imply that their arguments are too weak to be deployed but it encourages an elevation of anger and resistance to the issue that could otherwise be extinguished by just educating people on it.

Monday, 21 February 2011

What if they were White?



This man is a fellow atheist that posts videos on youtube. Like most fellow atheists on youtube, I cannot stand him. I could write for months in a single post on why I often do not associate with the rest of the atheist community that make themselves public through sites like Youtube, but I will keep it short on this issue. In a similar vein to Richard Dawkins, most atheists on Youtube spend a lot of their time decrying people speaking 'irrationally' on topics they are wholly ignorant about, namely; evolution and related religious topics. Most of these same atheists however who are filled to the brink with Bible quotes also spend a lot of their time speaking irrationally on topics they are wholly ignorant about, namely: politics. Two topics that exemplify this particularly well are the abortion and gay marriage debates. These are topics often covered by European atheists despite these two issues rarely appearing in their national discourse, essentially because they have made little effort to properly educate themselves on political topics and therefore most of their discourse is influenced by lazily watching a few videos on Youtube which usually contain a heavily North American bias. Hence, many of their videos relate entirely to a country they do not live in and on topics they are not particularly knowledgeable about. The problem is however, that after watching a few religiously based arguments on these topics, these clever and enlightened atheists think that by knowing that the religious elements of these arguments are wrong, therefore all other related arguments must be wrong and by extension most aspects of the Conservative tradition in any context, because it is often infused with religious justification is therefore entirely wrong. What you often get as a result are incredibly conformist 'independent' thinkers that have all courageously and independently addressed the religious issues they faced in life, while unanimously and blindly buying into the liberal consensus often without much understanding of any of the intellectual traditions and justifications of what actually forms such views. As such we get fairly quick and crappy videos like the above one on complicated issues, with a veneer of research sprayed over them with a few links in the description bar that were acquired through 20 minutes of googling instead of any meaningful or genuine research.

A final quick example I'd like to give of this phenomena is of a user called DarkMatter2525 who I actually find fairly funny. A recent video he made was of a caricature of 'Jesus Neocon' which attempted to display the hypocrisy of the religious values espoused by the religious right in America and the political values carried out under the Bush Administration. On top of the fact that he clearly does not genuinely have much knowledge of the etymology of the term Neoconservatism and what the intellectual movement has entailed, despite claiming to only have views that are 'evidence-based' and 'rational' he made a video a few months ago where he made reference to Jesus Neocon securing the oilfields of the Middle-East in a clear reference to the 'War For Oil' Conspiracy Myth surrounding the Iraq War. Had his opinions genuinely been evidence based and not based on simple hearsay and prejudice he would have known that Iraq's oil is publicly owned and contracts were sold in a free and open market in 2009 with very little going to American contracts thus completely disproving all of the conspiracies that the uninformed little idiot had clearly bought into.

Anyway! The above video is a follow up to a video that was based on David Cameron's speech on Multiculturalism, of which I am pretty sure he did not actually watch the speech in question or at least not all of it, as most of his 20+ minute video was based on a very vague reference to what Cameron had actually said. Regardless, the above video follows a trend of the Youtube atheist community of cleverly rising above most of Western Society's 'prejudice' and 'phobia' towards Muslims and Islam and providing a continuous narrative of rejecting the religion but embracing the people in regards to the introduction of Islam into Western societies. Entirely on their political terms of course. The above video runs an often repeated theme that Muslims are unfairly treated or focused on in our society.

This narrative runs under the basis that the gutter press of the UK in this case can often make outrageous claims about Muslims or Muslim organisations that often turn out to be false. This narrative ignores the fact that there are hundreds of other disadvantaged groups that are not necessarily minorities that are also repeatedly misrepresented and unfairly treated by the media (take single mothers or disabled people on benefits as two obvious examples that come to mind). It also fundamentally ignores the fact that the media is just one aspect of society and using the media as evidence that our society allows loose and discriminatory language about Muslims is so palpably untrue in every other aspect of our culture it renders it such an incredibly irrelevant point. Under the last government, the Labour party were at such pains to not appear anti-Islamic that Gordon Brown stopped calling Islamist terrorism by its name but suggested that we start calling it 'UnIslamic Activity'. Truthfully I could and am about to give hundreds of other examples like this that render the occasional headlines by the Daily Express utterly void, but I won't overstep the crux of the post which is as follows; the point of the above video is that Muslims are treated differently because they are Muslim in our society. I completely agree, we do hold Muslims and their organisations to completely different standards to all other aspects of society. I would posit what the alternative scenarios would be in the following cases if the perpetrators were not Muslim but white men:


  1. The same year that attacks by members of the white community killed over 50 fellow citizens in co-ordinated attacks that targeted Muslims, members of the white community held up placards openly and explicitly calling for the murder of Muslims and other minorities clearly breaking the law over incitement to hatred and the calls for an end to democracy. 
When the same thing happened when it was Muslims that committed these acts the 'institutionally racist' and 'Islamaphobic' police, arrested virtually none of the perpetrators for fear of accusations of racism but, when a similar thing happened again in Luton with protests over returning soldiers again, no arrests were made but the police were quite happy to arrest the white members of the public that launched counter demonstrations in response. 

     2.  Private meetings between mainstream members of the white community (not members of the BNP or EDL) are infiltrated by journalists who uncover quotes such as the following. On Muslims: 'You cannot accept the rule of Muslims. We have to rule ourselves and rule others'. On Women: 'God has created all women even those with PhD's as deficient. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal one of a man'. Makes references to bombing Indian businesses and 'killing Jews physically'. Said that it was acceptable to marry girls before puberty. Saying that women must be covered up and if they refuse to be beaten. States that homosexuals should be thrown off of a mountain. 

Now we are all well aware that if a white member of society even unintentionally uses the wrong word to describe a minority, even if it is in a sentence praising the individual in question, they will be forever demonised and forced to apologise. Nick Griffin rightly received a lot of flack for saying on Question Time that gay couples kissing in public was 'creepy', surely therefore he would be verbally crucified for saying that gays should be thrown off of cliffs? As was the case when it was members of the Muslim community making these comments, not a single charge of incitement of racial or other hatred was brought against those who made such statements, but charges and public condemnation was heaped on those who had simply reported on the statements that had been made. It was also deemed acceptable that saying that gays should be thrown off cliffs and that women should be beaten could somehow be an acceptable statement if one merely heard the full 'context'. As far as I'm concerned the only words preceding statements that legitimise beating a woman or killing minorities that could make such statements acceptable is if they were sentences saying 'the following is not acceptable do not do it'.

     3.  White skinned hate-mongers that preach the murder of Jews and violent war on other minorities attempt to enter the UK and indoctrinate fellow white members of society across University campuses.

We don't even need to remotely speculate on this issue at all. Geert Welders who publicly defends Jews and Homosexuals was denied the right to enter the UK because he wished to simply stop immigration into his country. Representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah repeatedly and continuously under the Labour government, and many to this day are allowed unhindered (a right not even attributed to the Pastor Terry Jones who simply threatened to burn a book - stupid for sure but not the same as actually inciting the murder of Jews) to enter the country and preach to members of the Muslim community in the UK. On that note would a 'white organisation' similar to the East London Mosque, still receive public tax payers money and public congratulation if it invited a White supremacist similar to Anwar al-Awlaki to speak at one of their events through satellite because he was banned from appearing in the UK in person?

    4.  If white skin-heads perhaps from the BNP formed gangs that almost solely targeted Muslim girls for abduction, grooming and rape because they were Muslims and therefore were not considered as precious as girls from their own ethnicity. What do we think the response would have been?

This was the case recently in reverse, whereby Muslim gangs had repeatedly targeted mainly white young girls for grooming and rape with the explicitly stated motive being that they were not considered as worthy as women from their own community. Not only was there very little condemnation of these motives, but every excuse under the sun was presented to whitewash the nature and reasons for these attacks. Dianne Abbott mentioned that the area in question happened to be a mostly Muslim area hence the reason that the majority of attackers happened to be Muslim. Not only did this fly in the face of the fact that it was not idle speculation that suggested the fact that these were intentionally created Muslim gangs that were intentionally attacking non-Muslim white girls as was revealed in the court cases and even from members of the Muslim community themselves, but it overlooked the slightly obvious point that were it the case that the ethnicity of the attackers was purely down to the minority majority demographics of the area, then why on earth were all of the victims not from that ethnicity?! What's more a character by the name of Mohammed Shafiq that I would like to compliment and offer my praises to but unfortunately can't, quite plainly admitted on a recent episode of Newsnight with Douglas Murray that members of the Muslim community that were not involved in the attacks had actively pressured the police and other groups to not release information relating to these attacks in order to protect their community. Further he chastised Douglas for bringing this point up, asking why he was bringing up old facts, as if the years of silence that had produced years of young girls abandoned and raped was 'old news' and just irrelevant now (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMYNU8EKAPk). I will simply leave it up to the imagination of the reader of what the response would be, if white rapist gangs had singled out and attacked the minority Muslim females of their community which accounted for almost all of their victims, admitted in court the reason they attacked them was down to a sense of superiority, and then other white members of the community had actively pressured and stopped this information being released, and then downplayed it's significance after it had finally come out.

It's hard to think of a single mainstream Muslim organisation in Britain that hasn't been linked to the worst stereotypes of the Islamic faith. The Muslim Council of Britain most prominently which refused to attend Holocaust Memorial Day recently and went too far even for the Labour Party when one of its members signed the Istanbul Declaration, essentially advocating terrorism. While we very rarely hear about these groups on the previously mentioned YouTuber's channel, it's interesting that a complicated group like the EDL which contains minorities within it that have attacked innocent asian families going about their day to day life but for the most part is full of law abiding citizens that have non-violently protested and given speeches is instantly condemned and any racist remark by any individual of that organisation is used as evidence of the views and sins of the majority, while the video maker makes every effort to overlook individual cases such as those mentioned from the MCB and screams that we should not generalise about Muslims. I have many other points I could continue on but feel it would be a waste of time. This was a lazy video attempting to make a cheap 'thought-provoking' point on a subject the maker is entirely ignorant of, before I've even addressed the errors of the actual content of the video. I would strongly emphasise that as terrible as the actions of many of the examples of Muslims I highlighted in the above examples are, I am not implying that all Muslims behave this way, and that the government's response should be geared towards the community as a whole on this basis. In fact I often find that the largest source of suspicion towards Muslims is precisely because the government elevates these extremists and refuses to deal with them while idiots like the above video-maker entirely ignore these issues and brushs anyone as a racist that raises them, leaving people incredibly frustrated and confused on the issue of their Islamic communities that would otherwise not exist if we treated these communities and their extremists in the same way as we treat ours. By condemning the extremists and elevating the moderates and more mainstream members of the Muslim community, perceptions of Islam would change overnight. While it is true that everyday Muslims are not doing enough to make it clear that everytime the BBC invite Salma Yaqoob on she does not represent them and the broader Muslim community, or the same thing when the government hires Azzam Tamimi for advice on Islamic terrorism. This notwithstanding, the real people that should take the blame for this are the recent governments for their irresponsible approach to these problems and idiots like the original video maker that provide a smokescreen for these policies that are making things worse.

Friday, 18 February 2011

David Cameron Steps Up

The rest of this blog will probably make it clear on how I feel about Multiculturalism as a good in and of itself, this post will instead address the problem of Multiculturalism in relation to the problem of Islamism and Islamic terrorism in light of David Cameron's recent speech on the topic in Munich.

For the most part I think that his speech was wrong. The crux of his speech about Multiculturalism in relation to Islamic terrorism was that by not creating a shared national identity, it meant that vulnerable Muslims lacked both a loyalty to the country that could potentially become a target in a terrorist attack but also left a vacuum for potentially extreme ideologies and identities to creep in. While I do think there is some relevance in discussing Multiculturalism in the context of Islamic extremism, I think MC largely creates a problem in addressing rather than causing Islamic terrorism.



For starters the ring leader of the 7/7 attacks, Mohammad Sidique Khan was himself fairly well integrated with a decent education and a firm grasp on the English language. While it is true that 'Multicultural' practices may have emphasised his 'Muslim' identity and overly focused on potential 'Islamic grievances' as well as creating a degree of separation between himself and the non-Muslim nation he was supposed to be a part of, for all the silly identities that are encouraged under Multiculturalism, that of an Islamist terrorist willing to carry out attacks on his fellow citizens is not one of them and we should not suspend the moral consequences of agency just because the criminal has brown skin.

I personally would have made the connection between MC and terrorism in a different way. For example, the notion of turning Muslims into a unanimous 'bloc' that can be communicated through self-assigned Muslim 'leaders' particularly leaders of mosques, has disenfranchised many ordinary Muslims and funnelled their identity and perceived values through some of the most reactionary and extreme figures that have been chosen to speak for Muslims. This extreme, and misguided application of identity politics has also often led to the marginalisation of 'moderate' Muslims that can do the most to communicate with the Islamic community and argue against for instance the patriarchal practices of burkas within some communities and the elevation of 'soft' Islamists that preach all the extremism of the worst aspects of Islam without actually blowing themselves up. This lazy, almost racist means of dealing with the Islamic community by pouring money into the loudest Muslim organisations to tackle extremism with an almost total censorship of any criticism of that community from any external source, going as far as the near criminalisation of such criticism in the case of the producers of the 'Undercover Mosque' has certainly created a situation for extremists to prosper quite comfortably and even be defended if they are found out by external examination.

Cameron only barely touched on the last point with an unrelated though very serious comment on ceasing to tolerate the intolerable within Muslim communities when it came to issues of attitudes to gays for instance. As a conservative PM his entire mantra of Multiculturalism, while deserving of praise for rejecting outright moral relativism, came again from the fairly pitiful direction of an opposition to extremist aspects of Multiculturalism, implying that it was quite alright to continue the transformation of our nation through mass immigration into something totally unrecognisable as long as the end product was not 'extreme'. He deserves praise for at least attempting a dialogue a million times better than anything the previous party did in office, and has received a lot of unjust criticism for the timing of his speech coinciding with an EDL demonstration (as if he could have magically predicted this occurring when he was initially invited to Munich) but for true conservatives this speech was very far off what we needed to see in both words, and especially in action.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Useless Feminism

So the militant feminists were out in full force last week on the Big Questions on issues in Britain. What could it be that had set them off recently? Perhaps it was the recent revelation that women in large numbers were being targeted due to their ethnicity and religious background for rape and grooming from a segment of a culture imported from a very patriarchal background? No. Of course it wasn't, on that issue they are mostly silent with very little to say in support of their abused 'sisters'. Perhaps it was the issue of the burka or the oppression of women in many of these non-Christian religious communities. Nope, the silence is fairly deafening on those issues as well. What was that had set them off? Some mildly offensive comments made in a private conversation between two sky presenters.

Definitely the most pressing issue facing women at the moment.

Leftist Hypocrisy Over Iraq

I am preparing a much larger and fuller post on the Iraq War and my opinions of the conflict nearly 8 years since its inception, but for now I just felt the need to make a smaller post on two particular issues I find very galling in regards to Iraq and the opponents of the war.

I was just briefly tuned into a blog tv session of a user I am a fan of when the issue of Iraq came up. The session was with a few other people of a lefty persuasion who fairly unambiguously rejected any notion of internationalism and were enthusiastic (explicitly stated) supporters of isolationism. What was at least refreshing in the conversation was an absence of the usual conspiracy theories and hysteria that relates to the 'New World Order' or the oil companies' plans for the Middle-East. Instead there was an unambiguously pessimistic view of the practicality of Operation Iraqi Freedom. What I found particularly interesting was the explicit use of the term ethnography, to relate culture (and as such necessarily history and tradition) to the political practice that resulted and thrived within that environment, in this referring to the possibility of democracy in Iraq.

One of the things that is always absent from the discussions on MultiCulturalism and Mass Immigration is the origin of these 'diverse' agents of progress. It's all very well and good preaching the value of a diverse demographic makeup if you worldview is limited to a rosy Middle-England bourgeois upbringing that struggles to acknowledge a significant separation amongst peoples that goes beyond language and cuisine. For example let's take the following statement: 'The Iraqi people do not want democracy.' There are numerous ways that this can and has been spun. This is also used to refer to the fact that democracy would not only not be the most ideal situation in Iraq but is quite literally impossible to ferment.

If it is true that there is a cultural clash between the concept and practice of democracy amongst certain people of this world then in order for our country to remain a democracy following this logic, we can not allow mass immigration from undemocratic areas. If you believe that the Iraqi people are not capable of democracy or do not want/ believe in it, then you must also say to remain internally consistent that people with those same views should not enter the United Kingdom if we wish to remain a democracy with everyone participating in political life positively. Why is it that the anti-democratic extreme members of the Muslim community domestically, are marginalised and played down, and those abroad elevated and essentially supported by the left?

Of course you won't get anyone that makes up the Multi-Culti consensus to agree to this. Democracy apparently cannot work in large parts of the Muslims world, but we should regardless allow massive levels of immigration from these same areas we deem irreparably undemocratic to enter and participate in the make up of our nations. What's worse is that in reply to this they may even say that change would necessarily need to be internal and there may be indigenous democratic reformist elements within these nations. If that is the case, then why would we drain these areas of their potential reformers of the values these people are supposed to believe in. The same applies to the leftists that attempt to justify MultiCulturalism with pleas to extreme Neo-Liberal/ Thatcherite economic arguments. These namely range from the idea of stealing the most intelligent and skilled members of the population from the third world to enhance our own economies, and immigration practices that destroy the prospects of the white working class within this nation while shamelessly benefiting the rich and big business. It was supposed to be Mrs Thatcher that said that there was no society and that we're all only essentially economic agents, which in regards to the immigration discussion has become the dogmatic position of the modern left.

My support for the Iraq War has always been twofold. First off all, despite my skepticism over the nation-building project that ensued, I believe the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power was a legitimate matter of security interest. I am perfectly open to the argument that the threat Saddam posed could have been dealt with in a different manner, especially one that would not have left the USA so isolated in world opinion but that does not mean I should not support and hope for the best outcome with what we've got in the here and now. My second reason for supporting Iraq was however ill-judged, naive, poorly planned, idealistic and unrealistic the project of nation-building may have been, the conspiracy theories were wrong and Operation Iraqi Freedom was a legitimate attempt at installing democracy. As bad an idea as it may or may not have been, it would have been best for all parties concerned that the mission has succeeded. It says a lot that when asking a supposedly left-wing, internationalist individual if they support the American effort in Iraq or more specifically hope that their missions at least succeeds, they will often say no. I repeat, however stupid one may have thought that the initial decision was, the efforts to build democracy should surely be supported. Most members of the left, still to this day do not understand the attempts by Nick Cohen to instill some re-evaluation amongst the left over their position on Iraq, because they believe that he expects them to say that the Iraq War was a good idea or the best means of dealing with a problem. Instead, what he really expects are for people to support those people in Iraq, a great many of whom were against the war, who are now after 2003, whatever the faults of Bush and Blair, attempting to build a social democracy in their country with rights for women and gays, and the guarantee of freedom of speech etc.

I would compare someone who disagreed with the decision taken in 2003 who out of spite/ stupidity decided to support the insurgency in whatever form they came as a result, to pacifists in the Second World War who opposed the conflict but in response to the bombing of German cities, declared their support for Nazism. It should surely be possible to disagree with your own government, while supporting democratic movements in foreign countries.

The stupidity of the nation-building project, or the accepted narrative of its stupidity leaves us and the left with many necessary alternatives that most of the anti-war movement would equally oppose. For example, taking no military action until the last possible moment. While I agree that more could have been done in the build up to Iraq, if people felt that there was a danger posed by Saddam through WMD's, then whether he ended up having them or not is irrelevant because if you believe there was a danger, then either way it would not make sense to wait until he had those WMD's and had already passed them on/ posed a larger threat. Nonetheless the idea that a foreign regime may pose a danger or be in bed with the wrong people is a possibility not even considered by most of the modern left; Exhibit A look at Iran. If we don't use tough negotiations then how about sanctions? Well the left criticised America severely for its sanctions during the 1990s. Amy Goodman is a particularly dislikable, self-righteous member of the anti-war brigade who interrogated Bill Clinton on this matter in an interview with him on Democracy Now, and Clinton made what I thought was the fairly reasonable case that had sanctions denied the necessary supplies that cost the lives of Iraqis then why did Saddam have so many palaces built in that period while his people were starving? Even if it were the case that the sanctions cost the lives of the Iraqi people, is that not the fault of Saddam? Would the Americans not subsequently be blamed if the Iraqi state used those weapons acquired without sanctions on the people of Kuwait again for instance? If we fund domestic groups that are favourable to us we are 'meddling' where we don't belong and practicing 'cultural imperialism'. If we supported those regimes, even if it was to stop a far greater evil in the form of the Soviet Union for instance then when are also criticised. Not to mention that in the case of places like Rwanda where the United States did nothing, we are also criticised as if action should have been taken.

In other words to date, in youtube comment sections and at left-wing seminars you will routinely hear the left criticise America for supporting dictatorships, overthrowing dictatorships, funding pro-authoritarian militants, funding democratic revolutionaries, using sanctions, not using sanctions, interfering, not interfering. In my eyes as badly handled as the war in Iraq may have been the discourse that it produced in a swell of changing paradigms created after 9/11 have been just as poor if not worse than the ideas that spawned the supposedly terrible adventure in Mesopotamia. This leaves us in a bad state of affairs from an intellectual standpoint and an even worse state of affairs when it comes to dealing with the new and pressing issues of today, namely those of rogue regimes like Iran where even fellow Muslims in the region desperately wish for America to act which has sadly become paralysed by this breakdown in sensible discussion.